Newer F-15s enhance maintenance training
A series of F-15Cs are parked on the old Strategic Air Command ramp on Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, July 23 after being altered to serve as a trainer for the 82nd Training Group and 782nd TRG F-15 courses. Sheppard acquired a total of 13 F-15s which were converted into trainers to update F-15 maintenance courses that used F-15A and F-15B models, which do not match the models currently used on operational flightlines. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Vernon Cunningham)
by Tech. Sgt. Vernon Cunningham
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
7/23/2010 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Months of coordination, multiple TDYs and a large parking space define only a few of the factors that fell into place to bring 13 newer-model F-15s to update Sheppard's F-15 Aircraft Maintenance Course.
The course currently utilizes A and B model aircraft to train today's F-15 aircraft maintenance students on how to properly maintain mission capability for C and D models. These are the models currently used on operational flightlines.
Sheppard submitted a package to Air Education and Training Command requesting replacements for the F-15A and F-15Bs. The newer F-15C and F-15D models were acquired as excess equipment from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and then altered for use as trainer aircraft.
Ed Crenshaw, 982nd Maintenance Squadron logistics program manager, said before they could place them into use as trainers, the aircraft had to have all explosives removed to make them safe.
"We negotiated with Tyndall to send egress, electro-environmental, aircrew flight equipment and weapons technicians TDY to Sheppard to remove the explosive components," he said. "We worked out a series of three TDYs to accomplish this effort, which ran from April through June."
Mr. Crenshaw said the explosives removed from the newer F-15s included various incendiary lines and components, squibs used to activate the engine fire bottles, incendiaries in the personal parachutes and survival kits and explosive cartridges used to eject external pylons.
The newer model F-15 trainers were a welcome addition for Sheppard's F-15 Aircraft Maintenance Course, said one instructor.
Tech. Sgt. Jerry Sasser, 362nd Training Squadron F-15 aircraft maintenance instructor, said the F-15C and F-15D trainers will help instructors give the students the type of training they actually need when they get to a flightline. He said instructors currently train students on the F-15B models and then explain the differences between what they are working on and what is in the field.
The sergeant said a lot of things are similar, but there are many differences.
"The older models don't have all the pieces and parts that the newer models have in them," he said. "For example, The F-15C and F-15D has a multiple purpose color display in the cockpit that is not on the F-15B. Some of the controls are in different spots.
Also, the launchers on the side are different from the new launchers. They will never see F-15B launchers again in their career. The launchers on the newer F-15 models are what they will actually see on a flightline."
In addition, having newer F-15 trainers will benefit the students when they graduate and become active duty F-15 aircraft maintainers.
"When working on (F-15A) models, it's really hard to teach these guys skills that they will remember when they get to their next duty station," Sergeant Sasser said. "Whenever they get to their (F-15C) and (F-15D) models, it's hard for them to remember what they were told because we didn't show it to them."
The 362nd TRS will receive eight F-15 trainers to train crew chiefs. The 363rd TRS will receive two trainers to teach armament students. The 365th TRS will receive three trainers for avionics training.
The F-15C and F-15D trainers are not in use yet, but, some are in place at their training hangars and projected to start being used within the next two weeks.