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Aerospace ground equipment: No air power without ground power

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  • By U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Victoria Boyton
  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Generators rumble, air compressors hiss and Airmen mobilize. The flightline works as a well-oiled machine. Before any aircraft can take off, a series of inspections must be completed. The maintainer’s equipment is essential for maintaining aircraft, but who maintains the maintainer’s equipment?

The 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Ground Equipment shop provides the equipment used by crew chiefs and other aircraft maintainers on the flightline.

The AGE team works together to ensure equipment is in good condition to help the mission succeed. Due to normal wear and tear, AGE also routinely inspects equipment. 

Generators, hydraulics and bomb loading equipment are only a few of the pieces to the flightline AGE Airmen maintain.

The flightline is a fast-paced environment requiring equipment to work properly at all times. Staff Sgt. Tyler Danneker, 4th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 336th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, recalls an incident where AGE Airmen responded quickly to a problem, allowing the aircraft to depart on schedule.

“We were about to put an F-15E Strike Eagle on tripod jacks, one of the tripod jacks wasn’t working properly,” said Danneker. “AGE came out and on the spot, fixed the valve. We were able to get the jet up in the air, and it actually saved us on troubleshooting and fixing the components that we needed fixed.”

Not only do AGE members repair equipment on location, each night they set up and maintain the flood lights used to illuminate the flightline. Even on days the flightline is closed due to inclement weather conditions, the AGE shop continues operations.

“We’re pretty busy,” said Staff Sgt. Patrick Sellers, 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Ground Equipment technician. “We don’t really have down time, even when the flightline isn’t running, we’re here working. Without our equipment the crew chiefs and other maintainers for the aircraft can’t do maintenance,” Sellers added.

Having a full work load requires each member of the AGE team to have as much knowledge of the equipment as possible. Repairs provide the AGE team with the opportunity to teach less experienced Airmen in the shop. The teaching moments help AGE team members learn to overcome particular obstacles.

“Every day is a learning experience,” said Senior Airman Daniel Angulo-Negron, 4th EMS AGE technician. “Every day is training. Sometimes you hit a wall the technical order doesn’t prepare you for, that’s when I go to the experienced people.”

Having the opportunity to train the newer Airmen and pass on experiences with the equipment, helps Airmen expand their own knowledge as well, said Sellers. With the demanding job of AGE it is essential Airmen are up to date with information about the equipment.

Even with the high-paced, demanding environment, Airmen manage to keep morale high while simultaneously ensuring the repaired equipment returns to the flightline in a timely manner.

“Working with the other Airmen makes life and the day go a lot easier,” said Angulo-Negron. “Having a good solid team makes the job enjoyable. Having people you get along with, you can push the equipment out. We pull together as a team. Everyone here gathers together and tries to pitch in where they can to get the mission done.”