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Officials break ground for F/A-22 maintenance training center

by John Ingle
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

2/28/2005 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFPN)  -- Sheppard is set to become the premier training center for F/A-22 Raptor maintenance professionals, officials said Feb. 18 during the ground breaking ceremony here for a $19.7-million training facility.

Students new to aircraft maintenance will become maintainers of the Air Force's newest fighter in 2008.

Sheppard officials said they will begin training F/A-22 maintainers in the 119,000-square-foot building in January 2008.

Chief Master Sgt. Ron Wilson, 82nd Training Group superintendent, said four primary Air Force specialties will train at the facility, including crew chiefs, armament, avionics and propulsion technicians.

"This will be the initial skills training center for the F/A-22 Raptor," he said.

The chief said about 149 Airmen will go through training in fiscal 2008 with student loads increasing as more aircraft become operational.

Pam Valdez, the contracted F/A-22 training system manager, said training devices will provide training for fuels systems, armament, flight controls, avionics, seat and canopy, structures, landing gear, hydraulics and power plant systems. The schoolhouse will also have an area for fiber optics and connector repair, she said.

"The showcase of the curriculum will be the (Air Education and Training Command) developed courseware," Ms. Valdez said. The courseware will be installed in 14 computer-based classrooms to train students on 31,000 maintenance tasks, she said.

The contractor will also provide 96 portable training aids for students to use, she said.

Col. Douglas Railey, from the F/A-22 Support Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, said the groundbreaking laid the foundation for the future of F/A-22 Raptor maintenance training for the Air Force.

With the delivery of Raptors to Tyndall AFB, Fla.; Nellis AFB, Nev.; Edwards AFB, Calif., and Langley AFB, Va., the colonel said the new fighter needs a new, efficient and effective way to create maintainers. The training facility is the answer, he said.

"The maintainers will be just as technical and sophisticated as the aircraft they will maintain," he said. (Courtesy of AETC News Service)

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