At Lufthansa Technik Malta, 700 hidden figures keep aviation the safest way to travel. The highly trained team specializes in aircraft safety checks and overhauls. They inspect and repair fleets from airlines around the world. The ultimate Mega Pitstop Their recent project: Kilo Romeo An Airbus A330300. Effort of this Pitstop: 25.000 manhours. Time is a crucial issue, as Kilo Romeo is already scheduled for the next flight. From now on the team only has 40 days to deliver a good as new aircraft. The whole cabin gets stripped down. Engineers remove, check, repair and reinstall millions of pieces. Seats, kitchen and bathroom monuments, wall and floor panels. In multiple workshops specialists refurbish every single item – racing against a tight schedule. Once all parts of the cabin are completely dismantled, inspectors check and overhaul every inch of the aircraft’s base structure. The steel frame, isolation and dozens of kilometers of cable. Not a single screw stays unchecked. At the same time another unit scans the plane’s exterior for damages. Especially the sides and roof often get seriously hit by lightning strikes and need to be patched. Mechanics also cautiously take off and refurbish the six tons Rolls Royce engines. From the wings to deep into the fuel tanks: The engineers review every security relevant parts – multiple times. To make sure the passengers are safe. A fascinating and rare insight – only on Mega Pit Stops
It is one of the most popular and best fighter jets in the world: JAS 39. The so called “Gripen” is a light singleengine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab. At the Czech Air Force Base in Caslav, the jet gets the biggest overhaul of its lifetime In only 40 days, the Gripen is stripped down to its bone, everything from the ejection seat to the engine is removed and checked. The 14 Gripen of the airbase are part of the “Quick Reaction Alert” Force of the NATO. If they are not in the air, the airspace is not protected. That puts a lot of time pressure and liability to the 11 mechanics, who are responsible for the aircraft. The machinists put the war machine to the acid test. They check the hydraulic system, all moving parts and the oil – the aircrafts blood. It is one of the most important things of the Gripen: without it, the pilot is not able to control the jet. The ejection seat – the pilots life insurance. The access panel is examined painstakingly – the skin. The biggest part is the engine check: the turbine is the heart of the Gripen. In the end, the weapon system the fist will be disassembled, so the gun is working when it is needed in action. Every fault they will find means a delay to the schedule. So the team has to work really concentrated and, above all properly, that the Gripen will be able to start in time.
The most modern warship in the Danish Navy the HDMS Absalon needs a major overhaul. Every 5 years, the warship is docked, and checked to the bones. This happens in Orskov Yard in Frederikshavn, North Denmark. The flexible support ship is 137 meters long and equipped with highprecision weapon systems: From torpedoes to machine guns to antimissile weapons. Thanks to its smooth and angled outer skin, the Absalon reflects only a fraction of radar radiation, making her extremely difficult to detect. The tracking systems of the warship itself, on the other hand, are highly sensitive. Space for two helicopters, two separate engines, bulletproof steel and the most sophisticated technology – all of this is due to be inspected. The most complex of all the processes: Checking the marine shaft device. Which, in effect, means cutting a hole in the ship to remove the rudder and propellers. The bow thruster is removed and maintained, as well as the sonar – a top secret mission. And then there are the upgrades: The technicians install a brand new UV filter system for cleaning the ballast water painters give the entire ship a new look. All of this happens under extreme time pressure: the team has only 5 weeks. But unexpected problems, as well as the special construction of the highlyequippen vessel pushes the engineers to their limits. In this MEGA PIT STOP.
It is an almost impossible endeauvour: The Peter Pan, a gigantic car ferry shall become even bigger. It is lengthened from 190 to a mighty 220 metres How do the engineers do that They cut the ferry into two parts and insert a 30meterlong section in the middle, which is prefabricated in another shipyard, 200 kilometers away. All this – in just 58 days. Because time is a crucial issue here, sixty workers already start preparing the ferry for her lengthening during its final crossing to the shipyard: German Dry Docks in Bremerhaven. The responsible engineers are nervous: to fit all the restrictions of the shipping company TTLine, they have to apply a very special cutting method, that has never been used before. And in fact: the first problems arise, when they try to pull the two halves of the ship apart – each of them weighing several thousand tons. Some steel beams have snagged. But this is not the only problem the crew will have to deal with: they can only move the gigantic single pieces of the ship when the dock is flooded. Lose ends like the engine room therefore have to be sealed up watertight to save the sensitive technology. Will the welding seams hold Will the mid section arive on time in Bremerhaven Will the three single pieces all fit together in the end The first passengers are already booked on the new Peter Pan. A breathtaking race against time…