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Mechanics assigned to the 302nd Maintenance Group at Peterson AFB, Colo., came up with a simple yet effective way to extend the life cycle of C-130 struts: just add tape. The maintainers added a heavy-duty, 36 mm abrasion-resistant tape to the belly of the aircraft to protect the fuselage from rocks upon landing on underdeveloped runways, according to a June 10 release. The approach was so successful, in January, they also added the tape to the forward landing gear in an effort to extend the life cycle of the struts, which costs about $100,000 each to replace. Underdeveloped runways were potentially reducing the four-year lifespan of the main landing gear struts by half, states the release. "To replace a single strut, it takes a two-person team from the repair and reclamation section eight hours," said SMSgt. William Harris, the fabrication flight chief of the 302nd Maintenance Squadron. "That does not take into account all of the scheduling, hangar time, and downtime that pulls an aircraft off the flying schedule." By comparison, it only costs about $100 to apply the tape to each strut, states the release. The only catch is that it has to “be applied on new struts,” said Harris. Otherwise “if it was applied on struts with existing damage, we would only be covering up issues, (which) could result in future mishaps,” he said. (Peterson report by MSgt. Daniel Butterfield)