49th CMS aerospace propulsion shop maintains combat efficiency

  • Published
  • By By Airman 1st Class Isaiah Pedrazzini
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
The 49th Component Maintenance Squadron’s aerospace propulsion shop Airmen are the go-to experts to ensure F-16 Viper engines are in operational condition in order to keep Holloman’s pilots soaring through the sky.

The 49th CMS aerospace propulsion shop has the primary responsibility of maintaining and testing Pratt and Whitney F100 engines that are utilized in the F-16 training squadrons located on base.

“We work closely with the 849th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron along with both the 311th and 314th Aircraft Maintenance Units,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Toth, 49th CMS propulsion flight chief. “Because of our working relationship with those units, we also have members from our shop working side-by-side with them to track all of the maintenance happening on the F-16 engines and help to coordinate replacements when the time comes.”

With the decrease in production of F-16 engine modules over the years, the propulsion shop has specialized in coordinating unique solutions in order to ensure their mission continues without hindrance such as the use of salvageable engine parts from other retired F-16s.

“In order to receive the parts we needed for our engines, we began working with other major commands to exchange and receive the parts we needed,” said Toth. “After we receive the needed components, we ship them to Mountain Home Air Force Base or Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, in which they ship us back the parts that can still be put to good use.”

Along with their task of maintaining their mission, the aerospace propulsion shop additionally received an abundance of new Airmen to assist in their operations.

“We've had a huge influx of inbounds which has increased our shop by about 60%,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Troy Schuler, 49th CMS modular repair section chief. “However, a few of the newer Airmen originally worked on different airframes so we’ve made it a priority to ensure they are capable of working on the engines we have here.”

To assist in this effort, Luke Air Force Base provided the propulsion shop with additional engines, giving them the opportunity to properly teach their new Airmen and situate them in their new environment.
“As far as innovation goes, the larger number of spares has ensured that the Airmen could slow down and properly learn how to build their engines without being pressured,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Steven Smart, 49th CMS system propulsion flight chief. “When the situation arises that you don't have any spares and you owe the flightline an engine, it puts a lot of pressure on these guys.”

From ensuring that their Airmen are properly trained to providing Holloman with peak-performing engines, the 49th CMS aerospace propulsion fuels shop will continue to keep Holloman’s F-16 Vipers in the sky and guarantee the mission's success.

“While the mission here is developing F-16 pilots, if you don't have an engine, pilots can only train using simulated flights on the ground, so it's extremely important that we're building quality and reliable engines,” said Toth. “Some of the pilots we have are new, and they're not experienced on this aircraft, so we try to go the extra mile to ensure they won't experience any engine-related issues on our watch.”