NAVAL AIR STATION NORTH ISLAND, Calif. –
For more than 50 years the C-2A Greyhound aircraft has served the Navy by transporting high-priority cargo, mail and personnel from aircraft carriers to shore bases.
The twin-engine propeller C-2A is maintained on an 83-month, three-cycle program. The most comprehensive maintenance assessment is planned maintenance interval-three (PMI-3), which requires about 270 days to complete depending on components availability and includes evaluation, disassembly and repair.
Last August, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) inducted its last Greyhound to undergo PMI-3, the final interval in the maintenance cycle.
Painting, the last step in the PMI-3 interval, is done at FRCSW in Building 466.
“We take a C-2 from a completely primed aircraft to a new paint job in 12 days,” said Aircraft Services Paint Production Manager Thomas Sapien.
The aircraft was painted by 12 artisans using a non-chrome primer and polyurethane top coats.
“Every C-2 we paint has its own unique challenges,” Sapien said. “The aircraft takes six different colors of gloss paint and there can be no mingling of colors. All lines between colors must be sharp.”
Sapien noted that, unlike other aircraft painted by the command, the finishing product of the C-2 is done by hand.
“This is by far the most labor-intensive aircraft we paint. Due to the multiple colors and the paint scheme wanted by our customers, it presents unique challenges every time one is painted. When applying the top coats there is little margin for error,” he added.
FRCSW painted four C-2s last year, and this aircraft is scheduled to be returned to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 120 (VAW-120) in Norfolk.
“We have painted every C-2 that has been in the fleet, 34 of them, and have probably painted a few multiple times as every C-2 that comes in for PMI-3 gets painted,” noted Jay Noblin, E-2/C-2/MQ8 IPT planning and estimator.
The C-2s are to be phased out this decade and replaced by the MV-22 Osprey.