New life for an old aircraft

What do you do with an airplane once it’s damaged beyond repair? If you’re the Air Force, you use it to study issues related to aging.

That’s what’s happening at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base with a T-1A Jayhawk, a “”missionized”” Beech 400A that was used to train Air Force and Navy aviators to fly cargo and tanker transport aircraft, such as the C-17 and KC-135.

Now at the Air Force Research Lab and Aging Aircraft Systems Squadron, the aircraft will undergo diagnoses of its wiring systems and avionics, as well as studies to evaluate the adhesion and strippability of various coatings. Air Force officials believe the studies will help extend the life of the remaining 179 aircraft in the T-1A fleet.

But that’s not all: The aircraft’s nose and main landing gear are being used by Engineered Arresting Systems Corp. of Aston, Pa., to test a new runway material called compressible concrete designed to reduce the number of runway runoffs and minimize damage to aircraft should one occur.

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