HomeNewsArticle Display

86th MXG Airmen achieve perfection

86th MXG Airmen achieve perfection

Staff Sgt. Kyle Shea (front), 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief, and U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kyle Hodge, 86th AMXS assistant crew chief, pose for a photo inside the C-130J Super Hercules they maintain on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 18, 2018. Shea and Hodge worked together to achieve a ‘black letter’ aircraft. Black lettering means there are no maintenance issues in or on the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bass)

86th MXG Airmen achieve perfection

Airmen assigned to the 86th Maintenance Group salute as a C-130J Super Hercules taxis by them on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 18, 2018. Tail 5822 was flying its first sortie as a ‘black letter’ aircraft, meaning there were zero maintenance issues. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bass)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) -- Airmen assigned to the 86th Maintenance Group on Ramstein Air Base, launch C-130J Super Hercules aircraft every day.

But it’s been three years since they launched one like this.

The 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron’s responsibility is maintaining the 86th Airlift Wing’s fleet. The 86th Maintenance Squadron works to maintain all the support equipment and individual parts needed to maintain the fleet.

May 18, 2018, the maintainers launched a ‘Black Letter’ aircraft, a plane with zero maintenance issues from nose to tail, inside and out.

“To black letter an aircraft you have to sign off on every discrepancy on the aircraft,” said Staff Sgt. Kyle Shea, 86th AMXS dedicated crew chief.

Many aircraft have simple superficial issues which are noted on an inspection but still maintain operational status and are safe to fly. But on Shea’s Herc, every issue was resolved thanks to the hard work of both the 86th AMXS and the 86th MXS.

Shea hasn’t seen a black letter in his nine years of fixing Hercs.

“This is very important for the maintenance group and the airlift wing,” Shea said. “Our aircraft need to be in top-notch shape for the missions we support all around the world. But to get them there is a lot of hard work.”

To make this happen Shea and his assistant crew chief, Airman 1st Class Kyle Hodge, worked countless hours and spent many long days working on tail 5822, Hodge said.

“We had a lot of dedication and support from the 86th AMXS and 86th MXS to be able to get to where we are now,” he said.

Shea said that this wasn’t a quick fix. They have worked on tail 5822 since January to obtain all the needed parts and correct all the issues, no matter how small.

"The 86th AMXS and 86th MXS worked hard together to make this happen," said Tech. Sgt. Robert Paradis, 86th MXS isochronal inspection section chief. "The 86th AMXS knows they can count on us and we'll do whatever we can to get the mission accomplished."

Shea and Hodge are the first crew chiefs for their plane, which they nicknamed “The Yeager Express,” in honor of retired Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager.

For their efforts, Shea and Hodge flew with the aircraft on its initial black letter flight.


Facebook Twitter
Every #Airman has a story and their unique, diverse backgrounds only make our fighting force stronger. Read how thi… https://t.co/yy8SQcJkNo
.@USAFCENT #Airmen keep an eye in the sky, provide long-range radar surveillance at #AlUdeidAirBase.… https://t.co/EJXwQfc9Wl
#Airmen @28thBombWing are replacing outdated multi-purpose vehicles - nicknamed bread trucks - w/ five new transit… https://t.co/zx6Kd979jm
Any time, any place! An independent duty medical technician #Airman @Hurlburt_Field performs life-saving procedures… https://t.co/0a36WYRHux
The 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron @BagramAirfield keeps #Airmen connected downrange. https://t.co/5RBafip23c
RT @DeptofDefense: Training to be the best! A @USAirForce pilot trains in the 360-degree Operational Flight Training Simulator at @Sheppar
An #Airman assigned @TeamMinot crouches in rotor wash in the Turtle Mountain State Forest, during a field training… https://t.co/ERqU5OnEJ0
Threatening weather does not stop once hurricane season ends, and it becomes the mission of the #HurricaneHunters t… https://t.co/ad5VuNO6mP
Virtual, augmented reality may hold key to future #AirForce training. Find out how: https://t.co/FAcEaj4w6f https://t.co/7tdpioVtu9
#MentorMonday: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mu… https://t.co/PjGcBMVliB
Our partnerships and @NATO allies help keep our mission moving forward. https://t.co/5R4ZB7XqXs
$40M up for grabs! Find out how your small business can make some cash while helping solve some of the #USAF's toug… https://t.co/0AEmZhZGdI
RT @SecAFOfficial: Happy birthday 🎉 to #USAF Col & #space pioneer Buzz Aldrin @TheRealBuzz ✈️🚀 https://t.co/gIsicyA1uk
#Innovation! First metallic #3Dprinted part installed on an operational #F22 Raptor @HAFB. The new part will not co… https://t.co/rkKr1jtThg
Practice makes perfect! These #SpecOps medical experts maintain readiness & relevance for all operations, today and… https://t.co/WMpdt9LTGe
Remembering a woman who changed the world: Millicent Young, Women #AirForce Service Pilot in World War II, dies at… https://t.co/mri1QRXOC8
From fast food to future technology, one #Airman found a new calling @AirNatlGuard and decided to ditch the fryer f… https://t.co/I8qX7GpH4n
An #F35 sits on the flightline @LukeAFB, Jan. 10. Six different aircraft maintenance units from #TeamLuke competed… https://t.co/OxVMxf7Ayw
It takes a lot of coordination to clear a flightline of snow, but @TeamMisawa--a place that averaged more than 147… https://t.co/VQ4qjdsxFz
RT @SecAFOfficial: It is our responsibility to maintain a strong national defense @usairforce https://t.co/JXzhtqdMrg