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Unsung Technicians Ensure C-130s Are Ready to Fly

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Colton Tessness

Air Force Reserve Command is home to countless unsung heroes – people who quietly do their jobs every day to ensure AFRC can carry out its mission of providing combat-ready forces to fly, fight and win.

Take the instrument and flights system technicians assigned to the 934th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Minneapolis-St. Paul Air Reserve Station, Minnesota, for example. Without fanfare, these highly skilled technicians maintain the flight control systems on all of the 934th Airlift Wing’s C-130s, making sure the wing’s aircraft stay mission ready.

“We are in charge of most of the indicating instruments in the cockpit and flight deck and various transmitters that correspond with them,” said Tech. Sgt. Robert Leif, 934th AMXS instrument and flight control systems technician.

Several instruments in the aircraft are vital for the safe flight of passengers and crew members. A plane would be at an elevated safety risk without fully operational systems.

The instrument and flight control systems technicians at the 934th recently replaced a Pitot probe on one of the wing’s C-130s. Pitot probes take air inputs and convert them into signals for air speeds and altitudes.

“There are two Pitot probes located on the aircraft,” Leif said. “If both probes aren’t working, the pilot will receive erroneous readings that they’re going either slower or faster than the speed they are actually going.”

These types of issues are not uncommon with aircraft, and thanks to the technical skills of instrument and flight systems members, they can be fixed in an efficient way that keeps aircraft from staying grounded. This kind of work requires extensive knowledge of all the different systems inside the plane.

“With some jobs you might find yourself doing only electrical stuff or only mechanical stuff,” Leif said. “This one has a good balance between the two. It touches on all aspects of the plane, from navigation to engines and offers the opportunity to be hands-on in all aspects.”

The instrument and flight control systems technicians take great pride in their work and enjoy the sense of satisfaction they get from a job well done.

“It’s rewarding to fix issues with the plane and actually see the aircraft take off after you fix something,” said instrument and flight control systems technician Staff. Sgt. Rachelle Berry.

(Tessness is assigned to the 934th Airlift Wing public affairs office.)