April 28, 2006 (by MSgt. Mary McHale) - An F-22A Raptor touched down at Tyndall April 19 on its final flight. The aircraft will now be the new ground instructional trainer, solely dedicated as the airframe for aircraft maintenance technical school students.
An F-22A Raptor, the new ground instructional trainer aircraft at the 43rd Fighter Squadron, arrives at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., on Wednesday, April 19, 2006. [U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Jon Quinlan]
"Previously, the 43rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit was required to provide an operational F-22A for maintenance training," said Capt. William Cooke, 325th Maintenance Operations Squadron maintenance training flight commander.
"Access to several components required removal of panels that must be replaced through a lengthy recovery process, which led to significant aircraft downtime," the captain said. "This (ground instructional trainer aircraft) will significantly reduce those requirements and allow more aircraft availability for the 43rd to accomplish flight training, while allowing maintenance training simultaneously."
This F-22A was at the end of its service life as a test aircraft. It came to Tyndall when it was chosen as a candidate for permanent grounding as a training aircraft, Captain Cooke said.
There are however, several tasks to be done before the trainer can be used by students. Since the aircraft had been previously used as a test aircraft, a lot of equipment, including the engines, needed to be removed.
"A great number of sensors, connectors and wire bundles must be safely identified and removed in order to configure this aircraft to meet our training requirements," Captain Cooke said. "Since this is not a production aircraft, there are several differences between it and other Raptors on our ramp, and it will take some time to identify what differences may hinder training or require modification to safely provide the best training asset possible."
Students will be trained on such tasks as turning on the auxiliary power unit and maintaining the intake and exhaust systems. The trainer will also be used for weapons load training, basic and advanced tactical aircraft maintenance and emergency egress.