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ISO: Force behind fleet

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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.”