510th Fighter Squadron

Switch to desktop Register Login

F-16s Head to Estonia for Training

Published in In the News

Airmen and aircraft assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing departed Aviano Air Base, Italy, March 20, 2015 to participate in bilateral training with the Estonian air force and simultaneous but unrelated training with the Finnish and Swedish air forces in their airspace.

With a new state-of-the-art Corrosion Control Facility on Aviano, aircrafts are now serviced in-house for a quarter of the cost.

Up until last year, all F-16 Fighting Falcons on Aviano were sent to either Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, or a Belgian based aerospace company for repainting, costing the Air Force nearly $108,000 each time.

Crew chiefs take dirty jobs to new heights

Published in In the News

On the flightline with F-16 Fighting Falcons roaring in the background, a crew chief tries to wipe the sweat from his forehead, but ends up just smearing grease on his face as he crawls from under a jet.

The aircraft component he has been waiting for has finally arrived, and within minutes of receiving the part the Airman was back under the jet, his uniform soaked in grease and sweat.

"It simply cannot happen without us," said Staff Sgt. Sean Rindfleisch, 510th Aircraft Maintenance Unit dedicated crew chief, referring to day-to-day flying operations.

According to Staff Sgt. Christopher Mustard, 510th AMU expediter, aircraft maintenance is the overall focal point for the whole aircraft. Crew chiefs have many responsibilities including managing repairs, preparing a jet to fly and ensuring the safety of the pilots on their assigned aircraft. Other shops assist with specific jobs, but at the end of the day, it is a crew chief's responsibility to make sure the jet is capable of flying.

While working in hot weather conditions inside a stagnant protective aircraft shelter, crew chiefs and maintainers have their own language and bond while working together to relieve job stress.

"We describe our camaraderie as one giant family," said Staff Sgt. AnnMarie Ringer, 510th AMU dedicated crew chief. "Our leadership are considered our dads and we are the children. We fight like brothers and sisters all the time, but when we spend more time at work with each other than at home, it does nothing but bring us closer together."

"I feel a lot closer than I would to other people on the base because of the sarcasm we have here on the flightline. Isn't that right, dad," Rindfleisch said to Mustard.

"When we joke around, it's because we are all working in the same conditions and try to make the best of it at that specific time," he continued.

With grease and dirt under their fingernails, this family of Airmen is always alert because in their line of work, things can change at a moment's notice.

"To explain what I have to deal with on the job is best described as a fortune cookie," said Staff Sgt. Eddie Santana, 510th AMU dedicated crew chief, after getting hydraulic fluid spilled in his lap. "Inside it always says, 'Be prepared for a new and different tomorrow.'

"Everything we do varies from day to day," he said. "We can tow an aircraft, change a gearbox, fix an engine and then be responsible for additional duties such as enlisted performance reports and advising Airmen. Regardless of what it is, we somehow find a way to get dirty."

While many parts of their job can be difficult for these Airmen, they agree the most difficult part of their job is switching aircraft and having to learn a new system. Crew chiefs may have worked on an F-15 Strike Eagle at a previous base and come to Aviano to work on an F-16.

"It's like working on an old Chevy 350 and then getting sent to work on a Toyota Prius," said Santana.

With smiles covered in grease and dirt and Airmen never knowing what to expect, the dedicated crew chiefs for the 510th Aircraft Maintenance Unit are always prepared and can't imagine doing anything differently.

"I love what I do. My parents think it's the coolest thing ever," said Rindfleisch. "It may not be a big deal for some, but to have your name on the side of a multi-million dollar aircraft is unbelievable. After nine years in the Air Force, that will never grow old."

5/24/2013 AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy

  • 130513-F-AI558-053
  • 130513-F-AI558-074
  • 130513-F-AI558-077
  • 130513-F-AI558-142
  • 130513-F-AI558-192
  • 130513-F-AI558-208
  • 130513-F-AI558-219
  • 130513-F-AI558-255

Operation ALLIED FORCE - CAP Mission

Published in Videos

Video of the 510th Fighter Squadron Buzzards on a CAP mission in support of Operation ALLIED FORCE.

F-16CM 89-2050

Published in Aircraft

While flying to an Operation Northern Watch mission on July 18, 2001, an engine failure brought the aircraft down. Captain Michael A. Nelson Jr. ejected safely at 10:09 hours at 11 miles east of Batman, Turkey at 2,000 feet. Rescue was by a HH-60G from 305th RQS. The pilot heared a loud bang followed by a buzzing noise only 35 minutes after take-off. RPM decreased and FTIT increased. He attempted 9 airstarts without success. The cause of the crash was a failure of the number 4 bearing assembly.

U.S. military officials are coordinating search and rescue efforts with Italian military and civilian teams following the loss of communication with an Aviano F-16 fighter jet Monday evening. The aircraft, assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing, was performing a training mission over the Adriatic Sea when the base lost contact with the pilot at approximately 8 p.m. Soon after, Italian aircraft and ships were dispatched to the missing jet's last known location.

Aviano Augments Search for Missing Pilot

Published in In the News

The 31st Fighter Wing launched several of its F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft Jan. 29 to join the ongoing search effort for a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot who was declared missing during a nighttime training mission Jan. 28.

The fighter jets will provide further assistance to the robust rescue operation already underway, joining U.S. and Italian aircraft and ships. Capt. Lucas Gruenther, 31st Fighter Wing chief of flight safety, was conducting an F-16 training sortie over the Adriatic Sea when contact was lost with his aircraft.

Kosovo Buzzards

Published in Videos

Compilation of the 510th Fighter Squadron Buzzards during the Kosovo Conflict.

USAF F-16 Aircraft Crashes in Turkey

Published in In the News

ANKARA, Turkey {AP}— A U.S. F-16 fighter jet heading for a patrol over northern Iraq crashed in Turkey on Wednesday after apparently suffering engine problems, the first U.S. warplane to go down in more than 200,000 flights over the no-fly zones.

LSC Loads F-16 during Open Base Day

Published in Videos

510th LSC loads static F-16 during Open Base Day in 2000.  The video shows the loading of GBU munitions to the 31st OSS jet.