Fueling future training

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sergio A. Gamboa
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Tyndall 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 the ramp.

Now that Tyndall has acquired a one-of-a-kind fuels system trainer (FST), it is also now the only base where Airmen go to complete the fuels and onboard inert gas generating system training course for the Raptor.

The FST allows maintainers to train on the Raptor's fueling system in a unique way.

"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, 372nd Training Support Squadron Detachment 4 F-22 Raptor fuels system instructor. "It is valuable to Tyndall and Airmen, especially for the newer ones who do not have any aircraft experience."

The system is used to train new students, as well as Airmen who have experience with the aircraft.

"This course is helpful because you get a more in-depth view of your job," said Ryan Pickard, 325th Maintenance Squadron fuels system journeyman. "You actually get to see how the components work instead of just changing it for a flight reporting code."

While out doing their mission, Airmen can better understand what is around them with this course, whether it is while checking the fuel system, when engines are running or when pilots are preparing to take off, Harper said.

"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," said Harper. "They will know they are not just getting a code telling them something is wrong. They will actually understand why it is wrong."

Airmen now get the opportunity to see how the system works on a life-size replica of the Raptor's fueling system during the course.

"This course gives you the knowledge of the components that otherwise you would have to dig into theory on your own for," said Pickard. "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."

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

This course is in high demand and Harper has already booked the course until June.

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