by Airman 1st Class Brigitte N. Brantley-Sisk
23rd Wing Public Affairs
11/1/2010 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- When an aircraft has lived through its operational life, it is usually either used for scrap metal or taken to the "Boneyard" near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.
However, the 23rd Component Maintenance Squadron has found a way to keep a retired A-10A Thunderbolt II at Moody as a ground instructional training aircraft.
"Normally what we have to do when we want hands-on training with an aircraft is plan it out in advance," said Master Sgt. Jeffery Knudsen, 23rd Component Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuels system section chief. "That it means it not only takes away from someone else training with, it is off the flightline for that amount of time.
"Having the A-10 as a GITA will benefit us because we can do our training whenever its needed," he added.
The A-10's training use is furthered by the fact it won't remain as a single piece, but will instead be separated.
"Current plans are to divide the aircraft into two pieces: the fuselage and the wing section," said Sergeant Knudsen. "Training with the separate pieces benefits us because we don't have this opportunity otherwise.
"Our training guides only show portions of the system at a time, while this will allow trainees to see the entire system," he added. "Furthermore, a nonoperational aircraft doesn't present a chemical hazard so we can get inside as well without having to use the otherwise required ventilators and respirators."
The 23rd Equipment Maintenance Squadron metals technology section is currently building stands for the separate parts of the A-10.
"These stands will allow for more up-close and confined spaces training," said Tech. Sgt. David Land, 23rd EMS aircraft metals technician. "The wings of an A-10 are about six feet off the ground, so separate stands will allow for a better view of the underside of the fuselage, which is where a lot of the fuel work happens. There will also be a catwalk to allow trainees to have an overview of the aircraft."
This overview will be further enhanced by another planned modification.
"We are also going to remove part of the aircraft skin so we can see the underlying structures and systems," said Sergeant Knudsen. "All of the modifications to this aircraft will allow us to pass on an overall better understanding of the A-10, both inside and out."
The first A-10 Thunderbolt II was used in 1975 and was designed especially for close air support. Moody received the aircraft in 2007.