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Image of C-5 cargo airplane
Current C-5 cargo airplane tire replacement requires up to five airmen with a multitude of tools to replace a tire. (U.S. Air Force photo)

How many airmen does it take to change a cargo aircraft tire? Too many. The U. S. Air Force’s largest aircraft, the C-5M Super Galaxy, has 28 tires. The current tire changing method is performed several times a week. It is a complicated, multistep procedure that requires up to five people working together for an extended period of time with a number of safety risks due to the size and weight of the tires and tools.

The Air Force invented a new tool that allows a single maintainer to apply a large axial force against the spanner wrench, keeping it seated while torque is applied. By reducing the manpower required to handle and position the spanner wrench, the entire tire change process now takes only three maintainers.

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