49th Avionics CMS ensures aircraft equipment is mission ready

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  • By Airman 1st Class Michelle Ferrari

Avionics maintainers with the 49th Component Maintenance Squadron manage electronic equipment and provide critical support to ensure aircraft stay mission ready.

The avionics team focuses on providing maintenance support for F-16 Vipers, repairing integral radar components and a variety of communication and navigational units.

“Our avionics shop has the highest workload of any active duty avionics back shop,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Logan Norris, a 49th CMS F-16 Viper avionics apprentice. “We produce the most serviceable parts.”

Air Force aircraft are equipped with critical electrical components that require rigorous maintenance. Ensuring these parts are thoroughly inspected is part of avionics specialists' responsibility that these systems remain perfectly calibrated.

Professionals inspect and maintain everything from aircraft radar and weapons control to the testing equipment essential to the maintenance process, so when aircraft are deployed, every system is in perfect working order.

“We won the 2022 maintenance group small team of the year award,” said Norris. “We screened 659 parts last year and returned 78% of those parts to serviceability. Our high to return serviceability rates can ensure that there are more jets functioning at a time so we can send out more pilots.”

In February, the squadron moved locations to a larger upgraded facility, further increasing their capabilities.

“This move represents an opportunity for avionics to be able to better execute its mission and meet repair requirements, adding additional capabilities to MXG repair options,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Dustin Zeillemaker, 49th CMS F-16 Viper avionics section chief. “The test stations we use have technical order requirements to be thermally stable similar to the Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory.”

The advantages of moving to the newer facility is that it's closer to maingate and mainbase, thus, being closer to the other maintainers. Parts arrive quicker and are turned around faster.

“Our old building had fairly frequent issues pertaining to climate control and would cause work stoppages requiring a stability period and recalibration,” said Zeillemaker. “By being in the newer shop, 8-10 hours of calibration time is saved each month.”