HomeNewsArticle Display

AFE: One stitch between life, death

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Tyler Wineman, 1st Operation Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment technician, stows parachute lines on a T-38 Talon drogue parachute at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Feb. 27, 2017. The AFE parachute shop inspects parachutes regularly to ensure its proper deployment in case of an emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

Senior Airman Tyler Wineman, a 1st Operation Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment technician, stows parachute lines on a T-38 Talon drogue parachute at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Feb. 27, 2017. The AFE parachute shop inspects parachutes regularly to ensure proper deployment in case of an emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

A pilot tests his oxygen mask before flying at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Feb. 27, 2017. Pilots tests their oxygen masks before each flight to ensure they are in working order providing safety for the entirety of their world-wide missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

A pilot tests his oxygen mask before flying at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Feb. 27, 2017. Pilots test their oxygen masks before each flight to ensure they are in working order, providing safety for their world-wide missions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Femylyn Plan, 1st Operation Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment technician, repairs a parachute harness at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Feb. 27, 2017. The harness attaches to the parachute, securing a pilot to the chute in an emergency egress. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

Airman 1st Class Femylyn Plan, a 1st Operation Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment technician, repairs a parachute harness at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Feb. 27, 2017. The harness attaches to the parachute, securing a pilot to the chute in an emergency egress. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. (AFNS) -- “When someone’s life is in your hands, you have to be cognizant that their life depends on you... You only get one chance,” said Senior Airman Tyler Wineman, a 1st Operation Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment technician, alluding to what could happen to a pilot if technicians, like him, did not do their job correctly.

Other 1st Operation Support Squadron Aircrew flight equipment technicians at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, like Wineman, are in charge of maintaining and repairing the equipment needed to increase the survivability of pilots flying a fifth-generation stealth combat fighter aircraft.

For Wineman, who primarily maintains and inspects parachutes, having someone else’s life in his hands is something that resonates with each stitch, stow and fold involved with packing a parachute.

“You have to have a mindset of ‘I feel confident enough to jump with these. I can give it to another person,’” Wineman said. “I’m going to take my time, I’m going to do this right and if something looks wrong, I may have to condemn a chute.”

According to Wineman, who was previously stationed at a base where a parachute was successfully ejected and saved a pilot’s life, faulty chutes have been turned over to be condemned after up to four or more hours of packing.

“He punched out of a jet and my buddy’s name was on the repack, he was an Airman just like me,” Wineman said. “What we do is an important factor – our guys were (also) involved in rescuing him when he came down.”

Along with saving lives during ejection scenarios, AFE technicians maintain routine flight equipment that enables pilots to fly up to altitudes reaching 60,000 feet and at speeds of Mach 2.

“If the helmet goes wrong, if the communication goes wrong, we can fix that by running out to the jet to switch the components and get them back on their flight,” said Senior Airman Patrick Long, a 1st Operation Support Squadron AFE technician. “But if the G-gear fails we have to fit them to an entire new suit.”

The G suit is an antigravity suit that inflates to keep blood flowing regularly when pilots pull positive Gs. In order for it to work properly, AFE technicians must guarantee that the suits inflate to the proper pressures, and that they are not contaminated, ripped, cut or torn, preventing them from failing in flight.

According to Long, if any of those issues caused it to fail, the pilot could pass out, which could lead to ejecting or crashing the jet.

While the G suits and parachutes are time staking and immediately life-saving, every piece of equipment the technicians maintain, from helmets to harnesses, ensures a successful and safe flight.

“It’s very important for us to have acute attention to detail with everything that we do. The slightest error could cause a death or a crash,” Long said. “For instance, the harness holds you to the parachute when you eject. If you miss one little fray in the webbing, the whole thing could unravel and the pilot could unfortunately lose his life.”

Thanks to the care, maintenance and repair performed by the JB Langley-Eustis AFE technicians, the F-22 Raptor and T-38 Talon pilots can face worst-case scenarios with higher levels of survivability as they deliver combat airpower worldwide, at moment’s notice in joint and coalition operations.

Engage

Twitter
RT @AirMobilityCmd: #Airmen from the 436th APS recently loaded an Egyptian air force #130H at #DoverAFB as part of a foreign military sales…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Success will require collaboration within and throughout our joint partnerships to ensure credibility and lethality of ou…
Twitter
These exercises ensure the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB is able to provide the nation with winning combat power.… https://t.co/Q622IA7vsR
Twitter
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: #Teamwork + #Partners = Success! U.S. & German Air Force #JTACs teamed up to call in close air support during exercise #a
Twitter
Night flying exercises provide @48FighterWing aircrew & support personnel the experience needed to maintain a ready… https://t.co/5N20mfHOh3
Twitter
RT @USAF_ACC: .@505th_CCW Shadow Operations Center-Nellis participated in the most recent @usairforce Advanced Battle Management System (AB…
Twitter
The @AFResearchLab uses stimuli-responsive polymers for everything from soft robotic grippers to actuators. Called… https://t.co/ZfkMBa65FU
Twitter
RT @AirmanMagazine: Members of the 413th Test Flight at @TeamEglin, FL., tested three weapons for the HH-60W Jolly Green II. The training…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: I also framed her photo in my office at the pentagon...as a daily reminder of “why” I serve and to “whom” I serve. Ma…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Liz was a well known and loved member of Team Goodfellow. A photo of her was beautifully framed by my wingman, Chief T…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Team — this hits close to home with me. A1C Elizabeth Jacobson wasn’t just the first Security Forces Airman to die duri…
Twitter
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: #AstralKnight 2020 is an Integrated Air & Missile Defense exercise that enhances regional security with our @NATO partners…
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: Johnson brothers ARTs of maintenance missions (Story by the @403rdWing) #ReserveReady #ReserveResilient #ReadyAF https://…
Twitter
RT @SpaceForceCSO: On this Gold Star Mother’s & Family Day…we remember. We remember those who have fallen in service to our great nation. W…
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: To wear the Gold Star button means a military family member has lost a loved one in uniform. On this #GoldStarMothersDay
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: A Gold Star Family is the immediate family member(s) of a fallen service member who died while serving in a time of con…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Wingmen — Since 1936, our nation has recognized the last Sunday of September as Gold Star Mother’s Day. In 2011, we inc…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: The U.S. is safe because of the men & women, supported by strong and courageous families, who volunteer to protect it. T…
Twitter
A USAF KC-135 Stratotanker, F-15C Eagles, F-15E Strike Eagles, & Royal Saudi Air Force F-15SAs fly over Saudi Arabi… https://t.co/hKfSBTpFmJ
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,284,161
Follow Us