A Fitting Response

Several C-5 Galaxies recently received new structural fittings at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Georgia to resolve cracking and corrosion issues under the aircraft’s cargo floor. The bulkhead end fittings, which join floor trusses to the C-5’s fuselage, often suffer stress fatigue, requiring replacement with after-market parts, according to Air Force Research Lab officials. The milled replacement part, however, seldom endured as long as the original, prompting a solution from AFRL engineers at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. Under the Durable C-5 Structural Improvement Program, they developed a set of dies to cast all 92 fittings in 80 percent less time than the arduous machining process used before, states a June 20 Wright-Patt release. Made from an AFRL-developed aluminum alloy, the new parts are 25 percent more affordable, and are projected to last 60 percent longer than current replacement fittings, according to AFRL. The new forging process may be applicable to other aircraft types that experience structural cracks. (Wright-Patterson report by Holly Jordan)