Air Force

February 14, 2014

61st AMU gets new digs

Tags:
Senior Airman DEVANTE WILLIAMS
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 61st Aircraft Maintenance Unit will be the first at Luke Air Force Base to house the
new F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. The first F-35 is scheduled to land soon at Luke.

Luke Air Force Base has long been known as fighter country. In addition to the F-16s that have been a staple of the West Valley for many years, the base will soon be receiving its first F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, and training pilots on these jets will become part of the wing’s mission.

New jets come with new squadrons, and the 61st Aircraft Maintenance Unit will be the first F-35 AMU to be operational at Luke.

“Our mission at the 61st AMU is to stand up F-35 capability and operations at Luke, while establishing capability to train pilots,” said Capt. Joseph Langan, 61st AMU officer in charge. “The F-16s will remain a part of Luke for years to come, but over the next five years the F-35 mission will slowly start to increase.”

There will eventually be 144 aircraft and six F-35 squadrons at Luke. The F-35s haven’t arrived yet, but that’s not stopping the 61st AMU from preparing their unit.

“We expect to receive our first F-35 aircraft soon, but in the meantime, our main focus is on training,” Langan said. “About three-quarters of the AMU have no experience at all. So our main priority is getting the maintainers trained up.”

All maintainers will receive F-35 training, but the crew chiefs will receive it first.

“Our crew chiefs are scheduled to go through transition courses at Detachment 12, 372nd Training Squadron here on Luke,” said Staff Sgt. Arthur Verchot, 61st AMU F-35 crew chief. “The training will take 90 to 120 days for the entire course sequence.”

Once the crew chiefs are done with classes, they will work on an actual F-35 aircraft to get on-the-job training.

“A lot of the OJT will be difficult since the maintainers aren’t used to the new aircraft,” Verchot said. “But most of the training will be common to them such as servicing, launching and much more.”

Luckily for the 61st AMU, there are some maintainers from F-35 units who can lend a hand to the up-and-coming F-35 maintainers.

“We’re very lucky to have a dozen individuals in the AMU and the back shops that have prior F-35 experience,” Langan said. “We’re relying heavily on them to train the rest of the maintainers.”

The new aircraft come with a new building. The 61st AMU has moved into an existing building that was redesigned to accommodate the F-35.

“This entire building was renovated and several additions were put on,” Langan said. “It’s a great facility. It’s very rare that maintainers get a brand new building, so we’re very thankful to have this opportunity.”

With the new F-35 on its way, the 61st AMU is ready to hit the ground running.

“One thing I tell the guys is you have to be constantly thinking outside the box,” Langan said. “This isn’t just your standard F-16 AMU. We’re developing how F-35s will operate in the future. It’s a challenge but it’s exciting as well.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Lightening-within-five

Lightning over Luke …

The F-35 Lightning II isn’t the only lightning striking over Luke Air Force Base. This strike, about five miles west of the Luke flightline, was captured on camera at 1:12 a.m. Aug. 12 at the jet engine test cell.
 
 

Program smooths change from military to civilian life

It can be difficult to find work in today’s economy, even more so for families that are moving to a new area or families that are transitioning from military to civilian life. One program available to veterans is the Workforce Investment Act, which can help veterans have a smooth transition to civilian work. The 56th...
 
 

New form second chance to do EPRs right

Without fail, every time I am around a group of young NCOs, there is one subject guaranteed to come up — the enduring question of “How can I write a stronger EPR for my Airman?” My answer to this question is fairly standard and is one that a chief shared with me many years ago....
 

 

Plan for final out

How many of you are prepared for life outside of the military? Seriously, if you were told tomorrow was your final out, what would you do? We are currently in an environment where Defense Department rollbacks are a serious issue we must all contemplate. Fewer officers are being commissioned. Last year there was only one...
 
 

News Briefs August 22, 2014

Commander’s call Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, will hold a commander’s call Monday in the Luke Air Force Base theater at 7 a.m. for Airmen, 9 a.m. for NCOs, 11 a.m. for senior NCOs, 1 p.m. for civilians, 3 p.m. for officers and 5 p.m. for those not able to make another...
 
 
Airman 1st Class 
JAMES HENSLEY

Commandant challenges students to be best

Airman 1st ClassJAMES HENSLEY Master Sgt. Sheris Poisson, 56th Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School commandant, briefs students Aug. 12 about the active-shooter exercise Aug. 15 at Luke Air Force Base. Poisson asked ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin