HomeNewsArticle Display

T-38 maintenance significant to ISR

Matt Miller, 9th Maintenance Group T-38 aircraft mechanic, begins inspecting a T-38 Talon after a sortie Dec. 5, 2016, at Beale Air Force Base, California. The mechanics’ efforts allow pilots to fly between 12 and 15 sorties a day. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Airman Tristan D. Viglianco)

Matt Miller, a 9th Maintenance Group T-38 aircraft mechanic, begins inspecting a T-38 Talon after a sortie Dec. 5, 2016, at Beale Air Force Base, Calif. The mechanics’ efforts allow pilots to fly between 12 and 15 sorties a day. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Airman Tristan D. Viglianco)

Matt Miller, 9th Maintenance Group T-38 aircraft mechanic, checks for cracks in a T-38 Talon’s exhaust during a post-flight inspection Dec. 5, 2016, at Beale Air Force Base, California. The exhaust will form cracks from expansion and contraction due to repeated heated and cooling. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Airman Tristan D. Viglianco)

Matt Miller, a 9th Maintenance Group T-38 aircraft mechanic, checks for cracks in a T-38 Talon’s exhaust during a post-flight inspection Dec. 5, 2016, at Beale Air Force Base, Calif. The exhaust may form cracks from expansion and contraction due to repeated heated and cooling. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Airman Tristan D. Viglianco)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) --

Along with the U-2 and the RQ-4 Global Hawk, the T-38 Talon can be found in the skies above Beale Air Force Base. While the T-38 may not directly provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, it is a vital tool U-2 pilots use in order to complete their mission and support the Air Force as a whole.

“The T-38s are a part of the Companion Trainer Program for the U-2 pilots at Beale,” said Lt. Col. Paul Wurster, the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron commander. “The U-2 fleet is small so our pilots only get three or four flights per month on average.  The T-38 is used to provide instrument and general flight training which keeps our pilots current and proficient.”

Although various personnel provide support to T-38 flying operations, a group of mechanics play an integral role. These civilian contractors work to keep the aircraft ready to fly whenever necessary.

“We get all of the aircraft prepared for the daily flying schedule,” said Sam Holmes, 9th Maintenance Group T-38 aircraft mechanic. “After each flight we recover the aircraft, we refuel them, inspect them, and send them back up.”

There is a quicker turnaround between flights for the T-38 compared to the U-2 due to the lower maintenance requirements and the larger fleet of them on Beale AFB. This allows the pilots a chance to fly a greater number of sorties.

“We fly almost every day and fly upwards of 30 pilots in that time,” said Matt Miller, a 9th MXG T-38 aircraft mechanic. “We can fly between 12 and 15 sorties, no problem.”

The aforementioned flying schedule is only possible due to the mechanics' level of expertise. They perform almost all maintenance on the T-38 in-house, much of which is maintenance done preemptively.

“The preventative maintenance is to ensure the airworthiness of the aircraft,” Miller said. “A lot of small problems can be stopped from becoming big problems, but things do break. As the issues arise, we work to get the aircraft back in the air as quickly as possible.” 

The comprehensive inspections done by the mechanics catch the larger issues early and ensure the safety of the pilots.

“We do both preflight and post-flight inspections and inspections every 25 and 225 flight hours,” Holmes said. “We have an oil sampling program we do every 20 flight hours.” 

All the time spent inside a T-38 is essential in keeping a pilot’s skills sharp and in turn keeping the nation safe. The time the mechanics spend working on the aircraft is just as important.

"The mechanics make it possible to fly multiple flights a day,” Wurster said. “Their work keeps our flight operations safe and efficient." 

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @thejointstaff: Watch today's change of responsibility ceremony, hosted by #GenMilley, live @ 10 a.m. EST on Twitter. @SEAC_Troxell wil…
RT @HQ_AFMC: 📽️We're back to the @Afresearchlab for Day 10 of #24DaysAFMC. This year they tested a state-of-the-art rocket #engine preburne…
RT @16AF_AFCYBER: The holiday season is a prime time for online thieves to take advantage of weaknesses in shoppers' devices to extract per…
RT @USAFCENT: ALWAYS READY | Members of the 823d Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron test their combat life-saving skills during a medical…
Nearly 10,000 participants from around the world took part in the 2019 Military World Games in Wuhan, China. And… https://t.co/CRYacyFtEJ
Ever heard of the rule of 0-0-1-3? No. Well it means to have zero alcohol if you're underage, zero drinks if you're… https://t.co/7bNRnhYuWS
RT @HQ_AFMC: #Readiness was on display by our @AFResearchLab teams during a live-virtual-constructive training simulation, enabling #Airmen
RT @AFWERX: We can't wait for 2020: The @USAirForce Advanced Manufacturing Olympics is slated for July 8-9 in Salt Lake City & will bring t…
RT @AirNatlGuard: “The Silver Flag training sites provide our Airmen with real-world scenarios to reinforce our Air Force Specialty Code sk…
RT @US_TRANSCOM: Watch a @usairforce KC-10A refuel, and be refueled during same mission in support of @CJTFOIR. #Togetherwdeliver #NKAWTG #…
RT @AETCommand: Transforming the way we learn with technology is one of our key priorities here in the First Command! Check out the photos…
RT @AirNatlGuard: This week, @ChiefNGB visited the @PRNationalGuard at Muñiz Air National Guard Base to meet with senior leaders and discus…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: YOU are the most important reason for our mission success. Take care of each other & preserve the connections & commun…
RT @AirmanMagazine: When it comes to acquisitions, the @usairforce has the need for speed. Equipping Airmen with the best technology start…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: A distinct privilege to help unveil the F-117 exhibit, establishing this remarkable aircraft in its rightful place in…
RT @AirNatlGuard: “For me personally, the CAP and Air Guard go hand in hand. When I look back at any state active duty or state support we…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Honored to participate on a panel with my fellow Service Chiefs at the @ReaganInstitute. May our leaders of today & th…
It was just a childhood dream but it crescendoed into this #Airman becoming the only woman in the #AirForce to both… https://t.co/vzGjPe7Vri