56 CMS Airmen provide 'thrust you can trust'

Airman 1st Class Jacqueline Ruiz-Santos, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion specialist, tightens coke bottle mounts on a jet engine prior to an engine transfer in the jet engine intermediate maintenance shop January 12. In JEIM the engine comes in from the line to be fixed. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Phillip Butterfield)

Airman 1st Class Jacqueline Ruiz-Santos, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion specialist, tightens coke bottle mounts on a jet engine prior to an engine transfer in the jet engine intermediate maintenance shop January 12. In JEIM the engine comes in from the line to be fixed. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Phillip Butterfield)

Senior Airman Bradley McClellan, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion specialist, removes a bell crank arm assembly from a convergent nozzle segment January 12 in the accessory repair shop. The accessory repair shop’s also know as MODS repairs the individual engine modules and returns them to service. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Phillip Butterfield)

Senior Airman Bradley McClellan, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion specialist, removes a bell crank arm assembly from a convergent nozzle segment January 12 in the accessory repair shop. The accessory repair shop’s also know as MODS repairs the individual engine modules and returns them to service. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Phillip Butterfield)

Staff Sgt. Esmael Adel, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion specialist, checks for leaks during an engine run Jan 14 at test cell. The test cell section of the propulsion flight runs engines to ensure there performance.   (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Phillip Butterfield)

Staff Sgt. Esmael Adel, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion specialist, checks for leaks during an engine run Jan 14 at test cell. The test cell section of the propulsion flight runs engines to ensure there performance. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Phillip Butterfield)

Senior Airman James Wright, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion specialist, tightens bolts on an engine support hardback trailer January 12 in the non-powered aerospace ground equipment shop. The hardback trailer is used to transport the engine from place to place while not installed in the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Phillip Butterfield)

Senior Airman James Wright, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion specialist, tightens bolts on an engine support hardback trailer January 12 in the non-powered aerospace ground equipment shop. The hardback trailer is used to transport the engine from place to place while not installed in the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Phillip Butterfield)

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The 56th Component Maintenance Squadron is comprised of several different maintenance back shops that must work in harmony to accomplish the wings mission.
The propulsion flight also known as "props," has four secondary shops: non-powered aero space ground equipment, jet engine intermediate maintenance, accessory repair and test cell. 

Non-powered AGE ensures all engine handling and support equipment is maintained and ready for use to deliver engines to the JEIM shop from the flightline and move engine components from area to area. 

"We service the trailers that the engines are towed on," said Senior Airman James Wright, 56th CMS jet engine propulsion specialist. "We also maintain and inspect helo supports, hard rails, S-hooks, slings and a myriad of other engine support equipment." 

After the engine has been pulled from the aircraft it is delivered to JEIM for troubleshooting and repair. 

"When we receive an engine we disassemble it and repair what we can," said Senior Airman Nicholas Difilippo, 56th CMS jet engine propulsion specialist. "If we can't repair the problem then we send the problem section to the accessories repair flight where they fix it." 

The accessories repair flight works on fans, low pressure turbines, cores and augmenters. If this shop can't fix the problem section then it will send it to engine depot repair at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. 

"I never thought I would be able to work on multi-million dollar pieces of equipment," said Senior Airman Bryan Perez, 56th CMS jet engine propulsion specialist. "Now we're converting augmenters from a 3,000 cycle to a 4,000 cycle return rate. Augmenter time is counted in cycles and with this modification the engine will be able to stay in the jet longer." 

Accessory repair, also known as "mods," determines whether or not the engine section needs to go to depot for more intensive repairs, Airman Perez added. 

After the mods section makes any necessary repairs, the section is delivered back to JEIM where the engine is reassembled and sent to test cell to be run through its paces. 

"When JEIM informs us that there is an engine ready to be run we bring it down here," said Senior Airman Steven Baudo, 56th CMS jet engine propulsion journeyman. "We run engines to ensure that they aren't leaking air, fuel or oil before being installed in jets." 

When the engine passes acceptance at test cell it is delivered back to JEIM and quality assurance for a final look over before being returned to the line, Airman Baudo said. 

All in all the men and women of the props shop have revamped and streamlined operations to become the most efficient it has been in eight years and has the numbers to prove it. 

"We don't save money for the wing; we avoid incurring maintenance costs for the wing," said Paul Shows, 56th CMS propulsion flight general foremen. "In 2000 we rebuilt 215 motors; in 2007, 120; and 2008, 110. These lower numbers are a direct result of module matching and building the engines smarter and doing preventative maintenance. In the past we would bring our 198 engines in four times a year at a cost of $8,700 per engine. With module matching and preventative maintenance we only bring the engines in one a year avoiding maintenance costs in the order of $5,167,800." 

With cost avoidance of this magnitude, the props shop sets itself up as a tough act to follow. 

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of four articles featuring maintenance back shops.