NHANG aircraft achieves rare accomplishment

  • Published
  • By Airman Ashlyn J. Correia
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing
A New Hampshire Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker reached an achievement March 24, when tail number 3576 received a black-letter status.

For a plane to receive the coveted status it must receive no known discrepancies before flight.

"If anything is found within the aircraft within three hours of take off it's considered a red-ball write up," said Tech. Sgt. Michael Filliettaz, a crew chief with the 157th Maintenance Group.

Discrepancies are marked in red ink on the form while things that are correct are marked in black, hence the name black-letter.

Having a report with no red ink is considered a very rare accomplishment, some crew chiefs never see one in their careers. It's even harder to do on an aircraft that's more than 60-years old.

"It's a super rare thing to happen," said Tech. Sgt. John Bober, a crew chief with the 157th Maintenance Group.

The last time a KC-135 received a black-letter status was McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., March 31, 2014.
The crew chiefs work hand-and-hand with all different shops within the maintenance group to be able to achieve this. A smooth system with everyone working together is what makes achievements like this possible for the aircraft.

"Its entails a lot a lot of work from the whole squadron, it's not just us crew chiefs," said Bober.

A plaque will be mounted in the aircraft to serve as a reminder of the hard work put in by members of 157th Maintenance Group who keep these aircraft flying safely.

"This is an amazing achievement, given the age of the aircraft." said Col. Rob Burrus, 157th Air Refueling Wing commander. "It takes everyone working together making it the ultimate team sport."