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Beneath the skies: Aircrew Flight Equipment

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Delano Scott
  • 322nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Every day, a bevy of different 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing aircraft fly in harms way across Southwest Asia to deliver air power in support of U.S. Central Command missions. However, before any aircrew member steps toward their aircraft, they must first visit the aircrew flight equipment section.

The 332nd AEW aircrew flight equipment section ensures all the life support equipment is ready to meet the demands of the mission.

“We provide pilots with the equipment they need in order to survive,” said Staff Sgt. Kayla Stennis, 391st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron AFE craftsman. “Whether that’s providing oxygen equipment so they’re able to properly breathe in flight or prepping parachutes for an emergency ejection, our mission is to make sure aircrew members come back safe and sound.”

The AFE shop works around the clock to ensure an aircrew member’s daily equipment, which includes G-suits, night vision goggles, harnesses, helmets and oxygen masks, is ready to go at a moment’s notice. Pilots must also go through an AFE-conducted preflight check to ensure all their equipment is in working order.

In addition to these items, there is another important piece of gear every Air Force pilot needs: their survival kit.

“As aircrew flight equipment technicians, we’re not only responsible for what the pilots need while they’re flying, we’re also responsible for what they need if they’re in a survival-evasion situation after an ejection,” said Airman 1st Class Michael Mulherin, 493rd EFS AFE apprentice.

Flares, a raft, life preservers, life support harnesses, and assorted other items are included in each survival kit.

“Without their survival kits, it would take away a huge chunk of their ability to be rescued in the event that someone goes down,” Mulherin said.

With missions going out anytime, day or night, the AFE Airmen understand the importance of their work and ensure it’s done to perfection.  

“The continued trust the pilots have in us is proof that our work is important,” Mulherin said. “It’s our job to not let them down.”