The HICS team rode in UH-1N Huey helicopters over utility and cable corridors to examine post markers as well as check for any evidence of tampering or erosion to cable lines.
“With more than 500 miles of cable to inspect, the cables team requested flight assistance versus using their all-terrain vehicles,” said 1st Lt. Blake Benefield, 37 HS Plans and Programs Officer. “Though atypical of our standard mission, these flights were a good opportunity for our pilots to perform low level flight profiles.”
Inspections of the missile field cable corridors are conducted at regular intervals to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the cable equipment.
“Our teams look carefully for any lines that may be exposed to the elements,” said Master Sgt. Haisen Exon, 90th MMXS HICS non-commissioned officer in charge. “They take note of any areas needing attention so we can prioritize repairs.”
Although the maintenance and helicopter teams do not normally accomplish the cable surveys via helicopter, this effort showcased the wing’s priorities to execute the mission and improve teamwork.
“This was a great opportunity to show how our teams can work together to find innovative ways to accomplish the mission,” said Benefield. “When maintenance approached us with their request, we immediately started to plan the best options for support.”
Residents likely noticed the increased helicopter activity and noise in the missile area, but that may change in the future.
“Our intent is to shift from using our standard all-terrain vehicles to small unmanned aerial vehicles to conduct the inspections in the near future,” said Exon. “This shift is a win-win in that we save many man-hours of transiting the vast missile field areas, but also in that we would be less intrusive to residents and livestock who live near the inspected corridors.”