U.S. Air Force Corrosion Control Shop Installs New F-16 Tail Flash

The tail flash was unveiled in a recent Air Force ceremony. Photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III.

Members of the corrosion control shop for the 51st Maintenance Squadron (MXS) at the U.S. Air Force’s Osan Air Base in South Korea painted the tail flash of an F-16 Fighting Falcon to restore the aircraft.

The revitalized aircraft was unveiled during a recent ceremony honoring the 36th Fighter Squadron’s (36th FS) 100 years of service.

“This was a clean slate, we had to sand everything down on this plane, all the old paint and [install] a new tail flash that was custom made,” says Senior Airman William Williams, 51st MXS sheet metal and corrosion technician.

Williams notes that the team used technology by Gerber [Tolland, Connecticut] to design different stencils.

There was custom work from members of the shop such as the hand-designed letter fonts and stripes that run along the aircraft’s tail. Without any technical orders or guidance to aid them, the corrosion control team was able to complete the aircraft in less than three weeks.

“This is probably [one of] the hardest aircraft we’ve ever done,” Williams says. “It takes so much work just to get the checkers on one side of the plane to match the other side of the plane because you can’t see both sides at the same time. We have to match everything up as best as we can. Certain contours of the plane are not same on both sides so it’s even harder because you can’t just print the same thing and expect it to look the same on the other side.”

“It’s going to feel pretty good when we see it takeoff because so much work went into it,” he adds. “I hope everyone likes it.”

Source: U.S. Defense Video Imagery Distribution System, www.dvidshub.net.