NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Aboard every carrier in the fleet, there are four operational elevators. USS Dwight D. Eisenhower's (CVN 69) elevators are currently undergoing major upgrades that will make them more efficient.
When Ike pulled into Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipbuilding in early 2001, Lt. Cmdr. Ken Beck, Ike's auxiliary officer, set out to get upgrades completed on the ship with the help of A division, E division and Air department. They've managed to conduct several repairs and upgrades to the elevators. While all of the repairs and upgrades are not completed, Beck said they should be finished before the crew moves aboard in 2004.
"Engineering and Air have worked after-hours and even on some weekends to get necessary repairs done on the elevators," said Beck.
Not only have they been replacing pumps and motors with the help of the shipyard, they have also added upgrades to the elevators to make them more efficient.
According to Beck, all of the elevators are to receive state-of-the-art plasma display touch-screen control panels. Traditionally, manual switches and levers operated the elevators. Now, Sailors are able to give all of the elevator commands directly on the touch screen. The panels also give the operator more information on the status of the elevator, and keep an internal record of all operations. This, in turn, provides technicians with troubleshooting data for when repairs need to be made.
"We are one of the first carriers to get this technology," said Beck.
Along with upgrading to the control panels, the locks are now also electronic. Previously, they were air- driven, and valves were used to activate them. Now Sailors can engage the locks through the touch screen.
According to Beck, the final upgrades are stanchions that operate individually. The stanchions, which make the elevator move, used to work as one unit. If one of the stanchions went down, then the entire elevator was down. Now, since the stanchions work individually, if one goes down then the elevator can still operate.
With the upgrades taking place, the elevators are currently being tested in order to see if they are working properly. Currently, elevator four is in the final stages of testing. Elevator three will begin its testing phase this week, with elevators one and two being tested in the coming weeks.
During this testing phase, Engineering and Air Departments test the pumps, motors and interlocks, and check the computer programs, and the electrical and mechanical systems. They first test the elevators unloaded and then perform a final test with a load of 130,000 tons is completed, to make sure they can properly handle the weight of Navy aircraft. The elevator must also be checked for time requirements during the testing period.
"Sailors can start seeing our mission-critical equipment returning to operational status," said Beck.
By the completion of this testing period, Ike's elevators will be up and running again. Ike will then have a strong visual representation of what the ship is capable of, as it prepares to depart the shipyard.
For related news, visit the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn69.