The development of the F-35 continues apace, and a part of that is the training and certification of the fighter's maintainers. That took a big step foward recently with the certification of the first enlisted Airman for engine start:
Last week, the first few maintenance personnel in the joint strike fighter program were certified on procedures for F-35A engine runs – two Air Force crew chiefs and two civilians from Air Force Engineer Technical Services. The accomplishment is yet another milestone toward organic maintenance capability, which reduces the need to rely on outside agencies.Of course, as more and more are certified the faster the jet gets out to the services. Obviously, training maintenance crews is a critical part of the jet's development, and TSgt Pressley's certification is a big step in that direction.
“It feels pretty good starting the whole development of this program and being the first enlisted person to run an [F-135] engine,” said TSgt. Jeremy Pressley of the 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit.
Pressley completed his first engine run Sept. 10 and will be an instructor for the select few maintainers chosen to go through the engine run course.
Engine runs are a fairly common follow-on maintenance task, required after engine installations and for leak checks and operational checks of specific components, for example. As the 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit builds up to full capability, engine runs will be part of daily operations.Now certified enlisted personnel can do it. Another step forward for the F-35's development.
“In a typical AMU, you’re doing multiple engine runs in a day,” said Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Bennett, who leads the airframe powerplant general section. “It’s a great deal of responsibility.”
Previously, the unit could only use trained pilots to conduct engine runs.