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Hydraulics Shop Provides a 'Lift' to TR Flight Operations

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080306-07
Release Date: 3/6/2008 11:45:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeff Johnstone, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs

ABOARD USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (NNS) -- Performing successful flight operations aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) (TR) requires hard work and the coordination of many different departments like TR's Engineering Department's hydraulics shop, which provides the jets with the necessary lift to take to the skies.

"Without the hydraulics shop, aircraft cannot be moved from the hangar bay to the flight deck," said Machinist's Mate 1st Class (SW/AW) Derwin Mercado, hydraulics shop leading petty officer.

The hydraulics shop operates and maintains the four massive elevators that lift the aircraft, underway replenishment machinery and ship's store conveyors.

The responsibility of maintaining the four elevators onboard TR is an important one. Training and being vigilant on maintenance is a daily routine for hydraulics personnel.

"We have to constantly remain focused on our training and qualifications," said Machinist's Mate 3rd Class(SW) Troy Thompson. "We have to be qualified to operate or perform maintenance on every piece of equipment we have."

As always, safety is extremely important while performing maintenance. The ship's elevators are capable of supporting a maximum load of 150,000 pounds, the equivalent of two aircraft. Hydraulics personnel are required to meet specific qualifications in order to operate or repair any machinery.

"We conduct daily preventative maintenance and perform corrective maintenance immediately if things break down," said Machinist's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Ron Pecoraro. "All junior personnel are trained on valve maintenance, system knowledge and system operations. Training is of the utmost importance because there are lives at stake. This is very serious equipment we're working with down here."

The action takes place in the ship's four aircraft elevator machinery rooms. Operation of the ship's elevators is reliant on a continuous cycle of events.

"Each elevator contains four pumps," said Thompson. "One pump can lift the elevator, but normal operation requires the use of at least two. The pumps take suction from the exhaust tank and the main pump discharges fluid to the accumulator."

According to Pecoraro, each accumulator houses pressurized fuel that is required to lift the elevator.

"Each aircraft elevator machinery room contains 21 accumulators, for a total of 84," said Mercado. "A minimum of 14 banks must be fully charged with pressurized fluid. It's the pressurized fluid that raises the elevators."

While hydraulics personnel find their jobs challenging, they also realize the importance of maintaining the elevators and doing their part to keep flight operations running smoothly.

"We get to work with equipment that's vital to the ship's operation, and not everyone onboard has the opportunity to do what we do," said Thompson.

"I'm a grease monkey, so I enjoy turning wrenches and getting dirty," said Pecoraro. "We work in a great environment that allows us to constantly enhance our technical knowledge."

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