RAF Lakenheath's first F-15 to achieve 10,000 flight hours

  • Published
  • By Airman Delanie Brown
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Diligently working day and night, 48th Fighter Wing aircraft maintainers ensure the readiness of the Liberty Wing's jets; with both the aircraft's age and the accumulated flight hours varying, one aircraft recently accomplished a historic feat that showcased how hard these Airmen truly work.

Aircraft 91-0308, a U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 492nd Fighter Squadron, became the first F-15 assigned to RAF Lakenheath to achieve the milestone of 10,000 flight hours on July 28, 2023.

This aircraft has been a part of the 48th Fighter Wing for the last 31 years, arriving on September 17, 1992. While a part of the Liberty Wing, the aircraft has flown over 4,100 sorties and has been through more than 20 phase inspections.

“The original service life when the aircraft was designed was only about 8,000 flight hours, which showcases the dedication the 48th Maintenance Group has had over the years to keep this aircraft in the air,” said Tech. Sgt. Evan Wilby, 492nd Fighter Generation Squadron aircraft section chief.

Only 86 of the more than 800 U.S. Air Force F-15’s have hit 10,000 flight hours, he added. Aircraft 91-0308 is only 1 of 53 F-15E’s to hit this milestone and the very first F-15 of any variant to do so while assigned to RAF Lakenheath.

According to Wilby, the total hours of maintenance put into this aircraft is at least 30,000, however, that is only considering the three hour inspection that is completed at the end of each flying day.

“That doesn’t consider the inspections that are done in between each flight of the day,” he said. “That also does not consider the inspections that are done by the phase section every 400 flight hours or all the scheduled or unscheduled maintenance hours that are put into every jet. Not just this one.”

After each flight when the crew chief performs an inspection, if there were any pilot-reported discrepancies the sections within the MXG, such as the weapons specialists, would be sent out to the aircraft to repair it.

“The work that has gone into getting a jet this far is nothing short of amazing,” said Staff Sgt. Marcus Lawrence, 492nd FGS dedicated crew chief. “Achieving this milestone has come through the hard work and dedication of everyone that has been assigned to the 48th Maintenance Group in the last 31 years.”

Once an aircraft hits 10,000 flight hours, not much changes, Lawrence said. The maintenance of the aircraft doesn’t change but may require more routine checks because of such high flying hours.

Dating back to 2009, the aircraft has been involved in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve, last serving in Operation Inherent Resolve from April to October of 2021. This is in addition to the multiple operations that have taken place since 1992.

This particular aircraft, and the F-15E in general, are expected to continue flying in the U.S. Air Force past 2025.