Technical Wizards

The Warner Robins Air Logistics Center technicians working on the best way to remove and replace longerons in grounded F-15s have succeeded, even though removing a 12-foot long aluminum beam integral to the F-15’s structure is not supposed to be done. David McNeal, flight director in the F-15 Wing Repair Flight at the Robins AFB, Ga.-based depot, said: “It’s a credit to their professionalism and the workmanship they were able to accomplish this. This was the first time this removal and replacement has been done on this aircraft.” The Air Force had to ground a number of F-15s with cracked longerons discovered after a near-fatal mid-air breakup of one of the fighters in November 2007. The depot assembled a team of varying specialties this past summer that traveled to the Boeing plant in St. Louis where they spent the first three weeks mapping out the process, including using optical equipment to record precisely how the longeron fit along the frame of the cockpit. The team brought with them a new longeron crafted at the Warner Robins depot from original blueprints, but had to return to Georgia to make adjustments based on actual measurements before returning to St. Louis and completing the task. (Robins report by Wayne Crenshaw)