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ISO: Force behind fleet

Airmen work in a large, open hangar.

U.S. Air Force 19th Maintenance Squadron Airmen perform various steps of isochronal inspections on Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Oct. 19, 2018. ISO inspections are an in-depth inspection of the entire aircraft. ISO inspections require different career fields to be properly executed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

A man looks at a machining tool.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ray DeRizzio, 19th Maintenance Squadron aircraft metals technician, mills down a main landing gear bracket on Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Oct. 19, 2018. DeRizzio will occasionally assist the isochronal inspection hangar when they are in need of specialized maintenance related to his career field. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

A group of people work in together to move stands through the entryway of a hangar.

U.S. Air Force 19th Maintenance Squadron Airmen move stands into the isochronal inspection hangar on Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Oct. 17, 2018. The stands are used to provide access to different parts of the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

A man unscrews a piece of metal.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Craig Carillo, 19th Maintenance Squadron aerospace repair and reclamation craftsman, performs maintenance on a C-130J part at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Oct. 17, 2018. Carillo regularly has to remove pieces of aircraft to be able to fix a maintenance issue before restoring anything he has removed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

A man uses a screwdriver on an aircraft.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Michael Saeed, 19th Maintenance Squadron aerospace repair and reclamation apprentice, adjusts a piece of a C-130J on Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Oct. 17, 2018. Saeed was taking part in an isochronal inspection to ensure the aircraft was safe and mission ready at all times. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

A hand holds a tool over an open toolbox.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airmen Patrick Leary, 19th Maintenance Squadron aerospace repair and reclamation journeyman, pulls a tool out of a toolbox before taking part in an isochronal inspection on Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Oct. 17, 2018. Isochronal inspection requires a large variety of tools. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

To maintain the largest C-130 fleet in the world at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Airmen go above, under, around and through aircraft to ensure they are safe and prepared to conduct combat airlift—anywhere, anytime.

Airmen from multiple career fields work on isochronal inspections, also known as ISO, at Hangar 250 at Little Rock AFB to perform regularly scheduled maintenance on C-130s.

“An isochronal inspection is a process involving a lot of different career fields in the ISO hangar supporting maintenance and an in-depth inspection of an aircraft,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ryan Lopez, 19th Maintenance Squadron crew chief. “Whatever they don’t catch on the flightline, we catch while the plane is in the hangar.”

Inspections occur either after an aircraft has reached a certain number of flight hours or at certain points in its age. This gives ISO maintainers the opportunity to regularly perform more thorough and comprehensive inspections compared to Airmen not in the ISO hangar. Their purpose is to sustain rapid global mobility and the safety of aircrews.

“We’re trying to find things that’re wrong, so that we can fix them,” said Senior Airman Justin Blair, 19th MXS aerospace maintenance journeyman. “We support operational mobility this way by keeping everything safe and ready to go.”

Performing in-depth inspections like this also allows Airmen to prevent future potential mishaps, as well as learn to coordinate with other career fields such as guidance and control systems, aircraft structural maintenance, aircraft metals technology, aircraft reclamation, aerospace propulsion, and nondestructive inspection.

“We work together with a lot of other shops during the inspection process,” Lopez said. “They help us get the job done, and they get to gain experience outside of their career field, as well.”

Working with fellow Airmen toward the common goal of effective mission execution can be fun, especially if it’s toward something like the upcoming Air and Space Show.

“Right now we’re gearing up and preparing the hangar for the air show,” Lopez said. “We’re working around-the-clock to get planes ready, so we can clear out the hangar. I can’t wait.”

ISO Airmen ensure mission success every day as they sniff out the smallest imperfections.  

“All anyone else has to worry about are minor problems because of what we do,” Lopez said. “We keep the C-130 fleet flying.”

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