After a 5-year renovation, F-22 #07-146 is back in the air

After a five-year reintegration, F-22 #07-0146 is back in the air. Lt. Col. Philip Johnson of the United States Air Force, assigned to the 514th Flight Test Squadron at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, piloted the newly refurbished aircraft for the first time on May 4. The process to reactivate this fighter plane was difficult, requiring the efforts of multiple agencies, units, and, most significantly, a team of professional airmen who worked relentlessly to make it happen.


US Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kyle Veurink, an F-22 artisan assigned to the 90th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, was one of the airmen participating in the rebuilding process. He joined the crew in early 2022 and contributed to the completion of the final year of tests and repairs. When Veurink joined the project, the aircraft lacked several flight controls, had no engines or seat, and its panels had been fused into fuel cells. Veurink and his colleagues travelled to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, where they salvaged pieces such as the leading edge, two flaps, and a seat from another F-22 that had been rebuilt similarly following a disaster there.


Cannibalising parts from one aircraft for use on another is a time-saving procedure that allows aircraft to be returned to combat-capable status sooner by reducing the time required to produce new parts. While the canning delayed the rebuilding timeframe for the Eglin F-22, it allowed the 3rd Wing to expedite the timeline for recovering #07-146, allowing the fleet to replenish its operating F-22s at a faster rate.

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Despite the lengthy repair period, the team of airmen involved in the rebuilding process pushed through its last tests, enduring rebalancing, and burner runs before its functioning test flight. Finally, after the combined efforts of numerous agencies, units, and airmen, F-22 #07-146 rejoined the operational fleet, bolstering the 3rd Wing's and the US Air Force's air dominance.

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