Air Force

August 8, 2014

Critical find by Airman just doing job

Tags:
Senior Airman GRACE LEE
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Senior Airman Jessica Reitano, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance journeyman, checks the swedge of a hydro line with a go-no-go gauge July 25 in Bldg. 985 at Luke Air Force Base. The swedge is checked to ensure there are no leaks in the line.

Every Airman plays an essential role in the Air Force mission, but sometimes it only takes one Airman to discover something so great it not only saves Air Force lives and money, but affects bases worldwide.

Senior Airman Jessica Reitano, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance journeyman, received the Wing Quarterly Flight Maintenance Award July 22 at wing standup for going above and beyond to ensure the F-16 Fighting Falcons at Luke Air Force Base are safe to fly.

It was May 6 during the dayshift on the flightline when she was called out to inspect an F-16 D model two-seat aircraft.

“Before I got there, they thought the problem was that a few rivets, which are short metal pins to hold two plates of metal together, needed to be replaced since they were sheared off near the top,” Reitano said. “To replace them, the sidewall fairing first had to be removed to allow access.”

The Airmen worked quickly to have the fairing removed before calling Reitano back to replace the rivets.

“I used a mirror to find the backside of the rivets, so I could knock them out and replace them, but when I looked back there, I could see a crack straight through the seam,” Reitano said. “That’s how I found the issue.”

While she did not know it at the time, the cracked area that Reitano discovered was not only the first such crack ever found, but affected 80 percent of the jet’s structural integrity. If it had flown, it possibly could have withstood only two g-forces with a high probability of splitting apart during flight.

News of her findings rapidly up-channeled throughout the maintenance squadron, group leadership, as well as depot structural engineers from Lockheed Martin, and the decision was made to immediately ground all the F-16 D model aircraft at Luke.

“Once the aircraft were grounded, an immediate local one-time inspection was done on all the aircraft,” said Master Sgt. Brian Leonard, 56th EMS flight chief. “The results of our inspection at Luke led to the publication of a technical order which provided direction for the inspection of the canopy still longerons on all the F-16 D model aircraft worldwide.”

Reitano’s actions not only saved aircraft but lives.

“We could have potentially lost an entire $25 million aircraft,” Leonard said. “There is also no price that can be put on the lives of the two Airmen flying the aircraft if the worst had happened. Senior Airman Reitano demonstrated outstanding maintenance professionalism when she thoroughly inspected an aircraft and found a critical problem even though initially the discrepancy looked to be relatively minor. Instead of simply addressing just the discrepancy of two broken rivets, she visually inspected the entire area to determine proper clearance for maintenance repair actions and looked for any other damage in the area.”

Although Reitano is confident that any one of the Airmen she works with could have seen the issue, she is grateful to be recognized for her actions.

“I feel honored to have won the award,” Reitano said. “I’m very thankful to my supervisors for putting me up for it, and it’s finding things like this and making a difference, that makes my job so rewarding. My favorite part of this job is no matter how many times you work on the same jet, there could always be something you’ve never done.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Grace Lee

Pilot saves six Marines earning him the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor

Grace Lee Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, pins the Air Force Combat Action Medal onto Capt. Aaron Cavazos, 61st Fighter Squadron weapons officer, Jan. 16 in Club Five Six at Luke Air Force Base. Cavazos was...
 
 

Financial responsibility — vital to readiness

In the “Band of Brothers” miniseries, there is a line in the movie where the soldiers are told to make sure they sign up for life insurance to ensure their next-of-kin gets $10,000 upon the soldier’s death. While none of us are about to make a combat jump in 1944 to fight the Nazis, Airmen...
 
 

Adapt, overcome, succeed

Change is inevitable, especially in today’s Air Force. If you’ve been serving for more than a few years, it’s likely you’ve experienced everything from new physical fitness requirements to the implementation of force management programs. Enlisted performance reports and feedback forms have been altered and changes to the promotion system are rapidly approaching. We expect...
 

 
Courtesy Photo

Chrach saves lives, earns recognition

Courtesy Photo Tech. Sgt. Steven Bruner, 56th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, and Chrach, 56th SFS MWD, pose for a photo in Afghanistan during their 2012 deployment. Chrach was recently awarded the 12th A...
 
 

News Briefs January 23, 2015

VH1 concert VH1 and sponsors supporting the event are hosting a Super Bowl Blitz concert featuring Fall Out Boy and Charli XCX at 5 p.m. Jan. 30 in Hangar 999 as a “Thank you” to those who serve in the U.S. military. Members of the Luke community are invited and the concert is free. Service...
 
 
Courtesy Photo

Civilian answers AF call, gets dream job

Courtesy Photo Senior Airman Kristina Inocencio, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron engineer technician, measures the distance from the tree to the building Jan. 15 during survey training at Luke Air Force Base. One of Inocencio’s ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin