July 28, 2009 (by SrA Matt Davis) - Recently, 20th Maintenance Group Airmen tackled the task of a one-time inspection of 87, 20th Fighter Wing Lockheed-Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons to ensure the safety of the wing's pilots and aircraft.
20th AMXS members A1Cs Jeremy Keller, left, and Eric Rigsby, inspect the braking system of an F-16CJ aircraft on July 10th. The 20th MXG is performing preventive maintenance inspections on all aircraft due to an unusual number of anti-skid problems.
Normally an F-16 weighing in at about 28,000 pounds traveling 160 knots uses only about 7,000 feet of runway during landing; therefore, fighters must have a reliable brake system that will get them from high speeds to a safe landing and a successful mission.
An unusual number of anti-skid and braking system problems led Col. Robert Hopkins, former 20th MXG commander, to recommend and Col. Joseph Guastella, Jr., 20th FW commander to agree to a fleet-wide inspection.
The OTI encompassed a full inspection of the F-16 anti-skid and braking systems housed within the aircraft's landing gear wheel wells. Both the left and right gear were given a full inspection to identify and repair any worn equipment or incorrect routing of components. At least three hours each have been dedicated to 80 aircraft totaling 240 maintenance hours from June 27 to the present. Roughly 90 percent of the inspections have been accomplished, with the remaining aircraft currently receiving maintenance or deployed.
The 20th MXG organized specialized teams consisting of crew chiefs, aircraft electricians and avionics personnel. Overall, over 72 Airmen from the 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron were solely dedicated to the inspection process. Each AMU worked 12 hour shifts with the specialized teams to ensure a quick turn inspection and to produce combat ready aircraft.
The maintainers worked long hours and even weekends to ensure the combat readiness of the F-16. "It is very tedious and time consuming and our maintainers did a fantastic job," said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Preston, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
Airmen of the 20th MXG engaged in the strenuous process of the inspection and completed all necessary repairs that were required. "This was the right thing to do," said Capt. Ivan Pennington, 20th AMXS operations officer. "We identified the problem and leadership took appropriate steps by standing down and reducing local flying to let us perform this inspection with a goal of ensuring safe aircraft for our (pilots).