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    Flying crew chiefs bridging the gap between operations and maintenance

    Flying crew chiefs bridging the gap between operations and maintenance

    Photo By 2nd Lt. Aileen Lauer | Flying crew chiefs from the 96th Aircraft Maintenance Unit stand in front of a B-52...... read more read more



    Story by 2nd Lt. Aileen Lauer 

    2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

    MORÓN AIR BASE, Spain – Crew chiefs from the 96th Aircraft Maintenance Unit are continuously working on the ground and in the air as part of Bomber Task Force operations while deployed at Moron Air Base, Spain.

    Being a flying crew chief on a B-52H Stratofortress is no easy feat. While deployed in forward operating locations, flying crew chiefs use their technical expertise to provide air and ground support to ensure mission success.

    “Flying crew chiefs and the master technician program are a huge value added to the B-52,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Duff, 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron commander “They provide a crucial link between operations and maintenance teams by either fixing issues during the flight or identifying root causes to maintenance problems that occur in flight, so they can be expeditiously rectified post flight”

    Understanding an in-flight issue from the ground can be a challenge for maintenance, since they are not seeing what the aircrews are seeing in real time. The knowledge and skills flying crew chiefs have provide on the spot assistance in the air.

    “Some of us are specialists in one job or another and we can troubleshoot or provide expertise while flying,” said Tech. Sgt. Austin West, 96th AMU Instrument Flight Control Systems craftsman and flying crew chief master technician. “By trade I am an Instrument Flight Control Systems craftsman not a crew chief, but through becoming highly proficient in my trade and advancing through professional development opportunities I became a flying crew chief and master technician.”

    With the increase of bomber task force missions, the B-52 flies over areas where there is no B-52 support or personnel on site.

    The B-52 is the only bomber with flying crew chiefs. They are a dynamic member of the aircrew providing support during long duration sorties. If the B-52 did need to divert to an unintended location, the flying crew chief could quickly service the aircraft and have it fueled up ready to get back on route.

    “Flying crew chiefs are an incredible asset because they know the aircraft inside and out,” said Capt. “Auto” George, 96th BS weapons system officer. “These crew chiefs bridge the gap between the operations and maintenance squadrons and ultimately help both sides become ready for combat at a moment’s notice.”

    Flying crew chiefs are effective players when they are in forward deployed operating locations. Strategic bomber missions enhance the readiness and training that flying crew chiefs need in order to respond to any challenge or crisis.

    “I take great pride in not only working on the B-52 airframe but flying on it,” West said. “I get to network with fellow maintainers and intermingle with the aircrew bringing forth full interoperability to the squadron.”



    Date Taken: 06.17.2021
    Date Posted: 06.17.2021 07:16
    Story ID: 399141
    Location: MORóN AIR BASE, ES 

    Web Views: 2,572
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