Well maintained: A look into 4CMS avionics backshop

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Taylor Hunter
  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Everyday 68 Airmen from the 4th Component Maintenance Squadron avionics backshop team perform repairs on 23 different avionics instruments of all shapes and sizes at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

Stowed away from the F-15E Strike Eagle hangars, the team evaluates, troubleshoots and repairs critical flight instruments found in the F-15 flight deck in order to keep Seymour Johnson AFB’s 94 F-15 Eagles ready to produce and project agile combat airpower for America.

“We fix all the avionics on the F-15,” said Tech. Sgt. Allen Bonds, 4th CMS avionics intermediate section chief. “[Control] panels, GPS systems, radars, head-up displays, anything that you can think of that’s in the cockpit area falls under avionics.”

To accomplish their mission, the avionics team employs a diverse collection of testing equipment. Every piece of flight hardware has its own repair procedure to ensure the part is restored back to working condition.

“We have a big test station in our work area [which] mimics what [instruments do] on the aircraft, but with tighter parameters,” said Bonds. “So when we test [an instrument] on our test station, we’re basically saying if it passes here, it will pass on the aircraft.“

The F-15 electronic system test set (ESTS) is a supercomputer that runs multiple tests simultaneously to diagnose faulty equipment. If equipment fails, the computer can pinpoint the specific area to fix so maintainers can repair the instrument and return it to service.

Senior Airman Jonathan Capayas, 4th CMS avionics technician, is a trained technician on the ESTS and executes a series of steps in preparation for instrument testing.

“My job is to test software and hardware to determine any faults in the equipment,” said Capayas. “It can be intimidating at first. It’s incredibly complex, especially when software keeps failing and you have to go through a bunch of diagrams and try to wrap your head around [the problem]. If we’re not here, there is no way to verify the software.”

Capayas said attention to detail is critical when testing avionics instruments as even the smallest of parts can lead to bigger problems.

When a part needs to be replaced, it is pulled from the aircraft and replaced with one from available instrument inventory here. If the defective part is from the cockpit, it is transported to the avionics team for evaluation and repair.

While repairs can vary in turnaround time, evaluations, tests and repairs conducted by the avionics team allows a faster, more cost-efficient way to return flight instruments to satisfactory, working conditions. If the avionics team wasn't here the parts would be referred to various vendors around the country.

Bonds said having a local supply source, along with trained Airmen to repair instrumentation, saves time, money and allows the aircraft to return to the skies to complete the wing’s mission.

“The Avionics Intermediate Shop plays a vital role in ensuring Team Seymour’s F-15E fleet is combat ready when called upon,” said Master Sgt. Carlos Villegas, 4th CMS avionics flight chief. “I am extremely proud of our maintenance professionals and their unwavering support and dedication to the mission.”