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Question on asbestos.

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Over the years I turned wrenches on a variety of aircraft, most of them recips.





B-52D/G/H (depot at Kelly)

C-5A (depot at Kelly)

C-37a (FTD school)

T-38A (FTD school and T-38A/F-5A in the field)




C-130 (only when I had to and very little)

My question is: was there used, and if so where, any asbestos used on the birds. I seem to recall the C-118 brakes had asbestos as well as the heaters. But I can't be sure of it anymore.

I know all the old hangers I worked in mush have had asbestos in them, especially the ones in Area B at Wright-Patt (Wright Field).

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Just about any vehicle that had brakes used asbestos for brake lining / pads years ago. I'm sure all the planes you listed would be included. Working on heavy trucks we used to use grinders to grind the glazed over brake shoes down to good material again. I can only imagine how much of that stuff we inhaled. At the time,"who knew". I'm not sure about hangers, but I live in northern Wi. and many "old" pole buildings around here where insulated with a sprayed on asbestos insulation, so I would think it may have been often used in hangers also.

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Even old style floor tiles had asbestos in them. One of the things we firefighters were taught ( and sometimes ignored) was the fact that even after the fire was out, there was still need for respiratory protection against such stuff as asbestos and so on in the dust and dirt raised up in overhaul and salvage operations. Asbestos was used primary because it was fibrous, and could be made into all kinds of durable items that could be exposed to heavy use or exposure.

It used to be, also, that in many of the old time theatres, an asbestos fiber curtain was hung up in the proscenium, the area around and above a stage, that was fire proof, and could be lowered to stop the spread of fire out into the seating area. Also, most of the old style entry and proximity suits, you know the silver looking things, that the crash/rescue guys wore were made of asbestos, too. We had one at my old station, that was probably from the late 40's or early 50's, and we had to have it taken to a haz-mat outift for disposal. That was probably early 90's......Yeah, I know, more stuff than ya need to know. Just wanted to make the point that that stuff was EVERYWHERE, even places you might not have expected. There WILL be a quiz on Monday!!!


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I heard they mixed JP4, oil, and outdated napalm and lit it up for crash & rescue practice drills. Asbestos between you and the fire sounds pretty good when you’re up to your ankles in burning jet fuel.

From what i have heard, that is the case. The suits worked pretty well, too. The aluminized outer shell reflected radiant heat, and the asbestos fabric and padding were non-combustible...Of course, now ours is made of Kevlar, and Nomex and PBI and other fabrics. No matter what, don't ever let it be said those crash rescue guys didn't know their job or were not ready willing, and able to do it. Top notch firefighters, all. If it was at all possible to save you, they were going to do it.. Thanks, guys..

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