Senior Airman Taylor Hunter published an in-depth look into the 4th CMS avionics backshop, where technicians troubleshoot and repair flight instruments in F-15 aircraft. Pictured above, Senior Airman Jonathan Capayas, 4th CMS avionics technician, uses an electronic systems test set (ESTS) to analyze potential issues with equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Taylor Hunter)
At Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina, a 68-person team from the 4th Component Maintenance Squadron avionics backshop is responsible for repairing critical flight instruments in the F-15 flight deck. The team maintains all of the avionics on the 94 F-15E Strike Eagles at the Air Force base, including control panels, radar, and GPS systems.
Senior Airman Taylor Hunter published an in-depth look into the work that takes place in the 4th CMS avionics backshop this week. The team uses a range of testing equipment to troubleshoot and repair the different flight instruments. There is a unique procedure for repairing each piece of flight hardware.
Tech. Sgt. Allen Bonds explained that their work area includes a large test station to mimic instrument performance on the F-15 aircraft. The test station has tighter parameters to ensure that “if it passes here, it will pass on the aircraft,” Bonds said.
Attention to detail is critical for testing avionics instruments, because even small parts can cause big problems down the road.
The team uses a supercomputer—the F-15 electronic system test set (ESTS)—to perform multiple tests at the same time. The ESTS diagnoses faulty equipment and detects a specific area that needs to be repaired before the instrument can be returned to service.
“It’s incredibly complex, especially when software keeps failing and you have to go through a bunch of diagrams,” Senior Airman Jonathan Capayas explained regarding the process of testing for faults in the equipment. “If we’re not here, there is no way to verify the software.”
The avionics team at the 4th CMS makes more efficient and cost-effective repairs to flight instruments. Without these experts, the parts would have to be sent to off-site vendors for evaluation and repair.
Last month, House and Senate appropriators provided more than $194 million for upgrades to Boeing F-15 aircraft in their committee-approved versions of the fiscal 2023 defense appropriations bill.