Fueling future training

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sergio A. Gamboa
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Tyndall Air Force Base is home to the world's largest F-22 Raptor fleet, and the only base that trains their pilots; but without the aircraft's maintainers, this impressive force could never take off from the ramp.

To help ensure that the aircraft stays mission ready, Tyndall AFB has acquired a one-of-a-kind fuels system trainer (FST), making Tyndall the only base where Airmen can go to complete the fuels and On Board Inert Gas Generating System (OBIGGS) training.

"The system provides an overview of the Raptor's fuel system and the OBIGGS, which is used to pressurize the aircraft and provide fire suppression," said Tech. Sgt. James Harper, the 372nd Training Support Squadron Detachment 4 F-22 Raptor fuels system instructor. "It is valuable to Tyndall (AFB) and Airmen, especially for the newer ones who do not have any aircraft experience."

Airmen now have an opportunity to see how the system works on a life-size replica of the Raptor's fueling system during the course.
"This course is helpful because you get a more in-depth view of your job," said Senior Airman Ryan Pickard, a 325th Maintenance Squadron fuels system journeyman.

"This course gives you the knowledge of the components that otherwise you would have to dig into theory on your own for," Pickard said. "With this replica, new Airmen that are just now jumping on the jet will get a stress free environment to learn how to remove and install parts taking that to the flightline to make minimal mistakes."

According to Harper, with this course, Airmen will develop a better understanding of what is around them. Whether it is checking the fuel system, when engines are running or when pilots are preparing to take off.
"Airmen can better understand the problems if they are out responding to a 'red ball,' an immediate problem with the aircraft, when talking to a pilot," Harper said. "They will know they are not just getting a code telling them something is wrong. They will actually understand why it is wrong."

Since Tyndall AFB has the service's only F-22 FST, Airmen from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, come to train on the system.

"Overall, hopefully this course puts out a better working class of maintainers for aircraft fuels to benefit the flight line and pilot safety," Harper said.