Case Study: Custom Design Maintenance Stand for B-2 Bomber Windshield

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Spika won a solicitation to provide a maintenance stand to access the windshield of the B-2 Bomber. Following the success of the first platform, the remainder of the required platforms were sole-sourced to Spika.

The Problem

The United States Air Force needed a work platform to access the B-2 Spirit Bomber windshield for inspection, maintenance, and replacement. The platform had to meet several requirements:

  • It had to conform very precisely to the perimeter of the windshield as well as the angular slope of the nose of the aircraft.
  • Because of the LO (low observable) features of the aircraft, it was extremely important that the stand not make contact with the aircraft.
  • It had to have a C-frame design to allow the deck to cantilever over the nose of the aircraft and access the windshield.
  • It needed to have 24” (61 cm) of hydraulic height adjustability.
  • It needed to accommodate four workers at 200 lbs. (91 kg) each, plus 200 lbs. for tooling, for a 1000 lb. (454 kg) load rating.
  • It had to be able to be safely towed at five miles per hour.

The Air Force released a solicitation for the first unit and invited interested companies to send engineers to evaluate the requirements.

Due to the classified nature of the aircraft, no CAD drawings were available to facilitate design of the work platforms. In addition, there were very few areas that were easy to dimension from a baseline because of the complexity of the shape. Therefore, all measurements had to be taken manually, and with incredible precision.

The Solution

Spika proposed an aluminum work platform utilizing proprietary design features for safety, access, and efficiency. The design featured:

  • Lightweight, corrosion-resistant aluminum construction,
  • A work deck that conformed precisely to the nose of the aircraft without sliders,
  • Rubber bumpers around the front of the work platform to protect the aircraft from damage,
  • A hydraulic jack system that vertically adjusted the deck and stair by 24” (61 cm),
  • A height adjustable staircase that could be attached to either side of the stand using quick-release pins for tool- and FOD-free reconfiguration,
  • Safety yellow powder coated railings attached with camlocks for easy removal, reconfiguration, and reinstallation, and
  • Industrial-duty 12” casters with brakes and index locks for ease of movement.

 

The Results

The work platform worked so well that the Air Force decided to purchase the remainder of the platforms through a sole-source contract. In addition, Spika’s B-2 Windshield Maintenance Stand has proven to be one of the most highly used work stands in the program at Whiteman.

That stand of yours is the number one requested item here – still. – Equipment User

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