Aircrew Flight Equipment Airmen sustain F-16 survival mission

Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Pedro Mota

Airman 1st Class Wyatt Weaver, 56th Operation Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment journeyman, conducts an inflation test August 18, 2017, at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. The water proof suit is used to protect pilots from cold temperatures.

Equipment efficiency can be the determining factor between life and death in a survival situation.

The Airmen from the aircrew flight equipment shop at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., work diligently to inspect, pack and supply survival tools for F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots.

“By packing survival kits and their components, we are giving peace of mind to the pilots,” said Staff Sgt. Jose Ochoa, 56th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment continuation training instructor. “Assuring they have lifesaving equipment for the worst case scenario, makes it easier for them to perform to the best of their ability without having to worry about survival equipment failure.”

To ensure the equipment is successfully packed and maintained, the Airmen go through a two month long technical school receiving training on various aircraft and the survival equipment needed specifically for each aircraft.

Staff Sgt. Kyle Green, 56th Operation Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment craftsman, hangs a F-16 Fight Falcon drag chute August 18, 2018 at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. The parachute was hung to clear it of debris and to be inspected.

“Once the Airmen arrive from technical school they are trained on the aircraft that is specific to each base,” said Staff Sgt. Kyle Green, 56th OSS aircrew flight equipment craftsman. “Our Airmen are trained thoroughly to understand the F-16 survival equipment and to learn why their job is important, making sure everything is right 100 percent of the time without fail.”

Within each inspection there is a technical order to give guidance as well as a seven-level craftsman to review each job.

“There is always a team of two Airmen working on putting together a survivor kit for the aircraft,” Green said. “With the ever changing technology coming to the base, our preparations and technology for them keep progressing, keeping us up to date.”

As the mission of building the future of airpower continues, the 56th OSS Airmen focus on providing support the AFE Airmen in all the squadrons and also providing pilots with the tools to survive.

Airman Laura Taitano, 56th Operation Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment apprentice, inspects a parachute August 18,2017, at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. These types of parachutes are maintained and packed for Taiwan fighter pilots.