Maintaining electricity flow a turn of a wrench

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Keenan Berry
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Maintaining electricity flow a turn of a wrench

By Airman 1st Class Keenan Berry

509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


The B-2 Spirit is known for its stealth and ability to successfully complete missions in a timely manner. However, it cannot live up to its name without the multiple maintenance shops ensuring it functions properly.

The 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron electrical environmental crew is one of many maintenance shops who make sure the aircraft are prepared to respond to any given situation.

The AMXS electrical environmental crew works 24/7 to ensure the B-2 and their Airmen are mission ready at all times.

"Our job is to maintain twenty B-2s on a daily basis, train Airmen to get to know this job and aircraft very well," said Tech Sgt. Broderick Jones, 509th AMXS aircraft electrical and environmental systems craftsman. "This also includes helping them understand how we implement core values into aircraft maintenance and take instructions listed in our technical orders (TO) and thoroughly employ them. This is done so they can understand it's not just about wrenching an aircraft. We are performing a task every day allowing the Air Force to constantly produce missions in support of its national interests."

The AMXS electrical environmental crew takes pride in ensuring the task is performed properly.

"Our work has to be absolutely accurate, that's why we have TOs," said Senior Airman Matthew Quick, 509th AMXS electrical environmental journeyman. "When we document our work via aircraft forms or log books, we must ensure it was done in accordance with TO standards to ensure the aircraft can fly and bring home our pilots harm free."

"Inadequate troubleshooting" is guessing. The B-2 is a $2.2 billion aircraft and its components are equally expensive. Inadequate troubleshooting can cause the Air Force to lose a substantial amount of time and money because of guessing what the problem is. This is why it's important the AMXS electrical environmental crew know the aircraft and systems thoroughly enough to explain what is going on when an issue arises.

Along with accuracy, the AMXS electrical environmental crew must perform task properly under set deadlines.

"There is a deadline for every aircraft maintenance section," said Jones. "We can't take twelve hours to perform something that takes two hours because the aircraft are needed. They must be prepared within a timely manner for any mission that comes down the pipeline from Air Force Global Strike Command."

AFGSC is constantly updated with statuses provided through the AMXS Production Office by information from the AMXS electrical environmental crew.

"Our production is the entity that handles gathering the status updates," said Jones. "We have a group of Master Sgts., Senior Master Sgts. and Chief Master Sgts. who brief our unit commanders on what's going on. The information goes up the chain of command to the General and he delivers it to AFGSC. The AFGSC constantly knows the status of how many aircraft we have and their status based off the information they receive. This is why a deadline exists; if we say we are going to replace a part, we usually have to say how long it will take so that updated statuses can make it up the chain."

The AMXS electrical environmental crew uses a wide variety of equipment and works with different maintenance shops to help them complete specific tasks.

"The equipment we use to work on the aircraft stems from test equipment we use to calibrate the aircraft to make sure the systems are working like they are supposed to," said Jones. "We have equipment that can service the aircraft as well to make sure the generators and other components are functioning, oiled and cooled properly. We also have a group of aerospace ground equipment (AGE) maintainers that supply us with the proper AGE we need to work on the aircraft. We use AGE to allow bleed air to come onto the aircraft so we can create equipment cooling, cabin cooling, temperature control and weapons cooling. We also have aircraft specific AGE, which gives us power on this aircraft. So we can fuel, jack, tow, and get on top the aircraft to perform further maintenance."

The AMXS electrical environmental crew is one of the main factors in a working B-2 because without them, the aircraft is at a stand-still.

"We are needed because if there aren't any electricians to go out and troubleshoot these components and know the systems, we won't have any power going where it needs to go," said Quick. "In return, it hinders the pilots from doing their mission."
It's important the AMXS electrical environmental crew is cautious of the harmful elements implemented within the work environment.

"The dangers in our career field are engine air intake, exhaust temperature and blast areas behind the aircraft and lack of situational awareness," said Jones. "If our situational awareness isn't sharp, we could seriously get hurt by the aircraft. We must wear personal protective equipment to protect ourselves from aircraft fluids and limit exposure to them. Slipping hazards can come from fluids leaking from the aircraft onto the floor. We must be cautious and not only for our own safety, but each other's."

Aside from the harmful elements there is sense of enjoyment, pride and enthusiasm implemented within the daily tasks.

"I enjoy this job because not everyone is capable of doing this," said Jones. "This job that's requires us to know a lot about what we are doing and to be able to perform tasks within a timely manner along with providing accurate information when it is needed. I truly love my job and strive to be a great example for the Airmen I lead!"