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U.S. Air Force Maintainers—Training Pipeline


When trainees first come through the
pipeline, they’ll get to the shop, and they’ll thank that
day one they’re good to get to go out and work on the aircraft. But for the
most part they have to go through some initial training. They have to go through
orientation, things of that nature, so it’s usually a few weeks before they’re actually out on the flight line doing the work. The biggest thing is that
you’re not gonna be fixing aircraft right away. You need to learn the basics
before you do the harder things. When you are in tech school you know you are
aircraft armament. Trainees do assume that you are gonna be using live
munitions, but in reality, you’re not. You’re going to be using inert munitions, dummy
rounds… The only time you’ll actually use live munitions is if you are actually
trying to complete a mission. When you get there you have to learn the
fundamentals of maintenance, so wiring and then learning the maintenance side
of the weapons. There’s two phases of tech school for aircraft armament. You have
the beginning phase, which is… Basically you learn your tools, you learn how to
safety-wire, you learn how to electrically diagnose a problem. Once you
get out on to the second phase of your tech school, you are learning to
drive munition trucks–the machines that lift the bomb and make it easier for you
to apply them to the aircraft. Once you get to the floor, you will basically
start learning the munitions, the panels and all that. Dedication is definitely a factor to get
through training. Study as hard as you can, ask as many questions, maybe even
do some research on your own. Talk to more experienced maintainers,
anything you can do to learn more about the job or more about the aircraft you
know you might be working on. If you’re not willing to put in the time to study
all the complicated details of it, you might not do so well with the block
tests. A block is a series of instruction on a specific subject, and then at the
end of each block there’s a test. They can vary from 10 questions all the way up to
100, depending on what you’re learning. If you do not pass the block test, you don’t
go forward to the next portion of training. My advice would be keep your
nose in the book. When the instructor highlights certain items, highlight those
items. Make sure you know what that section is. It doesn’t take that much
time to go back and read, and to do the cumulative reviews in the book, and to go
over the questions, and then to self test your questions with your classmates. When you’re in technical training school
you have to start learning the theory first, prior to understanding the
application because your theory is your base knowledge. Your theory is where
things start. I would say 98% of what we learn is on-the-job training. Some of the
aspects that you learn on the job is how to do the job faster, honestly.
Tech school does a really good job of telling you, “hey, these are the basics.
Here’s how to hold a drill. Here’s how to drill. Here’s what you’re looking for
when you’re drilling.” And then when you go on the job you’re really learning,
“okay, this is how you really hold the drill to make sure that you’re fast and
efficient,” and that you don’t really have to do it twice.
Not one maintainer knows everything about an aircraft. It takes a team of
people. You’re paired with other Airmen, Senior Airmen, to teach you all the
things that they’ve been taught, and that knowledge gets continually passed down
from the Staff Sergeants to the Tech Sergeants who are responsible in making
sure that you are constantly being trained on the job. I think when new
trainees get to their first duty station, their first love is finally touching a
unit, and it has a problem, and they fix it. And everything all of a sudden clicks. It’s one of the coolest things to see, when somebody finally clicks, and they
get it, and they’ve done it. They’ve become a mechanic.

Tony wyaad

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Jose Wilder Patiño Alzate Posted on October 16, 2019 at 12:27 am

    Excelente trabajo y de atmirar felicitaciones 👍👍👍

    Reply
  2. Sam Hopkins Posted on October 16, 2019 at 5:11 am

    My grandma was an aircraft maintainer in his time as an Airman back in the 1950s-60s. It’s detail oriented work with no room for mistakes. This is especially true when you’re deployed to a live theater of war and working night and day to get the planes ready for the next day’s air operations.

    Reply
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