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Air Platforms

Six percent of US Air Force C-130 fleet remains out of service due to rainbow-fitting inspections

16 August 2019
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The US Air Force is focusing on inspections of C-130H (pictured) and J-model aircraft after cracks in the rainbow fitting forced the service to ground 27% of its fleet on 7 August. Roughly 6% of the fleet remains out of service for inspections. Source: IHS Markit/Jamie Hunter

Approximately 6% of the US Air Force's (USAF's) Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules medium transport/multirole aircraft fleet remains out of service as the air force continues its rainbow-fitting inspections.

The USAF announced on 7 August that 123 of 450 aircraft were temporarily removed from service after atypical cracks were found on the lower centre wing joint, or rainbow fitting, during programmed depot maintenance. USAF spokesperson Jonathan Simmons said on 15 August that 98 aircraft had been inspected and 97 platforms returned to service as of 14 August.

After announcing its grounding, the air force only found rainbow-fitting cracks in two Air National Guard (ANG) aircraft: the one that prompted the original grounding, from Carswell, Texas, and another from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota.

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