AR shop provides heavy maintenance for B-2 Spirit

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airman Tony Todaro, 509th Maintenance Squadron Aero repair technician, takes inventory of tools following maintenance on a B-2 Spirit Feb. 26, 2010. Taking inventory of tools before, during and after a maintenance job helps prevent foreign object damage and debris. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jessica Snow)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airman Tony Todaro, 509th Maintenance Squadron Aero repair technician, takes inventory of tools following maintenance on a B-2 Spirit Feb. 26, 2010. Taking inventory of tools before, during and after a maintenance job helps prevent foreign object damage and debris. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jessica Snow)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Airmen from the 509th Maintenance Squadron Aero Repair Shop perform final checks on the nose landing gear door of B-2 Spirit Feb. 26, 2010. Airmen from the AR shop nightshift put the B-2 on jacks in preparation for a operational check of the landing gear system. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jessica Snow)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Airmen from the 509th Maintenance Squadron Aero Repair Shop perform final checks on the nose landing gear door of B-2 Spirit Feb. 26, 2010. Airmen from the AR shop nightshift put the B-2 on jacks in preparation for a operational check of the landing gear system. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jessica Snow)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - A B-2 Spirit sits on jacks Feb. 26, 2010, awaiting Airmen from the 509th Maintenance Squadron Aero Repair Shop to perform landing gear operational checks. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jessica Snow)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - A B-2 Spirit sits on jacks Feb. 26, 2010, awaiting Airmen from the 509th Maintenance Squadron Aero Repair Shop to perform landing gear operational checks. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jessica Snow)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airman Tony Todaro, 509th Maintenance Squadron Aero Repair Shop technician, inspects his tools to ensure no parts are broken or missing. Tool inspection and accountability help eliminate foreign object damage and debris on the flightline. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jessica Snow)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airman Tony Todaro, 509th Maintenance Squadron Aero Repair Shop technician, inspects his tools to ensure no parts are broken or missing. Tool inspection and accountability help eliminate foreign object damage and debris on the flightline. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jessica Snow)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airman Tony Todaro, 509th Maintenance Squadron Aero Repair Shop technician, inspects his tools to ensure no parts are broken or missing. Tool inspection and accountability help eliminate foreign object damage and debris on the flightline. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jessica Snow)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airman Tony Todaro, 509th Maintenance Squadron Aero Repair Shop technician, inspects his tools to ensure no parts are broken or missing. Tool inspection and accountability help eliminate foreign object damage and debris on the flightline. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jessica Snow)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airmen Tony Todaro (left) and Jason Owens, 509th Maintenance Squadron Aero Repair Shop technicians, replace a blade seal on the nose landing gear door of a B-2 Spirit Feb. 26, 2010. AR shop technicians perform a variety of unscheduled maintenance on B-2s daily. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jessica Snow)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airmen Tony Todaro (left) and Jason Owens, 509th Maintenance Squadron Aero Repair Shop technicians, replace a blade seal on the nose landing gear door of a B-2 Spirit Feb. 26, 2010. AR shop technicians perform a variety of unscheduled maintenance on B-2s daily. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jessica Snow)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Even with its advanced technology, many back-up systems, skilled maintainers and other goodies that no one can talk about, the B-2 can still break hard.

When it comes to something more than routine maintenance, the crew chiefs of the 509th Maintenance Squadron Aero Repair Shop step up to the plate.

"We are crew chiefs in essence," said Tech. Sgt. Jesse Perkins, 509th Maintenance Squadron Aero Repair Shop flight chief. "We perform some of the heavy maintenance on the aircraft. We're almost an in-house depot shop."

According to the Acquisition Community Connection Web Site, depot-level maintenance includes the repair, fabrication, rebuilding, refurbishment, test, analysis, upgrade, painting and disposal of parts, assemblies, subassemblies, software, components or end items that require support equipment, personnel of higher technical skills or processes beyond the organizational level capability.

By accomplishing heavy maintenance jobs at Whiteman, the crew chiefs in the AR shop gain valuable experience, as well as save the Air Force money.

"Most of our work is unscheduled maintenance," Sergeant Perkins said. "We also assist other shops by jacking the aircraft up so they can accomplish operational checks after maintenance. If we performed the maintenance then we will do the check ourselves."

As part of the Air Force's Total Force Integration Policy, the AR Shop has integrated Airmen from the 131st BW in day-to-day operations.

With more than 30 Airmen from the 509th and 131st Bomb Wings working together, the AR shop is prepared to handle any job thrown their way.

"It's a whole different ballgame here," said Staff Sgt. Shawn Van Horn, 131st Bomb Wing Aero Repair technician. "The basic operations like hydraulic systems are similar for every airframe, but the specifics take some time to learn."

Maintainers from the 131st BW completed an extensive in-house training before being allowed to work on the B-2, Sergeant Van Horn said.

"There are a lot of things unique to the B-2, but most of the 131st crew chiefs came to us with a lot of maintenance experience," Sergeant Perkins said.

"This aircraft is pretty maintenance friendly," he said. "These Airmen are very experienced and hard-working. I couldn't ask for a better group of Airmen to work with."