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    AFE Airmen ensure pilot safety

    AFE Airmen ensure pilot safety

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Christopher Maldonado | U.S. Air Force Senior Airmen Brittany Cup Choy, 20th Operations Support Squadron...... read more read more



    Story by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado 

    20th Fighter Wing

    Team Shaw has a facility that houses more than 30 Airmen, all of whom inspect and troubleshoot numerous pieces of lifesaving equipment every day.

    Examining cord by cord, thread by thread, 20th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment Airmen work behind the scenes to ensure the safety of service members they support.

    Upon entering the AFE work center, Airmen are greeted by two rows of long tables. One piece of equipment, a parachute defined by colorful cloth, is removed from one of the tables and unraveled by AFE Airmen for inspection.

    This 28-foot chute, which is made of rip-stop nylon and was more than 5,000 feet in the air weeks prior, is due for review.

    “On average we receive around 100 parachutes annually,” said Tech. Sgt. Brandon Blankensop, 20th OSS AFE lead trainer. “The parachutes undergo inspections prior to any deployment or temporary duty.”

    The parachutes entering the work center are inspected by AFE Airmen for wear and tear and undergo installation of suspension lines and pilot tubes, which determine proper ejection modes and ensure safe ejections.

    “If the parachutes are not inspected properly, they could become tangled or twisted,” said Senior Airman Ryan Loparo, 20th OSS AFE journeyman. “If the parachutes become tangled it could hinder the ejection and safety of the aircrew member.”

    Along with parachutes, AFE Airmen inspect and pack survival kits for pilots which are stocked with a life raft, beacon devices, radio, cold weather gear and other items intended to increase survivability.

    “The survival kits are important because, after ejection, they will expel which deploys the life raft in case the crew members are over water,” said Blankensop. “All of this will stay attached to the pilot until he disconnects upon landing. It also contains all of the necessary components to help them evade, communicate, survive, and be rescued.”

    Blankensop went on to say that there is nothing more rewarding than knowing a parachute packed by the AFE Airmen got a pilot to the ground safely.

    “Due to the nature of this job, there is no room for error,” said Blankensop.

    Ensuring the safety of service members is the number one priority for AFE Airmen. Taking care of the numerous aircrew is one of the many feats these Airmen accomplish and will continue to accomplish across the Air Force.



    Date Taken: 03.14.2018
    Date Posted: 03.14.2018 10:40
    Story ID: 269335

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