Aim High? Or Putter Out?

Anyone who’s been in the military, working as a maintainer, knows how old the aircraft/equipment is.

We also know that the older they are; the more they break, the more time it takes to fix it, the more maintainers you need.

It’s an endless cycle but nothing new.

On May 8th, USA Today had a story on our wearing Aircraft in the good ole Air Force. As a prior Jet engine mechanic, I can say I have firsthand experience with our aging Fleet. I worked on TF-39’s, the C-5 Galaxy Engine.

This story features A-10’s or Tank Buster’s.

Compared to 1996, the Air Force now spends 87% more on maintenance for a warplane fleet that is less ready to fly, Air Force records show.

And the maintainers feel it! Believe me!

Gen. Ronald Key’s comments:

“I don’t want to write a letter, or have my successor write a letter, ‘Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith, your son or daughter are dead because the wing fell off on takeoff. We knew it was going to fall off, we just didn’t know when.’ That’s kind of what we’re getting down to,” Keys said.

What he’s saying is, ‘Give us more money for Aircraft and better Parts!’

The average age of a U.S. Warplane is 23.5 years old. In Aircraft term..that’s old. Think in dog years.

Then there’s this guy :

Aircraft age is misleading, said Christopher Bolkcom, a national security analyst at the Congressional Research Service. Some aircraft may have been lightly used for years and have safe flying hours left. Maintaining old planes may be expensive but often cheaper than buying a new aircraft, he said.

“Chronological age is only one measure of aircraft health,” Bolkcom said. “Age is not a safety issue.”

Lightly used for years??? Where the hell has this guy been???  Three well known wars, who knows how many “incidents” not to mention Humanitarian Missions.

The keyword with this guy is “Analyst”. That means he’s looking at numbers and not at aircraft. He’s not talking to the people working and trying to fix these planes everyday.  

What it all comes down to is cost…at-least Politically.  Right now the military has been downsizing, specifically the AF. That means less people to do the job. When you have ACFT breaking constantly and only two guys to do the job instead of four, you’ve got a problem. It’s a lot more then money. You got guys working 12 hour shifts 6 days a week. Mistakes can be made and mistakes cost a lot of money. When you downsize manpower and expect everyone to be on their toes with less people and more to do…it’s a recipe for disaster.


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