C-130 near full return to flight Published March 20, 2009 By Wayne Crenshaw 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Thanks in large part to Team Robins members, all C-130s being used in Iraq and Afghanistan are flying again. The planes were briefly grounded until an inspection could be done on suspect wing-joint barrel nuts. On March 1, five cracked nuts were found on a C-130H undergoing routine maintenance here, and three days later the Air Force ordered the immediate inspection of the nuts on all 597 C-130s in the fleet. Terrence May, director of the 330th Aircraft Sustainment Group, said as of this week all but one of the C-130s had been inspected. The only one not inspected is being converted to use as a ground trainer and is only technically still on the books as operational, he said. A total of 62 percent of the planes have been returned to flight, he said. All planes being used in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have been returned to flight. Those planes were given priority on shipments of replacement nuts, which were in limited supply. The remaining planes are waiting on a new order of replacement nuts to be manufactured. Mr. May said the new shipment is expected on April 8 and then the other planes with defective nuts can get the replacement. "I'm pleased the problem was identified quickly and we were able to take immediate action," he said. "Normally in a situation like this it's harder to get new parts in the pipeline. That's outstanding support from the supply system." After the inspection order was issued, members of the 330th ASG set up 24-hour operations to field calls from maintainers around the world on making the inspection and replacement if needed.