USAF F-15 rewire flight to save money, manhours

1/19/2010 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFNS) – A new rewire flight at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is playing a key role in keeping the aging F-15 Eagle flying for years to come.

The flight will perform a complete rewire on 122 F-15s during the next five years. The rewiring will be done on C and D models, and when complete, the flight will spend at least another five years working on E models.

The reason for the rewire is that the insulation on the existing wire is getting brittle and causing shorts, said Keith Gilstrap, the rewire flight chief. Although it has not caused any crashes, it has led to a significant amount of field repair time and false troubleshooting, as technicians try to figure out why aircraft systems fail intermittently, he said.

Work on the first plane began Nov. 13, 2009, and, when fully ramped up, they will be working on seven planes at a time.

All of the planes are coming to Robins AFB for programmed depot maintenance, with the rewire being done in conjunction with that. Robins AFB mechanics did an F-15 rewire in the early 1990s, but at that time it was done in the same hangar as the PDM.

A total of 120 people will be working in the flight when it reaches full capacity, including 47 newly hired electricians. The rest of the crew is being shifted from PDM work.

The planes come to the hangar basically stripped down to the fuselage, with the wings, engines and avionics removed. After the rewire is complete, the wires are all connected to a large, custom-built machine called a wire integrity tester. The tester has a wire that attaches to each connection on the plane, and it virtually assures that the job has been done correctly before the plane is reassembled. Tthe first plane is scheduled to go on the tester Jan. 21.

Source: USAF
Picture: Rob Vogelaar, ZAP16 Group