Dryden engine shop lead mechanic Enrique Hernandez performs an engine afterburner module inspection on a General Electric F404-400 engine. NASA Photo / Tony Landis. Dryden's Aircraft Maintenance Branch provides maintenance and modification of all Center, research, and test bed aircraft. The Engine Shop consists of civil servants and contractors and is well versed in inspecting, trouble shooting, rebuilding, and testing the F404-400 turbofan jet engines, which power the Navy F-18 aircraft. This team is often called out to a hangar or to the flight line to support the following aircraft: F-18, F-16, F-15, ER-2, 747, T-38, DC-8, Global Hawk, Ikhana (Predator B), King Air, T-34, G3, and any other aircraft assigned to or visiting NASA.
They are dispatched to perform hourly inspections which include thorough external inspections, boroscoping the internal engine, as well as finding foreign object damage (FOD) in confined areas of the aircraft.
When an engine is to be tested at the Test Cell, the Engine Team supports the test by trouble shooting and performing any engine maintenance deemed necessary to getting the engine to a serviceable status. These engines include the Pratt & Whitney F100-100 and F100-229, as well as the General Electric F110-129 and F404-400.
The Engine Team regularly attends training classes and conferences on the different platforms they support to stay proficient and up to date on maintenance practices. In supporting the different aircraft, they are proficient in maintaining an array of engines including:
Pratt & Whitney: F100-100, F100-229, JT9, PT6
General Electric: F110-129, J85, F404-400, F118, CFM 56
Rolls Royce: Spey 511, AE3007
In addition, the Engine Team frequently travels to the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale to support the different projects assigned there, including SOFIA and the DC-8.
- Perform O-level , I-level , and Depot- level Maintenance.
- Modify aircraft systems and integrate research systems into Center research aircraft.
- Heavy maintenance of F-404 (F-18), J-85 (T-38), CFM-56, and TF-33 (B-52H) engines.
- Member AFFTC/DFRC Alliance Maintenance IPT
- Facilities management for all Center hangars and aircraft ramps