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F-117A Maintainers

Becoming a F-117A Crew Chief

From April 16, 1999 Sunburst:
Story by Airman 1st Class Chris Uhles
49th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

[F-117A undergoing maintenance.(Sunburst)]"In order to become a crew chief for the F-117, maintainers must first be trained on the F-16 at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. Following the Falcon training, they are sent to Holloman.
However, their training doesn't end there.
"The whole reason we exist," explained Senior Master Sgt. Larry Brown: "Is to supply maintenance classes and trained maintainers for the F-117."

[Tech. Sgt. William Davis, engine-class instructor, points out engine run procedures for a classroom cockpit simulator at the detachment.(Sunburst)] Sergeant Brown is the chief for Detachment 10, 372nd Training Squadron -a member of the 982nd Training Group, Sheppard Air Force Base, based at Holloman.
The detachment, which began classes at Holloman in 1996, currently teaches almost 35 classes on everything from avionics to aerospace and ground equipment, to maintenance specialists- or crew chiefs - for the F-117.

[The 25th graduating crew chief class, including the 100th graduating student, take the maintainers oath on graduation day.(Sunburst)] The 12-member "schoolhouse" runs these courses year-round, recently completing the 25th crew chief course and the 100th graduated maintainer, Wednesday.
"The course is very beneficial to the 49th Fighter Wing," Sergeant Brown said. "Now, the maintainers arrive at their respective squadrons ready to jump in and work."

[Richard Evans, detachment low observable instructor, familiarizes Senior Airman Kirk Ashmore with the F-117 cockpit in an egress trainer.(Sunburst)] The course for the crew chiefs consists of six-weeks of instruction. The first two weeks of the course begin in a classroom where one of the 10 instructors teach the basic differences between the F-16 and the F-117.
After the two weeks, the class is then sent to the 9th Fighter Squadron where they will, in effect, shadow actual maintainers - called static instruction.

[A 7th Fighter Squadron pilot is strapped in by Airman 1st Class Johnson Kelaita.(Sunburst)] The class is taught, and asked to perform, tire changes, stuffing drag chutes, servicing the hydraulic and oil levels, and more.
The final two weeks, the new members to Holloman will actually work for the 7th Fighter Squadron, proving they can handle crew chief responsibilities, such as launches and recoveries, fueling, A and B-man positions, and much more.

[Staff Sgt. Jose Lopez, Detachment 10 instructor, keenly watches over Airman 1st Class Johnson Kelaita, one of his students, performing his crew chiefing responsibilities.(Sunburst)] After they are signed off each task, the class is graduated and sent to work in the squadron they are assigned.
Airman Danny Fraley, a student in the crew chief class that graduated Wednesday, was happy he had the chance to go through the class.
"If we didn't get the chance to go through the class we'd probably start to pick it up slowly, but this gets us to the point where we can be ready to go on the first day," Fraley said.

[Sergeant Davis checks engine signals with student Airman 1st Class Edwin Huertas.(Sunburst)] Airman 1st Class Kevin Gingras agreed: "The course showed us a lot of safety areas we might not have been aware of" he explained.
The instructors, all Air Education and Training Command certified instructors, set in a four-year controlled tour, are all flightline experienced staff sergeants and above. "We want to make sure we have the most qualified instructors possible," Sergeant Brown said. "

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