Military News

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The Eagle has Landed: F-15 Eagle finds new home

by Airman 1st Class Dustin Mullen
325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

9/1/2015 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Air Force aircraft that can no longer be flown are usually sent to the boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. Those lucky enough to avoid this fate, may get the chance to become training tools or static displays to be enjoyed for many years to come.

Tyndall has been working hand-in-hand with Hanley Technical Center in Panama City, Florida, to move a retired F-15C Eagle from Tyndall to the school. The F-15 will be used for training students on aircraft repairs and maintenance.

According to the Haney website, their mission is to provide educational opportunities for all students and the training necessary to meet the needs and standards of today's changing global workplace. Haney is a Federal Aviation Administration certified school. Students with this certification can use it all over the world.

"This is really a win-win for both Haney and the Air Force." said Chief Master Sgt. Gregory Fenger, 325th Maintenance Group chief. "Haney gets a really high tech piece of machinery that they can use to train their students and Tyndall gets to free up valuable space to be utilized for other aircraft."

Although the aircraft now calls Haney home, the Air Force is still its owner.

"The jet is essentially on loan," Fenger said. "If Haney comes to a point where they no longer need the jet, then we will take it back and find a new place to put it."

Loaning the jet is not a process that is done often. Usually when the Air Force is done with an aircraft it is sent to the boneyard or it is de-militarized, meaning they would cut the wings and vertical stabilizers and remove all military components, said Fenger.

"It took a long time to figure out the process of giving the jet to a civilian school," Fenger said.

After simply getting the paperwork done, one of the most challenging parts of relocating the aircraft to the school is the move itself.

"The school is located about 15 miles from Tyndall," said Fenger. "Moving it created a lot of logistic complications."
The F-15 has a large wingspan that made transporting it through the city challenging.

Power lines had to be lifted, some signs needed to be taken down and traffic had to be diverted and halted in some areas of the city as the jet passed through.

In order to make the move easier, first crew members removed the wing tips and the tops of the vertical stabilizers. They also removed any sensitive and hazardous components including weapon systems, ejection seats and radar equipment.

"We had a bunch of our students come out to help ready the jet," said Dennis Harper, an instructor with the school.

Harper was also in the Air Force and an F-15 crew chief at Tyndall. In fact, he was a crew chief for this exact aircraft, and has now been reunited with it.

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