MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
The 366th Civil Engineer Squadron is a 300-person squadron directly supporting F-15E operations of the 366th Fighter Wing.
On Nov. 23, 2020 their lighting circuit board failed. Without these lights, CES was far below the lamp out requirements that would allow the flying mission to continue.
The circuit board is a part of the system that illuminates half of the edge lights on the active runway. Its function is to maintain the appropriate power required to illuminate the lights to the desired level. When the tower requests for lights to be set at a certain intensity level, the circuit board is critical in ensuring that level is reached.
“Once we discovered the issue, we began looking for a replacement circuit board,” said Ryan Prussner, 366th Civil Engineer Squadron high voltage foreman. “Due to the age of the equipment, we did not have one on hand so we began calling some contacts we have in the airfield lighting community.”
CE crew began scrounging parts available on hand to efficiently get the lights back up so that aircraft missions could continue. The electric shop eventually created a workaround until the lights were running again. Tech. Sgt. Burbank, 366th Munitions Squadron Air Force Repair Enhancement Program NCO in charge, began repairing the circuit board that the manufacturer told them was unrepairable. He successfully fixed the board, then CE put it through a test to ensure proper functionality and the squadron was satisfied with the results.
“Senior Airman Colton Fleming and Mrs. Cheryl Freeman were critical in finding the desired parts and building the workaround, while Tech. Sgt. Mcleod ensured our workaround was going to work from an electrical standpoint as well ensuring everyone was safe throughout the process,” Prussner said. “Burbank was a critical player as well. His repair of the burnt circuit board ensured we had a backup to our workaround.”
Rerouting the power to the edge lights that were out, and installing a new panel took approximately three days.
By repairing this panel, it has given CE’s electrical shop a type of safety net for the instrument lighting system, which had previously been reduced to half of its capacity when the board initially failed.
“Being able to showcase our abilities to other squadrons and career fields is what makes this such a significant repair,” Burbank said. “This will help broaden our knowledge of other base agencies, and decrease the amount of down time similar to this situation around the Fighter Wing.”