It’s often said that a workplace environment is only as good as the way its employees make it.
In this case, a request made by members of the 412th Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Ground Equipment Flight allowed for the latest addition of new and improved aerospace ground equipment to the Edwards flightline.
“It initially began as an unfunded requirement that was submitted, funded and approved expeditiously,” said Rafael Avina, 412th MXS AGE flight chief. “The exceptional support we received from the 412th Test Wing, the 95th Air Base Wing and the 412th Maintenance Group truly made the construction of both projects possible.”
The first addition to the AGE fleet involved the construction of a new wash rack.
“The requirement for a new wash rack was a safety issue; the existing wash rack was adjacent to one of our maintenance facilities thus creating a safety hazard during the winter months,” Avina said. “By relocating the wash rack away from the building, it eliminated the constant repair of leaking emergency shower pipes which would break due to freezing temperatures and eliminated a slip hazard for employees.”
In addition to the construction of a new wash rack, the 412th MXS AGE Flight received approval to add in sun shelters to their area.
“The sun shelters were primarily requested to increase capability by enabling employees to work outside while performing inspection and maintenance of equipment with protection from direct sunlight during the summer months,” added Avina. “Not only does this provide protection for AGE personnel, it also ensures that the sun doesn’t wreak havoc on the equipment.”
Furthermore, Avina said that the acquisition increased the flight’s workspace capacity by allowing maintenance, inspection and operational checks on equipment without having to wait for indoor workspace.
“Although the construction of these projects would not have been possible without the involvement of leadership from all the pertinent organizations, the entire team also worked to ensure all environmental and operational requirements were met before proceeding with the construction,” said Avina.
With the last bit of construction completed March 12, Avina explained the importance of these new acquisitions in terms of the Edwards mission.
“In terms of the mission as Edwards, we all depend on one another and, in our case, without the proper care and maintenance of support equipment, the maintenance, inspection or operation of Edwards aircraft would not be feasible,” Avina said. “It basically comes down to the AGE motto that says, ‘No air power without ground power.'”
The 412th MXS AGE fleet consists of over 1,150 powered and non-powered ground equipment units in support of 6 combined test forces and several contractor test support by providing a variety of equipment for the Air Force Flight Test Center mission. Those in the Aerospace Ground Equipment field are responsible for maintaining the equipment that supplies electricity, as well as hydraulic pressure and air pressure, as planes receive maintenance and prepare for flight.