Air Force welcomes Australian-first telescopic working platform

A NEW state-of-the-art telescopic docking system has been successfully tested and commissioned as part of the new hangar facilities project for RAAF Base Amberley’s C-17A Globemaster fleet.

The planning and design for the $11 million system commenced in 2016, and culminated with the installation and operational fit checks in May 2019.

The system comprises two telescoping masts equipped with a working platform, suspended from a crane trolley.


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The work level is lowered to the hangar floor to allow Air Force and contracted maintenance personnel to enter, then lift and move to the required position on the aircraft via linear and rotational axes.

A Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster aircraft in the new No. 36 Squadron maintenance hangar at RAAF Base Amberley. (Source: Department of Defence)

Group Captain Steve Pesce, Officer Commanding 86 Wing, said the overhead operation was the major benefit of tele-platforms.

“The C-17 telescopic docking system is an innovative technology that enables more efficient access for our technicians across a wide array of aircraft without the need for dedicated stands,” Group Captain Pesce said.

“It significantly reduces workplace health and safety risks, which is always a key consideration when working at heights on large aircraft.”

RAAF maintainers from No. 36 Squadron and Practical Engineering contractors manoeuvre a telescopic working platform around a C-17A Globemaster aircraft in the new No. 36 Squadron maintenance hangar at RAAF Base Amberley (Source: Department of Defence)

Mr Lindsay Murray, Project Director, Capital Facilities & Infrastructure Branch, said the design, delivery and installation of the system had its challenges, but working collaboratively with stakeholders and contractors resulted in an extraordinary new capability for Air Force.

“This system is the first of its kind in Australia for use in either a Defence or commercial airframe maintenance capacity,” Mr Murray said.

“The project has also provided significant benefit to local industry. Local businesses, suppliers and trades had a great opportunity to be involved in the construction works, including supply of goods and services.

“The prime contractor – CPB Contractors – has indicated around 67 per cent of sub-contractor packages have been awarded to businesses within a 100km radius of RAAF Base Amberley.”

RAAF maintainers from No. 36 Squadron and Practical Engineering contractors manoeuvre a telescopic working platform around a C-17A Globemaster aircraft in the new No. 36 Squadron maintenance hangar at RAAF Base Amberley (Source: Department of Defence)

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