You may remember that the U.S. Forest Service wanted to acquire 14 C-27J aircraft that were being disposed of by the military, hoping to convert them into air tankers. The agency appeared to be confident they would receive them and even awarded an aircraft engineering support services contract for up to $300,000 to Aeronautica. The contract required experience as an engineer with the G222, C27A or C27J. But instead of the C-27Js, the USFS got seven C-130Hs that the Coast Guard was throwing away, and the Coast Guard received the 14 C-27Js which were only a few years old.
The first C-27J to complete the Coast Guard’s regeneration process arrived at the C-27J Asset Project Office (APO) in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Nov. 13, where it will be used to train and qualify Coast Guard aircrew and maintenance personnel, as well as develop flight and maintenance procedures for Coast Guard-specific mission profiles. Ultimately the aircraft will receive the equipment and systems needed to perform the full spectrum of Coast Guard missions.
Regeneration is the complex process that leads to flight clearance of planes being re-activated from long-term preservation. Working at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group’s facility in Tucson, Arizona, where 13 of the 14 C-27Js being transferred to the service are stored, the Coast Guard’s regeneration team investigated the aircraft’s history, verified the details of its configuration and inventoried the installed components, performed extensive inspections and necessary maintenance actions, and conducted a functional check flight. The plane was then released for transit to the APO.
While CG-2714 underwent regeneration, the APO commanding officer, Capt. Shannon McCullar, sent his executive officer, Cmdr. Peter Beavis, and operations officer, Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth Bethea, to Italy for training to be rated as C-27 pilots. The APO also prepared the hangar at the Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City to house and support the aircraft.
A second C-27J should complete regeneration before the end of this year, and two others are expected to finish by mid-2015.