Propulsion Flight Moves Towards Innovation

USAF

Senior Airman Sean Flanagan, 52nd Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion journeyman, inspects an F-16 Fighting Falcon engine at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Oct. 17, 2017.The engine propulsion shop are responsible for working on two different engines, the F110-GE-129 and the F110-GE-110. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

USAF

Staff Sgt. Derek Malecki, 52nd Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion craftsman, inspects an F-16 engine at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Oct. 17, 2017. The engine propulsion shop will conduct a preventive maintenance inspection on an F-16 engine every 400 flying hours to make sure the engine is running properly. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

USAF

Staff Sgt. Derek Malecki, front, 52nd Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion craftsman, reviews technical orders while Senior Airman Sean Flanagan, back, 52nd MXS aerospace propulsion journeyman, works on an F-16 Fighting Falcon engine at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Oct. 17, 2017. The engine propulsion shop will conduct a preventive maintenance inspection on an F-16 engine every 400 flying hours to make sure the engine is running properly. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

USAF

Senior Airman Sean Flanagan, 52nd Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion journeyman, works on an F-16 Fighting Falcon engine at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Oct. 17, 2017. The engine propulsion shop are responsible for working on two different engines, the F110-GE-129 and the F110-GE-110. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany --

Airmen at the 52nd Maintenance Squadron propulsion flight keeps the flying mission going for Spangdahlem Air Base, Aviano Air Base, and various operations around the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. They are the sole F110 centralized repair facility in all of U.S. Air Forces in Europe -Air Forces Africa major command.

“Earlier this year, a deployed F-16 unit experienced an unprecedented 17 unscheduled engine removals during their six month deployment,” said Capt. Matthew Mays, 52nd MXS propulsion flight commander. “The CRF aggressively repaired and returned all 17 engines while maintaining both Spangdahlem AB and Aviano AB at 100 percent of their required war ready engine levels.” 

The propulsion flight repairs and maintains both F110-GE-110 and F110-GE-129 jet engines.

The 52 MXS propulsion flight is currently working on upgrading their inventory of F110-GE-129B engines to F110-GE-129D engines, which will last longer before needing an overhaul, saving money and man-hours. They are also the first to do this type of engine upgrade in all of USAFE-AFAFRICA.

“The upgrade is basically an engine life extension,” said Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Haney, 52nd MXS Propulsion Flight Chief. “This upgrade will allow our F-16 engines to last one to three years longer than they currently do, saving the Air Force $250K in induction costs every second time the engine is brought in for an overhaul.” 

One already completed F110-GE-129D has been identified and is currently serving as a “Pacer” engine in the F-16s at Spangdahlem, this engine will lead the fleet in flying hours. If the jet with the “Pacer” engine is unable to fly for more than 10 days due to other mechanical issues, the engine will be removed and installed into another jet. This will ensure the “Pacer” engine will continue to have more flying hours, than the other upgraded engines.

“Some amazing innovative things are happening at Spangdahlem,” Mays said. “The propulsion flight is putting in the hard work and improvements needed to produce quality jet engines in support of the war fighting effort.”   

The data collected from the “Pacer” engine will be analyzed by a team of engineers on the engine component serviceability before being implemented to other fighter squadrons.