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Harrier gear unveiled

Marine Corps News


Story by Cpl. Kathy J. Arndt

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C.(Dec. 5, 2002) -- Seventy-five AV-8B Harrier airframe mechanics here, to train on a new Rynglok Tube Fitting System from Eaton Aeroquip Nov. 19.

The class took place at the Naval Aviation Maintenance Training, Marine Unit, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point schoolhouse for instructors, students and fleet Marines alike.

The new system will replace permaswage fittings to provide a permanent repair to all titanium, aluminum and stainless steel lines that may become damaged in the Harrier.

Permaswage fittings are a small piece of metal tubing that mechanics use to repair breaks in hydraulic lines. The small piece is put inside the existing line and is clamped into place.

"The new system is user friendly and extensively reduces complete hydraulic failure," said Staff Sgt. David Pool, an AV-8B airframe instructor with NAMTRA, Mar Unit Cherry Point.

"To make a repair with a permaswage fitting, it takes at least two people," said Sgt. Jose C. Rotiz, an airframe mechanic with Marine Attack Squadron 542. "With the new kits, I know that I can go out then and make a repair myself."

"It is just a lot easier," he added. The permaswage tool used to crimp the fitting into place requires being completely around the line. If it is not, it may cause the line to separate again, resulting in additional repairs.

"If you don't get the crimp just right, it will shift and weaken," said Gunnery Sgt. Garry L. Wilson, a lead airframe instructor with NAMTRA.

Temperature changes also affect the life expectance of the permaswage fittings, according to Pool, a Bremerton, Wash., native. He said that thermal expansion also weakens fittings. As Harrier squadrons travel to desert climates, problems may occur resulting in more frequent repairs with the old system.

The Rynglok system was designed to overcome many of the problems airframe mechanics face with the old permaswage fittings.

The new system comes with a kit that includes tools for each of the different sized lines found within the Harrier. These tools only need to be placed half way around the line to apply the fitting. They enable airframe mechanics to conduct repairs faster and in more confined places, said Wilson.

The new fittings connect lines from the outside under pressurization, which allows the repair to be permanent and eliminates the affects of temperature on the fittings.

"The new fittings are bigger, but more durable," said Gunnery Sgt. William Navarro, the chief instructor for the airframe division with NAMTRA. "Since it's a permanent fitting, we wouldn't ever have to worry about the repair once it's been made."

Along with improving the way airframe mechanics conduct repairs on lines, the Marine Corps is saving money and manpower.

"Over all there is cost savings, because you'll never have to go and repair (the line) again," said Navarro, a Ponce, Puerto Rico native. "That will save man power and time as well."

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