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Well he was only on legacy aircraft for barely two years so he didn’t know a fucking thing he was doing on it, and he’s whatever the Marines’ version of a crew chief is, and crew chiefs don’t do shit on the F-35.
There’s three maintenance departments on the F-35 – APG, avionics, and ‘miscellaneous’. Well four if you count weapons, but I don’t.
The miscellaneous shops are people like fuels, LO and egress, the shops that only focus on a very tiny aspect of the jet, and barely do anything outside it.
APG does servicing, they work on the ‘dirty’ systems (engine, oil, IPP, hydro), and do things like change tires and shit.
Avionics does almost everything computerized, electrical, and environmental (PAO and ECS, and some IPP stuff).
Here’s the thing: engines don’t really break. The IPP is basically an engine, it doesn’t really break. Hydraulic systems don’t really break. Crew chiefs ‘maintain’ very little on this jet. Even legacy jobs like rigging flight controls, they don’t do anymore – avionics does.
The F-35 – like the F-22 and even some 4.5 gen aircraft like the F-15E – is very computer-heavy. The F-35 is more computer-heavy than the F-22. Computers = electronics, electronics = environmental. Avionics on legacy aircraft probably worked about 80% of all the maintenance writeups. Avionics on the F-35 work probably over 95% of writeups. Even jobs that are APG or fuels typically involve avionics in some capacity.
The relationship between specialists (avionics + environmental + electrical) and APG (servicing + engine + IPP + ‘dirty’ things like hydro and oil) hasn’t changed much since legacy, and the bottom line is that APG almost never knows anything about the aircraft. APG is barely even given security clearances to work on the damn thing, frankly.
Let me put it this way: APG has it so easy on the F-35 that almost every single Friday night on swing shift, over half of the APG section was cut out early. Week after week after week. The two shops who stayed late was avionics with their full crew, and the LO shop, mostly because their manning is garbage and their job is painstakingly slow and impossible to rush. If you know anything about fighter aircraft maintenance that should tell you a lot.
Frankly this kid doesn’t even sound like he knows what the fuck he’s talking about.
>In many cases, the aircraft seems as though it was designed with end-user practicality in mind, as opposed to the Hornet’s “need to replace a hydraulic pump? Great, remove all other things first” and the Harrier’s “engine replacement? That’s two wings coming off, baby!” Gone are the days of awful hi-torque fasteners that strip themselves out every time you look at them wrong. Behold, hex tips!
Wow, sounds so great, right? There’s a part on the jet called the multifunction advanced datalink (MADL) antenna interface unit (AIU). The AIU itself is a tiny box barely the size of a PC power supply with all of three connectors on it. It takes about six minutes to change, and that includes applying the sealant. But in order to get access to the MADL AIU, you need to remove *the biggest, heaviest, most pain in the ass single part on the jet* – the horizontal stab electro-hydrostatic actuators (EHA). It takes hours to get access to the thing and to change it out.
In fact, half of the work is just getting to the thing. See, Lockheed doesn’t use rivets on their nutplates anymore – they use fucking ***glue***. So any sort of overtorque on a screw, or just sheer shitty luck, means that nutplates are popping off left and right every time you want to install or remove a panel, and the EHA is under the second biggest most pain in the ass panel on the jet. And the screws? They *aren’t* hex heads like he says. They’re [Torx](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torx). They’re WORSE THAN HIGH-TORQUES. The Torx bits are constantly twisting and breaking, the teeth on them wear out after just a few uses, and the screws themselves round out super-easily. Not to mention every single screw has an LO plug in it that you have to painstakingly remove. And hey, once you get all the screws out, you’re not done – the panel doesn’t come off the fucking jet. All the panels are sealed with gaskets and the curvature of them (as well as load-bearing design) means you have to pry and pull at them for nearly an hour to get them to pop free. IF you get them to pop free.
So yeah, that’s “maintenance friendly” for that guy. Yes, some things are much easier on the F-35, but there’s a lot of things that are so outlandishly stupid that were clearly not designed for maintenance in mind, that it’s baffling he didn’t mention them.
#tl;dr the kid doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about.