April 22, 2004 (by Gary Boyle) - Parts from two jets - one Navy and one Air Force - were joined together through the ingenuity of the 649th Combat Logistics Support Squadron and Ogden ALC engineers. The front-end fuselage of a Navy combat trainer F-16C was fitted on to an Air Force F-16C here April 14.
A landing gear malfunction at the end of a functional check flight here severely damaged the intake manifold of the Air Force Reserve Command F-16C in December, 2000.
The crippled Falcon was handed over to the 649th CLSS
in order to return this vital irreplaceable asset to the Air Force fleet.
As work began, crew members attempted to repair the damage but found it was too severe and decided to do something never attempted.
A visit to Davis-Monthan AFB
, Ariz., is where CLSS personnel found a solution - a Navy F-16C block 30
that had been used as an aggressor in aerial combat training.
The Navy Falcon had been mothballed because of damaged landing gear and was brought up to Hill on a flatbed truck.
"The Navy F-16 is very similar to what the home unit flies. There are some minor differences, but we knew we had something we could use," said Tech. Sgt. Michael Himes, CLSS lead of structural maintenance. "We replaced the 243 bulkhead, which is a production bulkhead that joins the front-end to the rest of the aircraft. We'll replace the avionics and bring the aircraft up to current technical orders and technical compliance. When this Falcon leaves here it will fly like new."
The repair involved all members of the CLSS team as well as engineers from the F-16 System Program office at Hill and Lockheed-Martin field service engineers.
Thousands of hours of work on the $1.2-million repair have saved taxpayers approximately $30-million in the cost of a lost aircraft, in addition to one-of-a-kind training for depot maintainers, said Capt. Brett W. Paradis, CLSS Maintenance Flight commander.
The repair is scheduled for completion in August, 2005.