Maintainers assemble new engine trainer for first time

  • Published
  • 388th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Maintainers with the 388th Fighter Wing’s Logistics Support Squadron recently completed a project that will save training time and lost flying hours by creating a complete engine trainer here.

The trainer combines an old, unusable F-135 engine from Pratt and Whitney with a damaged aircraft already used for crash damage recovery courses, to create an environment for more realistic training in all aspects of engine work, said Master Sgt. Ryan Lerwick, instructor supervisor with the 372nd Training Squadron.

The F-135 engine, the largest engine ever put in a fighter aircraft, has 40,000 pounds of thrust. The F-35’s single engine was designed in five separate modules that make up the propulsion system. There are several levels of training required to ensure maintainers can properly remove, inspect, install and mount the engine as well as perform pre-fight inspections on the intakes.

To do this, the training section usually needs to borrow aircraft and engines from the flightline maintainers, which takes valuable time away from maintenance and operations in the three fighter generation squadrons.

“We crunched the numbers and think this trainer will account for 750 hours regained from FGS [fighter generation squadron] flightline operations that they would ‘owe’ us for training time,” said Staff Sgt. Justin Pendleton, 388th Logistics Support Squadron Maintenance Training Section instructor element chief.

With the new trainer in place, the maintenance group can more efficiently ensure that maintainers get the training they need while making more aircraft available for the fighter wing.