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News | Dec. 12, 2016

New refueling tanker to help MXS improve mission support

By Kendahl Johnson Kirtland Public Affairs

The 58th Maintenance Squadron recently acquired a new tool to help improve the Aerospace Ground Equipment Flight’s aircraft support mission, saving the government both time and money.

That new equipment is the HandiFueler Ground Support Service Cart, a portable refueling tanker equipped to handle daily routine servicing of fuels, fluids and tires.

“This tanker will revolutionize the way we do business,” said Master Sgt. Justin Weddle, the 58th MXS AGE flight chief. “It will maximize efficiency and drastically reduce the time it takes our Airmen to perform servicing and refueling operations.”

Weddle said what normally takes his workers three to four hours to do will now be accomplished in less than an hour with the help of the refueler.

“It amounts to a huge savings, both time and money,” he said. “This will pay for itself in a very short time.”

Supporting aircraft ground equipment has been a challenge for the MXS because its refueling operations are a distance from the flightline.  Three times a day, unit members have to drive to the flightline to pick up equipment and bring it back to their shop for refueling, then return it to flightline.  It is not only time consuming for the flightline dispatcher, it also creates downtime for maintainers, who have to wait for the equipment to be serviced and returned.

Weddle asked Master Sgt. Carlos Gallegos, the AGE Flight’s production superintendent, to look into a way to streamline the process.

Gallegos spoke with a few other bases who use the HandiFueler and determined it would solve most of their logistics issues. Wing leadership was sold on the tanker’s benefits, and approval was given to purchase the HandiFueler, which runs about $50,000. The unit arrived at Kirtland in November and was used for the first time Dec. 2.

“You get a little anxious to use it in operations for the first time, because you want it to do everything as advertised, but we couldn’t be happier,” Weddle said.

Gallegos said decreasing response time in servicing ground equipment is beneficial not only for the unit but also the warfighter, because maintainers are able to get aircraft operational and back in the air much quicker.

“I’m very excited about how much time and money this new equipment will save us,” he said.

Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the Kirtland Air Force Base website.