McConnell AFB innovations save USAF $40K, increases safety

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- The 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Vehicle Management Flight recently constructed and installed a modification on a vehicle to enhance the safety of McConnell Airmen while saving the Air Force thousands of dollars.

The nine-ton high-lift truck is used for loading cargo into the KC-135 Stratotanker and will also be used with the KC-46 Pegasus after its arrival. Until now, the tailgate of the trucks, where Airmen stand while moving the cargo, posed a fall risk.

“The 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron came to us, and they wanted railings added to make the nine-ton high-lift safer,” said 1st Lt. Claryn Stewart 22nd LRS vehicle management flight commander.

To solve the problem, railings were welded to the sides of the tailgate. To ensure the aircraft wouldn’t be damaged, rubber bumpers were also added.

“We have three of them here, and we’ll be getting three more with the new KC-46 coming in, so we’ll do a total of six trucks for them,” said Stewart. “The number one priority is safety and taking care of our people.”

In the end, 22nd LRS personnel will save the base approximately $40,000 by building the railings instead of purchasing them. Each truck will cost $300 to fix versus the projected $7,000 each.

“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration-approved railings that we could buy downtown were thin and flimsy,” said Jerry Gentry, a 22nd LRS vehicle management technician who helped design and produce the railings. “[We used] the same material they use to make roll cages for racecars. They’re built to exceed OSHA standards.”