The 76th Commodities Maintenance Group’s Oxygen Shop at Tinker Air Force Base solely handles the mission of providing oxygen regulators, liquid oxygen converters and on-board oxygen generators for the entire Air Force.
Over the past 20 years, this workload has extended into Navy E-6 systems as well, keeping the shop located in Bldg. 1055 busy.
“We provide the oxygen life support for every fixed wing Air Force aircraft,” said supervisor Chris Stulken, 76th CMXG. “We make sure the Air Force mission is met and that we are compliant with all of the policies, regulations and tech data that goes with handling all of those oxygen life support assets.”
The shop runs due to the work of 50 technicians and support personnel who overhaul oxygen regulators, converters, generators and other miscellaneous oxygen equipment, as well as two technicians who test the liquid oxygen converters in Bldg. 1051.
The Oxygen Shop has a seven day flow time and end time, with up to 45 hours of work time being required to be spent on certain pieces of equipment. Last year, the shop overhauled and tested 3,134 regulators and 1,415 converters and concentrators.
These regulators and converters are tested in the field typically every 90 to 180 days depending on the aircraft and flight hours. They are utilized until they fail a test. Once they fail a test in the field, they’re sent back to Tinker for overhaul and testing. The overhaul process can be extensive for certain pieces of equipment, as some can supply oxygen to a pilot or aircrew for hours while others can provide an unlimited supply of oxygen.
This overhaul can include 100% disassembly, ultrasonic wash and all new parts.
“The Air Force puts all of the assets back into supply systems for us to overhaul,” Stulken said. “Once they’re here, they’re completely torn down. Everything is basically overhauled with overhaul kits and put back into service after it’s tested and checked for finalization. We try to turn them around in seven days.”
“It’s great to have that life support title and it emphasizes how important our mission is,” Stulken said.