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Philippine Air Force overhauls transport plane for the first time, saves P50 million too

Forty-eight-years-old and still flying. Shown is the C-130 cargo transport planes that the Philippine Air Force repaired and overhauled for the first time. (Abigail C. Kwok,
The online news portal of TV5

For the first time in its history, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has repaired and maintained a 48-year-old military transport plane, one of three in its custody.

An 80-member team of the PAF’s 410th Maintenance Wing “totally overhauled” the once-corroded C-130 aircraft, saving the government P50 million, authorities said.

Led by Brigadier General Rolando Aquino, the team took two years and nine months and spent P549 million to bring it back to its serviceable condition.

“Before repairing they really studied the plane's manual. They brainstormed and conducted inspections," Aquino said. “We started by inspecting the plane, de-painting and scraping it and looking at what was needed one by one.”

The plane’s repair was undertaken in a very meticulous manner, Aquino also pointed out, adding that putting one screw in the wrong place would be enough to force the crew to restart the entire process.

While all maintenance personnel were fully-equipped to conduct repairs, the team leader also hopes to further enhance his team member’s skills.

For his part, Major General Raul Dimatatac, PAF vice commander, said that the newly-refurbished transport plane will boost the Armed Forces’ “airlift capability.”

Beside helping transport troops to the different parts of the country, the aircraft “would also assist in the delivery of goods and other services in support of national development," Dimatatac said, reading from the speech of PAF commander Lieutenant General Lauro Catalino dela Cruz.

This is “a significant breakthrough in PAF's maintenance capability,” he added. “Our men's experience was also enhanced in terms of conducting maintenance work.”

On Friday, the PAF blessed the new air assets including the commissioning of a UH-1H helicopter and a Cessna LC-210 "Rainmaker."

The UH-1H “can perform various roles from combat support missions to disaster relief operation efforts,” Dimatatac said. “The importance of a weather aircraft like the LC-210 cannot be overemphasized as the country has already experienced the devastating effects of climate change...the rainmaking capability of this aircraft will be very valuable.”

Twelve M-35 trucks were also commissioned to the PAF inventory.