May 14, 2008 (by A1C Veronica McMahon) - Two of Tyndall Air Force Base's jet fleets have recently soared to new heights, exceeding maintenance and training standards.
Two F-22 Raptors from Tyndall AFB fly formation on April 1st, 2007. [USAF photo by SMSgt. Thomas Meneguin]
The F-22 Raptor has exceeded mission capability rates for the first time in more than four years, while the F-15 Eagle has reached its operational target for the first time since its stand-down more than five months ago.
The 325th Operations and Maintenance Group's personnel have been working around the clock to ensure the fighter jets are mechanically and operationally primed for Tyndall Air Force Base's mission.
In March, the F-22 Raptor MC rates reached a record high since its arrival in September 2003.
"This is truly a remarkable feat," said Robert Taylor, Maintenance Operations Squadron Maintenance Analysis chief. "A feat that is a true testament to the Raptor maintainers' dedication in fixing hard breaks, quality maintenance, and strategic, logical scheduling to offset aircraft availability issues in meeting daily mission flying requirements."
MC rates measures the degree of aircraft availability for mission effectiveness, said Mr. Taylor. It is the best known yardstick for measuring a unit's performance and is the ultimate indicator of fleet health and maintenance productivity.
The F-22's MC rate of 65.4 exceeded the goal of 65 for the fiscal year of 2008 and has been the best fiscal MC rate in Tyndall's F-22 history.
The results are the product of hard work, a lot of focus and meeting new quality maintenance standards, said Senior Master Sgt. Donald Richardson, 43rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit F-22 lead production superintendent.
The maintenance team works hard, spending quality maintenance hours to fix every problem thoroughly the first time, according to the production superintendent. This, in combination with the teams taking advantage of Raptor 21 (an AFSO 21 initiative) opportunities, has brought the MC rates up. The team is also conducting as much preventative maintenance as possible.
The MC rate increase also shows total commitment, professionalism and increased learning by the members of the 43rd AMU, said Michael Cabiness, F-22 site manager. The 325th Fighter Wing is meeting its objectives to train skilled pilots for the combat Air Force.
"It's a team effort," Sergeant Richardson stressed, "it's the product superintendents, expediters, technicians, engineers, Tyndall contractors and the modification team working with operations."
The higher the F-22s MC rate, the higher aircraft availability and the more training hours can be attained said Sergeant Richardson. This helps accomplish the base and Air Force mission.
Tyndall Airmen have worked to not only exceed the MC rates with the F-22 Raptor, but have been hard at work supporting the F-15 Eagle.
"The F-15s are finally back to full speed, meeting training and flying goals," said Lt. Col. Warren Benjamin, 325th Operations Group deputy commander. "It shows how we as a team - operations, maintenance, and support - overcame a hurdle together to bring our fleet back to full speed in minimal time."
Colonel Benjamin said the maintenance group, from the commander to the Airmen, is responsible for this return.
"We have gotten outstanding support from our local Tyndall maintenance," said Colonel Benjamin. "They have done a phenomenal job, expeditiously and safely, bringing the fleet back to full speed. Now that we have all airplanes back, we are producing students again at full speed to send off into the combat Air Force."
Colonel Benjamin emphasized that Airmen will continue the same safe maintenance practices as before to ensure the base F-15 fleet continues on this rate of progression.