An Update from the 33rd Fighter Wing on F-35 Maintenance


2014-11-11 In this video, members of the 33rd Fighter Wing address the F-35 maintenance approach being implemented at Eglin AFB.

33rd Maintenance Group operates at the 33rd Fighter Wing. 

The mission of the 33rd Maintenance Group is to deliver safe, reliable and on-time aircraft to support F-35 pilot and maintainer training. The group has oversight of all aircraft maintenance, sortie generation, weapons loading operations and logistics integration for the 33rd FW.

The group consists of two squadrons; the 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 33rd Maintenance Squadron.

The 33rd AMXS “Dragons” provide safe and reliable on-equipment maintenance for 58th Fighter Squadron flying operations with crew chiefs, weapons, and specialist support.

The 33rd MXS “Wizards” provide both on- and off-equipment maintenance and oversight supporting F-35 flying operations for the assigned Air Force, Navy, and Marine flying squadrons. Support is provided by the following flights to ensure continued aircraft availability: accessories (egress, fuels); aerospace ground equipment ; armament; fabrication (low observable, non-destructive inspection, metals tech), and maintenance (wheel and tire).

In a visit to Eglin  last year, we discussed the approach with several members of the team.

In a visit to Eglin AFB in mid-June, we had a chance to talk with Senior Master Sargent Eric Wheeler, the Aircraft Maintenance Unit (AMU) lead production maintainer.

Throughout he emphasized the maintenance of the jet is a work in progress.  As the software evolved for the combat systems, the software for maintaining the aircraft was evolving as well.  The IOC aircraft will represent a core point for stabilizing the intersection of the two software streams to shape an operational squadron and its deployment capabilities.

The crew chief underscored that working with a maturing system is a challenge but also exciting for his team as well. 

“The computerized fault resolution system is not yet mature but that is an advantage. 

We have to learn ourselves hands on to troubleshoot the systems and it allows us to give feedback to the engineers as well about the systems.”