AGE flight keeps B-2s flying

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Nick Wilson
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
As critical as the mission is for the B-2 Spirit to be able to maintain air superiority, it's also important for the 509th Maintenance Squadron's Aerospace Ground Equipment Flight to ensure equipment is operational to support daily maintenance operations that keep the B-2s flying.

The AGE flight maintains more than 800 pieces of equipment across the base valued at $54 million.

"We maintain equipment that tests services and troubleshoots aircraft systems while the aircraft is on the ground," said Senior Master Sgt. Carl Collins, 509th MXS AGE flight chief.

The equipment maintained is used to provide power to aircraft and supply hydraulic pressure for landing gear among other things.

"When equipment on the flightline needs to be repaired, serviced or inspected our service pickup and delivery section will pick up the equipment and bring it back to our shop," Collins said. "When it arrives, a technician will determine if a problem exists. If a problem has been identified, the technician will troubleshoot the equipment to find problems and begin maintenance."

One of the toughest challenges about maintaining the equipment is that replacement parts have become scarce in the supply inventory, according to Collins.

After the maintenance process is complete, AGE Airmen are required to complete inspection checklists certifying the equipment is ready for use. The flight has 40 inspection checklists and each have 75-100 items to inspect.

"From start to finish we'll do a look-phase inspection, go through the work cards and check for any compliance issues," said Master Sgt. Doug Ross, 509th MXS munitions AGE NCO in charge. "If we discover any, we'll do a write-up. From there, we'll go into a repair phase and a seven-level craftsman will inspect the work."

If AGE maintainers aren't able to conduct maintenance and inspections on their equipment, the B-2 won't be able to have heavy munitions loaded or even takeoff, Collins said.

"These Airmen work very hard," Ross said. "It's good to see that they still come in to work with smiles on their faces; ready to get the job done."