Defense

September 25, 2012

Airmen certified for F-35 engine runs

Tags:
2nd Lt. Jessica Rush
Eglin AFB, Fla.
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Bruce Ferris
TSgt. Jeremy Pressley, of the 33rd Maintenance Operations Squadron, is the first maintainer to complete an F-135 engine run. He will be an instructor for next few maintainers chosen to go through the F-35A engine run course. Having maintenance personnel conduct engine runs frees up pilots for training missions and allows the jets to get fixed faster.

An airman seated in an aircraft, surrounded by electronic displays, surveys the cockpit of an F-35A Lightning II and begins rehearsed procedures that now feel comfortable. He feels the jet’s familiar rumble below as the engine roars to life on the flightline.

If you imagined the person in the seat as a pilot, in this instance, you would be wrong.

Last week, the first few maintenance personnel in the joint strike fighter program were certified on procedures for F-35A engine runs – two Air Force crew chiefs and two civilians from Air Force Engineer Technical Services. The accomplishment is yet another milestone toward organic maintenance capability, which reduces the need to rely on outside agencies.

“It feels pretty good starting the whole development of this program and being the first enlisted person to run an [F-135] engine,” said TSgt. Jeremy Pressley of the 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit.

Pressley completed his first engine run Sept. 10 and will be an instructor for the select few maintainers chosen to go through the engine run course.

The structure of the class is currently in the validation process. It was developed primarily by AFETS technicians Lou Sirois and Mike D’Ingillo, who combined have more than 40 years prior experience in the Air Force and an additional 17 years with AFETS. In June, they began working with instructor pilots on the program, and now serve as third-party certifiers for the Air Force on this critical course.

Once an experienced maintainer spends two days in the classroom with Pressley, he/she must pass tests on general and emergency procedures before moving on to a simulator. The training in the simulator allows maintainers to get comfortable with practicing for emergencies, such as an engine fire or uncommanded auto-acceleration that leads to “jumping chocks.”

Sirois or D’Ingillo will spend the last day of the course certifying maintainers to do engine runs on an actual jet.

“It’s a dynamic situation when you’re in there,” D’Ingillo said. “You need to be quick on your feet.”

Engine runs are a fairly common follow-on maintenance task, required after engine installations and for leak checks and operational checks of specific components, for example. As the 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit builds up to full capability, engine runs will be part of daily operations.

“In a typical AMU, you’re doing multiple engine runs in a day,” said Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Bennett, who leads the airframe powerplant general section. “It’s a great deal of responsibility.”

Previously, the unit could only use trained pilots to conduct engine runs.

Lt. Col. Lee Kloos, 58th Fighter Squadron commander, said initially running engines provided valuable training for pilots, but balancing the benefit of that exposure with managing pilot work load has become a challenge.

“We have a limited number of pilots available to support flight operations and maintenance. We continue to qualify our initial cadre pilots to fly the F-35A while the Operational Utility Evaluation is underway as we anticipate a transition to formal syllabus training.” he said. “The OUE will include a complete checkout of the ground and flight operations segments of the syllabus, as well as a checkout of the logistics and maintenance procedures to ensure we are able to sustain a sufficient sortie generation rate.”

TSgt. Rawleigh Smith said the fifth generation aircraft technology requires the keen ability to monitor the Panoramic Cockpit Display while referencing a laptop with the necessary technical data. The engine lead for the 58th AMU is familiar with KC-135 maintenance, which he could check four engines at a time versus only running one F-35A engine.

“It is a daunting task for maintainers who have never run an engine before; however, the crew chiefs who will be selected for certification have previous experience on other airframes,” said Smith. “The more you do it, the more comfortable you get. It was fun.”

The next group of seven-level crew chiefs are scheduled to go through an official engine run course as early as the end of 2012.




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


 
 

 

Headlines April 1, 2015

News: Iranian aircraft buzzed U.S. Navy helo in Persian Gulf - An Iranian aircraft buzzed a Navy helicopter operating in the Persian Gulf earlier this month, a U.S. military official said March 31. Active duty suicides up in 2014 - Suicides among active duty members of the military increased in 2014, though reservists and members of the...
 
 

News Briefs April 1, 2015

Germany, France, Italy plan to develop military drones Germany and France plan to work together with Italy to develop military surveillance drones that could also carry weapons. French President Francois Hollande said after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel March 31 that it is important for Europe to be independent in both manufacturing drones and in...
 
 
Northrop Grumman photograph

AirRobot, Northrop Grumman Remotec sign distribution agreement for unmanned aerial systems

Northrop Grumman photograph An AirRobot unmanned aerial system flies at Fort Benning, Ga.. Northrop Grumman Remotec is the sole reseller of the systems to law enforcement and first responders under a distribution agreement sign...
 

 

Raytheon awarded $528 million AMRAAM contract

Raytheon has been awarded a $528,797,459 fixed-price incentive, firm target contract modification for Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles. Raytheon will provide AMRAAM Lot 29 missiles and other AMRAAM system items. This contract involves foreign military sales. Work will be performed in Tucson and is expected to be complete by January 2018. This award was booked...
 
 

Raytheon, DRS team for Army’s third Generation IFLIR B-Kit

Building on their combined platform integration experience, Raytheon and DRS Technologies have entered into a teaming agreement for the U.S. Army’s 3rd Generation Improved Forward Looking Infrared program B-Kit “Raytheon and DRS have teamed to provide an IFLIR solution that provides our military supremacy in reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition,” said Dr. Taylor...
 
 

U.S. Air Force awards Raytheon $91.5 million for MALD-J

Raytheon Company received a $91.5 million U.S. Air Force contract modification award for the Miniature Air Launched Decoy Jammer missile. The contract modification is for Lot 8. Work will be performed in Tucson and is expected to be complete by June 2017. This award was booked in the first quarter 2015. MALDÆ is a state-of-the-art,...
 




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>