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Hickam CDDAR team raises P-3 Orion

Airmen from the Hawaii Air National Guard 154th Maintenance Squadron and active duty 15th Maintenance Squadron inspect a lifted P-3 Orion aircraft during a Crash, Damaged, Disabled Aircraft Recovery training exercise, Jan. 27, 2016, Kalealoa, Hawaii. Team members utilized a system of specialized air bags and tethering cables to raise the simulated disabled aircraft. CDDAR teams are tasked with safely removing disabled aircraft from areas that interfere with flight operations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz/released)

Airmen from the Hawaii Air National Guard 154th Maintenance Squadron and active duty 15th Maintenance Squadron inspect a lifted P-3 Orion aircraft during a Crash, Damaged, Disabled Aircraft Recovery training exercise, Jan. 27, 2016, Kalealoa, Hawaii. Team members utilized a system of specialized air bags and tethering cables to raise the simulated disabled aircraft. CDDAR teams are tasked with safely removing disabled aircraft from areas that interfere with flight operations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz/released)

Airmen from the Hawaii Air National Guard 154th Maintenance Squadron and active duty 15th Maintenance Squadron check the stability of landing gear on a lifted P-3 Orion aircraft during a Crash, Damaged, Disabled Aircraft Recovery training exercise, Jan. 27, 2016, Kalealoa, Hawaii. Hickam's CDDAR team is comprised of highly trained and specialized maintainers who work to quickly remove and recover a disabled aircraft with the goal of minimizing additional damage. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz/released)

Airmen from the Hawaii Air National Guard 154th Maintenance Squadron and active duty 15th Maintenance Squadron check the stability of landing gear on a lifted P-3 Orion aircraft during a Crash, Damaged, Disabled Aircraft Recovery training exercise, Jan. 27, 2016, Kalealoa, Hawaii. Hickam's CDDAR team is comprised of highly trained and specialized maintainers who work to quickly remove and recover a disabled aircraft with the goal of minimizing additional damage. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz/released)

KALAELOA AIRPORT, Hawaii -- Airmen from the Hawaii Air National Guard 154th Maintenance Squadron (MXS), and active duty 15th MXS successfully completed a lift of a P-3 Orion Aircraft Jan. 27 at Kalaeloa Airport.

Lifting of the P-3 was part of an annual training exercise for Hickam's Crash, Damaged, Disabled Aircraft, Recovery (CDDAR) team.

"It (CDDAR) is a team of highly trained and specialized maintainers who work to quickly remove and recover a disabled aircraft with the goal of minimizing additional damage." said Maj. Brian S. Mix, 15th MXS commander.  "By doing so we can re-open the airbase or airport as quickly as possible while hopefully maintaining the aircraft in such a condition that it can be fully repaired and returned to service."

Once investigative and safety operations have been completed, the CDDAR team utilizes a wide range of techniques and equipment to safely remove a disabled aircraft.

"The team's capabilities cover the full spectrum of incident responses from simply towing an aircraft out of the dirt to lifting it off the ground with specialized air bags and cranes." said Mix.

Lifting the P-3 required close coordination and constant communication between the personnel operating five separate lift bag stations and six tethering positions. The exercise provided an opportunity for both initial and recurrent training as well as the inspection of CDDAR equipment.

"The P-3 lift included challenges such as multiple lift stations, wing angle, weight and balance, and multiple team coordination." said Chief Master Sgt. Edward Essman, 154th MXS Aircraft Maintenance Manager. "Assigned team chiefs for the training had to safely coordinate the stations to evenly lift the P-3 to a working height that would allow a successful recovery."

According to Essman no one lift or recovery operation is the same; each situation requires a tailored approach.

"Every scenario is different so what type of aircraft, where the incident occurred, and what type of incident happened would factor into our response posture." said Essman. "In most instances, we would be responding with the crash investigators and help them preserve any evidence to be used in their
investigation."

In addition to guard and active duty airmen, exercise participants included Army, Coast Guard, and civilian personnel.

"Total force integration enjoyed here is important," said Essman. "We enjoy working and training with multiple services and are able to share lessons learned and improve response capability by building off each other's knowledge."

According to Essman, Hickam's CDDAR team has been called to respond to a few real world instances. In each of those cases, training such as January's P-3 lift has proven invaluable.

"Few functions require more precise individual and team actions, yet are provided even fewer occasions in which the individual and team can become proficient through actual hands on experience." said Essman.

Naval Air Museum Barbers Point provided the decommission P-3 aircraft used in the exercise.