A thorough knowledge of the Reaper is required in order to keep the aircraft flying. Holloman AFB has the important mission of preparing Airmen with the knowledge and skills necessary to deploy worldwide at a moment’s notice, to effectively and efficiently perform their duties.
Inspections are performed based on different qualifying factors, including total hours flown and discrepancies noticed or reported during training sorties. Additional inspections are completed on various milestones including 200, 400, 800 and 2,000 hours of flight time. Each inspection is increasingly more in-depth as the flight hours rise.
Recently, the mission of Holloman AFB has transformed from projecting combat airpower to training the next generation of combat pilots and among its many aircraft, Holloman Air Force Base is the premier training base for the MQ-1B Predator and the MQ-9 Reaper. The Airmen thoroughly inspect each part of the aircraft before takeoff and after landing, looking for any discrepancies that could interfere with the proper operation and safety of the aircraft.
The Reaper is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance RPA that is used primarily as an intelligence-collection asset. Reapers also perform missions supporting close air support, combat search and rescue, convoy over watch, and target development. The MQ-9's capabilities make it uniquely qualified to conduct warfare operations in support of the deployed commander's objectives. Up to nine people will work on an aircraft at one time, each responsible for different systems. When it comes down to the wire, teamwork is a critical. "We check every part of the aircraft, from the wings to the engines and tires. It's basically like taking your car for a tune-up," said Senior Airman Courtlyn Collier, a 49th AMXS crew chief. "Once a plane lands, you'll see a lot of crew chiefs, avionics and weapons Airmen starting inspections."