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Friday, April 24, 2015

Most of Navy's Sea Dragon fleet remains on the ground

MH-53E Sea DragonTwo months after the Navy ordered new inspections of every heavy-lift helicopter in its fleet, most of the aircraft - including all but one based in Norfolk - remain grounded until thousands of repairs are made to potentially unsafe fuel lines and electrical wires.

It's a time- and labor-intensive process, complicated further by the age of the helicopters: Some parts needed to repair the Cold War-era aircraft are out of production and must be made in-house or custom ordered.

"We're making good progress," said Rear Adm. J.R. Haley, commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic in Norfolk. "I'm more concerned with accuracy of implementation than I am with quickness."

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