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Filtering fuel
Senior Airman Stephan Hooper, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron fuel system technician, tightens the bolts on an engine fuel strainer assembly Feb. 9 at the fuels system maintenance back shop. The F-16 Fighting Falcon’s fuel system incorporates many fuels strainers and filters to ensure clean fuel to the engine. (Photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Phillip Butterfield)
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Fuels, repairing aircraft arteries

Posted 2/12/2009   Updated 2/12/2009 Email story   Print story


by Phillip Butterfield
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/12/2009 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE--Ariz.  -- The F-16 Fighting Falcon is equipped with a ravenous engine that consumes approximately 1,000 gallons of fuel in a one-and-a-half hour flight. But, when a problem occurs and the engine is starved of fuel, there's only one team to call -- The 56th Component Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuel systems maintenance specialists. 

"Normally we come out to the flightline for a pilot-indicated problem," said Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Rosales, 56th CMS fuel systems technician. "If we can't fix it out there, then the jet will be brought to our shop." 

The fuels shop is divided into two sections, the tank farm and fuels system maintenance. 

Depending on the problem, a fuels technician may be required to troubleshoot a myriad of different parts and components. 

"We average 150 aircraft related repair jobs per month," said Senior Airman Shawn Pagan, 56th CMS fuel systems technician. "Some of the problems we come across are fuel imbalances, venting of fuel, hydrazine response and fuel leaks. These problems usually point to parts such as the wing. When there's a fuel manifold crack within the wing we need to change it out. Same goes for the Y manifold, fuel oil heat exchanger, fuel flow strainer, fuel flow proportioner and the H-70 emergency power unit bottles found in different parts of the aircraft." 

With all of the parts which may require changing in a hazardous environment, fuels manages to stay ahead of the curve. 

"We saved the wing $875,394 last year through our ability to rapidly repair aircraft," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Franz, 56th CMS fuel systems production superintendent. "Overall, we have a steep learning curve, but with our good supervision and maintainers we always seem to stay on our game."

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