Abstract

Conductivity testing, via Bresle patch analysis, was performed on F-5 aircraft in Key West, FL, Fallon, NV, and Yuma, AZ to compare the level of salt contamination present at each location. The inspection locations were selected based on the observations of the pilots and maintenance staff of VFC-111, the squadron stationed in Key West, FL. The selected locations represented the areas of highest concern and recurring problem areas noticed by maintenance staff. Testing was performed at several points during the flight schedule: before the first flight of the day, following a flight, and prior to and following a scheduled clear water rinse event. The results obtained from Key West, FL and Fallon, NV indicate a large discrepancy in the amount of salt contamination present in the two locations, with Key West yielding much higher readings. These results lead the researchers to believe that the aircraft in residency in Key West should be treated in similar fashion to those maintained aboard aircraft carriers, including more frequent wash and inspection cycles, and potentially proper marinization of the aircraft with marine specific coatings.

Introduction

Fighter Squadron Composite One One One (VFC-111) is a US Navy adversary squadron based out of Naval Air Station (NAS) Key West, Florida. VFC-111 operates F-5 Tiger-II tactical fighter jets (Figure 1) as part of their dissimilar air combat training program provided to fighter squadrons within the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard.

Recently, VFC-111 has noticed a significant uptick in the corrosion observed on the jets, particularly related to the air intakes. VFC-111 has been in contact with the squadrons based in Fallon, NV and Yuma, AZ who also operate the F-5 Tiger-II aircraft. These squadrons do not report similar issues with their jets, which are approximately the same age as the fleet in Key West, FL, and operate similar missions and schedules.

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