On this 4th of July, we would first like to extend an enormous thank you to all who have served our country, and to those continuing to serve. We are fortunate to live in this amazing place where we are able to choose how we live our lives and that would not be possible without all of the service given by those in the armed forces. Today, we wanted to give an extra special post of appreciation since we are also celebrating our country’s Independence Day.
Not Just Pilots Here People
Many civilians incorrectly assume that being in the Air Force means flying an aircraft. We have movies and Hollywood to thank for some of that misconception. However, the truth is that pilots account for less than 4% of all airmen. The bulk of airmen serve in support duties that keep those aircraft flying, with the aircraft maintainer being one of the most important.
Maintainers perform safety and function checks before, after, and between flights. These checks involve double- and triple-checking fluid levels, landing gear, and flight control performance, and often include running electrical system diagnostics. Maintainers also work in specialized repair shops that focus on specific aspects of an aircraft’s operation, such as guidance, propulsion systems, and in some cases weaponry. If it can be adjusted in some way on the flying craft, chances are, it’s been checked over by an aircraft maintainer.
All Part of the Aircraft Maintenance Job
After an aircraft has flown for a particular amount of time, even if there have been no problems, the work is not over. The maintenance crew disassembles said aircraft for a thorough physical inspection of all of its systems and components. The entire operation necessitates around-the-clock attention that might take over 1,500 man-hours to accomplish. Imagine taking apart and checking each piece of an enormous 10,000+ piece puzzle and then analyzing what you find. Then also imagine that it has to be done in one sitting, and you might have some idea of the tedium and attention to the smallest details necessary.
All this work is done and frequently, the limelight goes to those who sit in the cockpit. This isn’t to say pilots aren’t talented, but they certainly aren’t the ones who maintain the Flightline.
The amount of concentration and dedication an aircraft maintainer must have is comparable to a surgeon during an intense operation. Although, while the surgeon will have immediate feedback as to how their patient is responding to their surgery, and then be able to take a break afterward- a maintainer must be equally alert for hours on end with only their knowledge as feedback. Maintainers’ success is crucial since it is not only one life at a time, but many depending on their meticulousness and safety.
So here’s a glass raised, a heartfelt thanks, and a giant high five to those who don’t often get credit but who always should. Here’s to the backbone that keeps things in motion and holds it all together. The Air Force would not be able to function without you!
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