F-16 maintainers from various shops at Nellis AFB, Nev., worked together recently to overcome a problem that required replacement of the throttle cables on all the unit’s Block 52 Vipers. One of the Nellis fighters with the Air Force Weapons School suffered a throttle binding problem that forces the pilot to eject and caused the total loss of the aircraft. It was one of several similar incidents that forces Air Combat Command to ground that version of the F-16 until units could replace the throttle cable in each aircraft. Such a problem happens rarely, according to SMSgt. Charles Stuart, lead production superintendent for the 57th Wing’s Tomahawk Aircraft Maintenance Unit. “With 24 years of F-16 experience, I have only had the opportunity to perform five throttle cable changes.” Airmen of the Tomahawk and viper AMUs and the 57th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Phase Inspection Section formed seven cable change teams to tackle the wing’s 12 Vipers, replacing all but one of the cables within six days. The average time to change one throttle cable is two days, says Stuart.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.