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
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
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.