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A Safer Landing

Safer and easier maintenance on the retractable skis of a C130 aircraft

Author: Wendy Calcaterra

Published: April 11, 2023







The retractable skis on a C130 aircraft are vital for the snow and ice landings required when delivering cargo and personnel to frozen terrain. But performing maintenance on the skis was almost as hard as the landings they enable. Manually positioning the 20’ long, 2,000 lb. ski sets at different angles was a daunting — and dangerous — task. Every time they needed to be moved, staff safety was at risk.



A custom manual positioner adjusts to fit both the longer, heavier main skis and the shorter nose ski.

• Custom gear reduction system

• Custom quick-release adapters

(shown at right)

• Rotational safety lockouts

The wheel of the positioner allows mechanics to easily rotate the ski to any angle for repair.



Quick-release adapters make setup fast and easy. Gear reduction lessens the torque needed to turn the fixture’s wheel, so parts can be turned with less effort. And the safety concerns that the team had when positioning skis manually were greatly minimized. The safety lockouts on the wheel add another layer of protection by keeping the part from accidentally turning during maintenance. The overall result was a team that could get more work done in a shorter time, and with less worry.


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