Halfway There

The Air Force has more than half its F-15 instructor force at Tyndall AFB, Fla., back up to speed after the extended grounding of the F-15 fleet. Commanders of the 2nd Fighter Squadron and 95th FS expect to have all instructors in “current status” within two weeks. “There’s a little rust, but that’s why we retrain to get that proficiency,” said 95th FS boss Lt. Col. Kevin Huyck, adding, “Their level of performance is quickly resuming to what it was before the stand-down.” Next on the agenda is resuming work with the class that was within five weeks of graduation when the Nov. 2, 2007 midair breakup of an F-15C put all F-15s on the ground pending rigorous structural inspections. Complicating matters is the fact that Tyndall only has about half its F-15s back in the air. “It’s going to be tough,” said 2nd FS boss Lt. Col. Kevin Murray. He added, “That’s why we’re doing one class at a time.” And, Huyck explained, “We can’t just jump in where we left off; we have to gradually bring students back up through the simulator and two-seater missions.” Air Force officials estimated that it would take at least two to three months to get all F-15 pilots current again and that the effects of the prolonged standdown probably would be felt for six months. (Tyndall report by SSgt. Timothy Capling)