JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor loading readiness, technical expertise and teamwork were tested during the 2nd Quarterly Wing Load Crew competition where members of the 525th and 90th Aircraft Maintenance Unit battled for the win at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, July 31, 2020.
“This competition pits the two best quarterly AMU load crews to compete in four different categories; a basic knowledge test, composite tool kit inspection, uniform inspection, and F-22 weapons load out,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brandon Ford, 3rd Maintenance Group loading standardization crew member.
The weapons load is evaluated based on safety, reliability, speed, and proficiency, as the team’s load munitions onto an F-22. The outcome of these parts contributes to a team’s overall score.
Both teams raced to successfully load an AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile and a GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition – with the 90th AMU team claiming the win.
“We have been working together as a crew for over two years now,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Dominick Scanlan, 3rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew member. “I think it played a huge role in our success because we are so used to each other and how we all operate. We know where we are supposed to be and what our roles are. Overall, we were pumped to have won our first competition as a team and we are pretty happy with the outcome.”
Previously, Quarterly Wing Load Crew competition viewers were unable to see parts of the event due to F-22 obstructions and regulations on distance from the aircraft. With the aid of innovation funds, the 3rd Wing purchased televisions, GoPro’s, and the necessary equipment to give audience members a live viewing of the event.
“In the past, the audience couldn’t see anything that was happening under the aircraft and seemed to lose interest as the weapons load team disappeared under the F-22,” Ford said. “We’re hoping this will help increase participation, attendance, and interest in future quarterly competitions.”
Ford also said feedback from the crowd was outstanding and the live viewing brought the whole picture together, helping to keep the audience engaged throughout the whole competition.
Ford and 3rd AMXS leadership hope the 2nd Quarterly Wing Crew Competition will be the first of many to provide viewers with an inside look into the F-22 bay loading operations.