Defense

July 17, 2013

F-35 aircrew flight equipment team named Air Force best

Technical Sergeants Andre Baskin (left) and Lemuel Velazquez (right), inspect the optical cable of the F-35 Lightning II helmet June 24, 2013, at the 33rd Fighter Wing, Eglin AFB, Fla. The members are part of the 33rd Operations Support Squadron Aircrew Flight Equipment Flight and ensure the pilots have well-maintained gear, which provides enhanced situational awareness, targeting information and symbology capabilities displayed on the visor of the helmet.

One of the Air Force’s newest aircrew flight equipment teams is now the Air Force’s best.

The 33rd Fighter Wing’s aircrew flight equipment flight was chosen the best in the Air Force in the small program category for 2012. The wing is the only unit to fly and train on the F-35A Lightning II fifth generation fighter.

“This outstanding feat was accomplished amidst a year of numerous challenges in stand-up operations for the F-35,” said Col. Todd Canterbury, the 33rd Fighter Wing commander. “It shows how hard their team worked to be considered the best in the Air Force.”

TSgt. Andre Baskin is the flight’s NCOIC, who says that his team’s biggest challenge has been the unique aspects of the F-35 program. “There was nothing to base our procedures on,” said Baskin. “We had to use our experience with other fighter aircraft to create new procedures.”

Baskin said the team worked 30 hours over a three-day period to perform an emergency safety inspection on F-35 aircrew safety equipment, completing the inspection in one-third of the time. He added that, because there was no aircrew flight equipment training courseware, the team had to create its own, earning honors for “best practice,” also at the Air Force level.

TSgt. Amanda Williams is the team’s continuation training instructor, responsible for creating the instructions used to perform tasks for the F-35 equipment under review. “Since there’s no F-35 training plan on the equipment, she had to develop it from scratch,” said Baskin. “Usually a lesson plan is created and sent from higher headquarters on down. We had to go from the bottom up on these.”

A1C Sean Gregory conducts a routine pre-flight inspection of the F-35 Lightning II helmet June 24, 2013, at the 33rd Fighter Wing, Eglin AFB, Fla. As an apprentice with the Aircrew Flight Equipment flight, 33rd Operations Support Squadron, she is responsible for ensuring the helmet’s acting noise reduction and optical system work before a training sortie.

Baskin’s team became one of the first within the wing to transition from the F-35 contract team, in this case Lockheed Martin, to complete Air Force oversight, a feat they accomplished a year ahead of schedule. “It was difficult because it was brand new,” said Baskin. “If a typical aircrew flight equipment shop needs support with something, they can usually get it from another base. There was no F-35 support other than what we could provide ourselves internally. We had to make sure all our bases were covered.”

The team was also asked to support other units as well, assisting 720 F-16 sorties from the 56th Fighter Wing, from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., deployed to Eglin in support of the F-35 program. Baskin said that having the added support of the F-16s was definitely a challenge for he and his team. “The team had to basically build an F-16 shop from scratch, not only in equipment, but also in the process of dealing with the equipment, such as obtaining bench stock and equipment turn-in.”

TSgt. Lemuel Velazquez, one of the team technicians, said that, when the F-35s arrived, it was hard, but rewarding work. “It was difficult because we have guidelines on the legacy aircraft, but most of those could not be applied to the F-35. We had to adapt to the new requirements, but it helped me grow as an NCO. I was able to see how the Air Force works from a different point of view. I now know 200 percent more than I did before.”

 




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


 
 

 

President proclaims Memorial Day as ‘Day of Prayer’

President Barack Obama May 22 saluted the service and sacrifices of America’s military members–past and present–and proclaimed Memorial Day, May 25, 2015, “as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11 a.m. of that day as a time during which people may unite in prayer....
 
 

Air Force leaders’ Memorial Day message

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III send the following Memorial Day message to the Airmen of the Air Force and their families: To the Airmen of the United States Air Force and their Families: On Memorial Day, Americans pause in solemn remembrance...
 
 

Headlines May 22, 2015

News: Second Marine killed in Hawaii Osprey crash identified - Marine Corps officials have identified the second Marine to die as a result of the May 17 MV-22B Osprey crash as Lance Cpl. Matthew J. Determan of Maricopa, Ariz.   Business: Israel defense exports plunge to seven-year low - Israeli defense sales last year plunged to their...
 

 

News Briefs May 22, 2015

Ukrainian officer hit with third charge in Russia A third charge has been filed against a Ukrainian military officer who has been behind bars in Moscow for nearly a year over the deaths of two Russian journalists in Ukraine. Nadezhda Savchenko, who worked as a spotter for Ukrainian troops fighting separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine,...
 
 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Smart-mortar will help Soldiers more effectively hit targets

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez Nick Baldwin and Evan Young, researchers with the Armament Research Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, Pennsylvania, discuss the 120mm Guided Enhanced Fragmentation Mortar ...
 
 

Air Force assigns new chief scientist

The Air Force announced the service’s new chief scientist to serve as a science and technology adviser to the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force, May 21. Dr. Greg Zacharias will be the 35th chief scientist and is ready to “dive in” to his new role. “I...
 




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>