Propulsion flight keeps jets in the Air
By Airman 1st Class Kyle Gese, 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 22, 2013
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
The Air Force strives to always remain vigilant and mission ready for a full range of operations.
The Air Force maintains readiness by ensuring Airmen are fully trained and capable of carrying out mission objectives. The Airmen also keep vital resources available to them such as jet engines. By maintaining readiness, the Air Force is capable of countering a wide variety of challenges that affect U.S. national security.
The strategic location of Spangdahlem Air Base allows pilots to quickly reach threats across Europe and aims to maximize global reach.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft at Spangdahlem and Aviano Air Base, Italy, act as the air attack component of U.S. Air Forces in Europe. Thorough inspections and maintenance are required to keep the aircraft fully mission capable and ready to deploy whenever called upon.
The 52nd Component Maintenance Squadron is a supporting unit in charge of any component for the F-16 from both bases.
The 52nd CMS Propulsion Flight keeps those aircraft in the sky every day by stress testing, inspecting and performing maintenance on the engines. Their objective is to provide war-ready engines for the F-16.
"We test every parameter basically to ensure that when it [F110-100 engine] does get installed on an aircraft and it becomes air worthy and air borne, then it definitely withstands those mock levels, or whatever the pilot puts it through," said Tech Sgt. Jamie Barajas, 52nd CMS shift supervisor.
The propulsion flight refurbishes, inspects and carries out any maintenance for F-16 engines. They are responsible for fixing any anomalies before engines are installed into aircraft. Some of the key things they look for in their inspections are fuel and oil leaks, erratic temperature changes or the consumption of oil. These types of problems can cause the engine to burn out or start an external fire.
After stress tests and inspections, the engines are sent back to the main propulsion flight and go through a final inspection to be checked for quality.
"After 14 years in the Air Force, I'd have to say seeing that engine at full augmentation is the most awesome thing an engine mechanic could experience," said Barajas. "It doesn't get old."
Keeping engines fully capable to carry out any task a pilot may carry out is what the propulsion flight does every day. The Airmen that work on these engines are fully trained and qualified to handle a multitude of procedures. The Air Force is capable of countering a variety of threats because test cell Airmen maintain war-ready engines.