Built to spec, made with care

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman John A. Crawford
  • 47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Air Force uses a diverse array of aircraft to complete a wide variety of specialty missions for the U.S. Department of Defense. Even as powerful as these aircraft are, at the end of the day, they are still machinery that need to be repaired.

Each aircraft the Air Force uses contains specially made parts unique to each airframe. When these parts begin to show normal wear-and-tear or require more specialized parts, it’s up to the talented and skilled machinists of the 47th Flying Training Wing Maintenance Directorate to fabricate the parts required from metal blanks to meet the specific requirements to return any aircraft to the skies.

“I like my job because it’s always something different every day,” said Kyle Nettleton, a 47th MXD machinist. “We can make jigs, or parts for ground vehicle repairs, whatever kind of things people need.”

From jet engine internal parts to wing structures to brake pads, any part that needs to be replaced goes through the maintenance directorate civil servants and contractors to be disassembled, inspected and replaced as needed during regularly scheduled intervals.

Parts move through a Repair Processing Center who assigns different parts to move to different facilities where they are cleaned and inspected, and then moved either back to the aircraft if the part meets rigorous testing standards, or to the fabrication shop to construct a new piece.

“As part of the RPC we do the scheduling, updating, processing and moving the parts,” said Deanna McCracken, a 47th MXD production control specialist. “All of the equipment that comes off the airplanes and the aircrew ground equipment gets processed through here.”

Through the hard work and dedication, the machinists and fabrications shop keeps the 47th FTW able to keep flying on schedule and safely.