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F-16 receives special care at Hill

Staff Sgt. Albert Zaletel, a depot aircraft structural maintenance craftsman, prepares the closure beam for fuel spool manifold installation.  (Air Force photo by G.A. Volb)

Staff Sgt. Albert Zaletel, a depot aircraft structural maintenance craftsman, prepares the closure beam for fuel spool manifold installation. (Air Force photo by G.A. Volb)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (AFMCNS) -- Specialists at the Ogden Air Logistics Center, 649th Combat Logistics Support Squadron, used their unique equipment and skills to repair a damaged F-16.



The squadron's role was pivotal since they were the only active-duty maintenance unit capable of making such repairs, said 1st Lt. Joshua Holmes, the squadron's maintenance flight officer in charge. "The aircraft had to be placed in a production fixture to prevent any shifting of the fuselage from critical load bearing panels being removed," he said. "We're the only facility that has that capability."



A production fixture is a support stand cemented into the ground that attaches to key places on the aircraft.



But that isn't the only reason customers find themselves looking to the CLSS for help. "We're also the only Air Force maintenance unit with the tooling and equipment necessary to perform repairs on aircraft that would otherwise be removed from the active inventory," said Lieutenant Holmes.



"There was an inch-long crack around one of the wing's attach-bolt holes," he said. So, they had to replace the left wing closure beam, which is where the wing attaches to the aircraft fuselage, said the lieutenant.



They not only saved the jet's host wing several thousand dollars in repair costs, but completed the work two weeks ahead of schedule, said Master Sgt. Eric Harkness, production dock chief. Typically, such work takes 45-60 days, but this F-16 was completed in just a month.