By Capt. Martin Butzlaff and Tech. Sgt. Matthias Brink, German air force
/ Published September 21, 2006
HOLLOMAN AFB, N.M. --
With a total manpower of almost 200 servicemembers and locally hired employees, the 2nd Line Maintenance Squadron ranks largest among the Logistics Group's squadrons. According to the German Air Force maintenance support concept it is the responsibility of our squadron to perform first and second and in some special cases also third and fourth-echelon maintenance work on both aircraft mechanical and electrical systems.
The squadron is directed by a commanding officer of major in rank, who is assisted by an internal administration element headed by the first sergeant.
Technical operations are supervised by a group of engineering officers that are overseen by a captain.
A supply element provides for any subunit's equipment and materiel needs, and for identification purposes marks all items issued with the receiving subunit's unique sign.
In regards to the work performed on the aircraft, a rough distinction may be made between "scheduled maintenance" and "corrective maintenance," both of which are fundamental to the ability to provide operational aircraft in numbers sufficient to meet training flight requirements.
To that end the 2nd Line Maintenance Squadron is organized into ten separate subunits, each of which is staffed with servicemembers who have been trained to become specialists in their particular fields.
The Periodical Inspection shop has primary responsibility for the conduct and coordination of the post-flight inspections that come up every 300 flight hours. For the purpose of overhauling our TORNADO aircraft, four bays with one work crew and a bay chief each are available in building 294.
The Mechanic shop is responsible for the repair of any mechanical faults with the flight control system, the fuel system and the entire airframe of the weapon system. Attached to the troubleshooting element, the Fuel System Shop provides for the maintenance and repair of the buddy-buddy pod, the aerial refueling boom and the external fuel tanks.
The Engine shop is responsible for the maintenance and the change of the TORNADO's RB 199 MK 103 type jet engines. Following removal from the aircraft, the engines are subjected to functional tests and leakage checks in the subunit's own hush house.
The Hydraulic shop provides for the troubleshooting, servicing and maintenance of the nitrogen and hydraulic system, including the landing gear, spoilers, rudders and tailerons.
The Sheet Metal shop not only fixes cracks in the aircraft's skin plating and the airframe but also crafts completely new sheet metal parts modeled on the defective salvage items. In effect, it is responsible for the repair of any component, the corrective maintenance of which requires metalworking. Organic to the Structural Repair subunit, the Plastics and Paint Shops take care of any corrective maintenance work on the aircraft's plastic parts and all paint jobs respectively.
The Electric shop services and maintains the entire electrical system of the TORNADO. Hence it is among other things the function of this specialist element to troubleshoot electrical component assemblies and components and to replace wiring harnesses. Also, it is the responsibility of its mechanics to charge the aircraft batteries in the subunit's battery shop.
The Environmental/Oxygen shop is responsible for the servicing and maintenance of the aircraft's oxygen and environmental control systems. The latter are designed to provide for the supply of oxygen and for the proper temperature and pressure to the crew, cockpit and avionics instruments. The Environmental Control subunit refills, for instance, empty converters with liquid oxygen, flushes the oxygen system.
The Life Support shop provides for the servicing and maintenance of the individual protection equipment intended to preserve and save the life and health of the aircrew during flight and in case of emergency. The subunit takes care of the issuance of all special flight gear and the supply of life rafts and emergency radio sets.
The Secondary Power System shop is responsible for the incorporation of technical modifications as well as the maintenance and troubleshooting of the auxiliary power unit and associated gearbox. The APU allows the start up of the TORNADO's systems in the absence of ground support equipment and supplies or transfers drive power to major assemblies of the aircraft, for instance the two jet engines.
The Ejection Seat shop staff has a highly responsible task to fulfill in the event of emergency, as the proper operation of the escape system will be crucial for the survival of the aircrew.In a predetermined chain of events a number of explosive charges is fired to first jettison the canopy and then launch the ejection seat from the aircraft.
The Aircraft Ground Equipment shop provides for the inspection, maintenance and repair, if necessary, of any ground support equipment used by the Logistics Group, be it ladders, hand platform trucks, or hydraulic test stands. The subunit also carries out all safety inspections required under accident prevention regulations.