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Altus Maintenance Makes History, Removes First KC-46 Engine

Maintainers pose for a photo after removing the first KC-46A engine.

The 97th Air Mobility Wing KC-46A Pegasus Maintenance Team, Airmen from other bases and Boeing employees stand in front of the first KC-46A engine to be removed, June 26, 2019, at Altus Air Force, Okla. The purpose of the engine removal was to help maintainers across the Air Force learn and document the process of removing a KC-46A engine. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Klemm)

Maintainers remove a KC-46A engine.

Members of the 97th Air Mobility Wing KC-46A Pegasus Maintenance Team carefully remove an engine from a KC-46A for the first time, June 26, 2019, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. The Altus AFB maintenance team carefully removed the engine step-by-step and documented their instructions for the initial removal. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Klemm)

Maintainer helps remove a KC-46A engine.

A member of the 97th Air Mobility Wing KC-46A Pegasus maintenance team removes the chains from a harnessed KC-46A engine, June 26, 2019, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. After 30 tedious minutes of carefully lowering the engine from the airframe, the chains once supporting the engine were removed, marking the first KC-46A engine removal in history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Klemm)

A maintainer helps remove a KC-46A engine.

A member of the 97th Air Mobility Wing KC-46A Pegasus Maintenance Team lowers the engine of a KC-46A from the airframe, June 26, 2019, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Participating in this event were maintainers from Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H., McConnell AFB, Kan., Tinker AFB, Okla., and Altus AFB, Okla., who all helped the Altus maintainers to successfully remove the engine. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Klemm)

Maintainer watches a KC-46A engine be removed.

A member of the 97th Air Mobility Wing KC-46A Pegasus maintenance team watches closely as an engine from a KC-46A is removed for the first time, June 26, 2019, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Along with teaching maintainers how to remove these engines, this removal provides professionals around the Air Force and at Boeing the first task verification of an engine removal. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Klemm)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The 97th Air Mobility Wing maintenance team made history by removing a KC-46A Pegasus engine for the first time, June 26, 2019, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla.

The purpose of the engine removal was to help maintainers across the Air Force learn more about the process it takes to remove a KC-46A engine. With an innovative mindset and positive attitude, the Altus AFB maintenance team carefully removed the engine and documented each step along the way for future instructions to repeat the process as needed.

“The entire process is a big learning experience,” said Donnie Obreiter, the KC-46A maintenance flight chief. “There are no issues with any of the engines; that’s why we are conducting the removal now. That way, when the time comes down the road if something might happen, our team is prepared and knows what to do.”

The process for the maintenance team not only serves as a teaching opportunity, but is also a training tool for maintainers across the Air Force and serves as the first task verification of an engine removal. This environment helped create a community of innovators, where their efforts were combined into the documentation of the removal.

“This removal is a huge deal to our team,” said Obreiter. “This is hands-down the biggest task that had not yet been accomplished on the KC-46A, and it was done right here at Altus.”

Altus maintainers were not alone in the engine removal. Maintainers from Pease Air National Guard Base, New Hampshire; McConnell AFB, Kansas; and Tinker AFB, Okla. were on hand to learn and assist with the process.

KC-46A engine subject matter experts from local and national Boeing facilities and Air Force Test and Evaluation Center representatives from Edwards AFB, Calif. also attended the event to observe and document this ground breaking event. Their combined efforts allowed the removal to be a smooth process.

“Training like this is good for everyone here in maintenance,” said Obreiter. “It helps us remain mission ready and pursue the future of refueling of the KC-46A Pegasus.”

The Altus AFB maintenance team continues building strong relationships and synchronizing communications with the community. This helps the maintainers improve skills and knowledge on the KC-46A while keeping them and Aircrew safe, equipped and mission ready.