New hangar facilities keep workers safe

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Maintenance technicians at No 36 Squadron at Amberley need to access parts of the C-17A Globemaster III that can be up to 16 metres above the hangar floor, so a new telescopic docking system has been successfully tested and commissioned as part of the new hangar facilities.
The system comprises two telescoping masts equipped with a working platform suspended from a crane trolley (tele-platforms).   
Project Director Lindsay Murray said the design, delivery and installation of the system had its challenges, but working collaboratively with stakeholders and contractors has resulted in a new capability for Air Force.  
“This system is the first of its kind in Australia for use in either a Defence or commercial airframe maintenance capacity,” Mr Murray said.
“This will now enable access for maintainers to a wide range of aircraft types in freely selectable parking configurations.”
“It significantly reduces workplace health and safety risks, which is always a key consideration when working at heights on large aircraft.”
Officer Commanding 86 Wing Group Captain Steve Pesce said the major benefit of tele-platforms for home station checks was the overhead operation. 
“The C-17A telescopic docking system is an innovative technology that enables more efficient access for our technicians across a wide array of aircraft without the need for dedicated stands,” Group Captain Pesce said.
“It significantly reduces workplace health and safety risks, which is always a key consideration when working at heights on large aircraft.”
Senior Engineering Officer at 36 Squadron, Squadron Leader Evan Smith said technicians had previously relied solely on lift platforms, cherry pickers and working-at-heights harnesses to access the exterior of the C-17A.
“The new tele-platforms will make it easier and safer for our technicians to access hard-to-reach parts of the aircraft,” Squadron Leader Smith said.
“Ultimately, it will result in more efficient maintenance on C-17A, particularly during the home station check and other larger, hangar-based maintenance tasks.”
Above: The new telescopic docking system installed in new hangar facilities at No 36 Squadron, RAAF Amberley.
Below: The two telescopic masts enable precise positioning of the platform.
(Defence Photos)