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    Straight Shooter Knows Angles

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    Photo By Seaman Trent Hawkins | 190916-N-YD547-0050 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 16, 2019) Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd...... read more read more

    Slot-checking is the final step to ensure jets are safe for flight. A computerized system communicates between maintenance personnel and pilots to summarize the status of major components prior to take-off. Any discrepancy could lead to catastrophe.

    The expertise and precision of Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class Joseph Ayala, assigned to the "Gunslingers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 105 identified a critical detail the computerized systems were unable to detect. He was able to see from afar the slight variation in degrees on the wings of an F/A-18E Super Hornet and knew something was not right. His keen attention to detail allowed for a closer look at the aircraft, which resulted in taking it out of the rotation for flight operations.

    “The results could have been catastrophic resulting in loss of aircraft or life,” said Ayala. “The cost was approximately in the range of $60 million.”

    Ayala received a Navy Achievement Medal (NAM) for his work. The commanding officer of VFA 105 expeditiously awarded him a “Spot NAM,”which requires fewer stages for routing channels and possibly increases the honor and merit behind the recognition.

    “I aspire to his leadership abilities,” said Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Patrick Scupp, a corrosion technician assigned to VFA-105. “He guided me through a lot of training including my enlisted aviation warfare specialist certification.”

    The leading petty officer for VFA 105’s air-framers work center, Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Brennan McIntyre, said Ayala is an asset to his team. He values the capabilities of the air-framers’ work center to operate with cohesion. He said Ayala trained his colleagues to work interchangeably and sees tasks to completion effectively.

    “He’s a good addition to the shop,” said McIntyre. “We depend on him for a lot of the work we do. I couldn’t be prouder of how we work together as a unit.”

    Ayala continues to lead his team of both corrosion control and air-framers to keep the “Gunslingers” flying high and ready to fight.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.02.2020
    Date Posted: 05.11.2020 03:14
    Story ID: 369675
    Location: ARABIAN SEA

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