DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — A fleet of hail-damaged T-1A Jayhawk trainers are now back in the air thanks to a unique repair and maintenance mission performed by the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
The group took on repair for 10 of the aircraft after 39 of them sustained severe hail damage when a storm swept through Laughlin AFB, Texas, one of several bases where the Jayhawk serves as the Air Force’s advanced trainer for airlift and tanker pilots. The final T-1A to complete repairs returned to Laughlin AFB Dec. 17.
Derived from the Hawker/Beechcraft 400A corporate aircraft, the T-1A is essentially a civil aircraft modified to fit military training needs. As such, repair facilities approved to work on the aircraft require Federal Aviation Authority certifications beyond the usual.
According to Shawn Clay, the product support manager at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center T-1 System Program Office, they had 39 damaged trainers and only one commercial repair facility. Air Force Materiel Command suggested shifting some of the hail damage repair workload to the 309th AMARG.
“The benefit from a business perspective was we would have two repair facilities getting the work done quicker,” said Clay.
There were additional benefits to diverting 10 T-1 aircraft to 309th AMARG for hail damage repair.
“Having AMARG really opened the door for us to interact, to get into the process, work through the issues, and visit the facility to give us a different angle,” Clay said. “We could spend time with AMARG managers as well as the mechanics. Certainly we began with a bigger level of trust, we knew AMARG could do the work and this boosted us from the get-go.”
The T-1A had never had any major repair work performed by Air Force personnel. Herman Brandon, AFLCMC’s program manager materiel leader, was the first member from the T-1 SPO team to visit 309th AMARG.
“Starting up something new is scary because of its uniqueness and being outside the norm,” Brandon said. “But after hearing what the team had to offer and seeing firsthand what they do on a variety of platforms, I knew this was a well-rounded organization that could handle the challenge of restoring the T-1s.”
Using Art of the Possible methodology, 309th AMARG established a production line several months in advance of the first aircraft arrivals. According to Brandon, “the team had existing mechanics who were sent to T-1 training, had procured the tooling and equipment needed and were ready to go.”
Employees, hand-selected based on their experience levels in aircraft airframe, power-plant, electrics, avionics, and structural repair, received six weeks of T-1A familiarization training at Laughlin AFB.
“At its peak, the T-1A repair and maintenance production line employed a total of 36 sheet metal, APG and avionics technicians,” said John Meske, the 576th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Squadron’s Medium Aircraft flight chief.
Read the full story at www.hill.af.mil.