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The art of aircraft structure
Senior Airman Scott Trombley, 92nd Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintainer, primers aircraft brackets Aug. 6, 2010, at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. After these brackets dry, they are ready for paint. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Airman 1st Class Natasha E. Stannard)
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Fairchild structural maintenance Airmen keep tankers ready

Posted 11/7/2010   Updated 11/8/2010 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Natasha E. Stannard
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

11/7/2010 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Leonardo DaVinci created his art on canvas. Beethoven composed music on the piano. Ansel Adams shot his with film and Fairchild structural maintenance fabrication Airmen use metal in the art of maintaining the structural integrity of their canvas -- aircraft.

"We give direct support to the flightline by doing all that needs to be done with the structural integrity of the aircraft," said Senior Airman Scott Trombley, aircraft structural maintainer. "Anything that happens to the fabrication tankers is taken care of by us, so if there are issues they can't fly without us. "

Airmen with the 92nd Maintenance Squadron's aircraft structural maintenance fabrication flight work day and night, seven days a week to support the Fairchild mission by repairing, maintaining and keeping all 35 Fairchild tankers mission ready by rebuilding and fabricating aircraft components, Airman Trombley said.

"We repair essential aircraft components, to include painting and unit markings, and fixing anything from rivets to control surfaces," Airman Trombley said. "We also change unit markings for other units including Pacific Air Forces."

In order to fix those varied issues, the shop of 39 follows a very dense and detailed technical order, which they must research before working on a structural issue, said Master Sgt. Xavier Gutierrez, flight NCO in charge.

"Our very detailed technical orders dictate whether we manufacture, repair or replace a part," Sergeant Gutierrez said.

For instance, if there are aircraft parts needed in a rapid manner they will look up if they can fabricate them.

Also, they fix pieces of the aircraft so entire parts like a wing don't need to be ordered, which helps the Air Force economically, Airman Trombley said.

The numerous routes to fix aircraft components gives these Airman a great deal of creative freedom and responsibility in this field.

"We're able to use creative aspects in everything," Airman Trombley said. "With all the different tools and equipment, there are multiple ways to create one part and we get to choose."

Along with creativity, come other components, which add to successfully repairing the aircraft.

"It takes a lot of patience and concentration because if you mess up on a part that took you 10 hours you have to start all over," Airman Trombley said.

While this job demands a lot it also gives back tenfold.

According to Airman 1st Class Jason Tancetti, aircraft structural maintainer, "Going home at the end of the day, knowing you accomplished something to save the mission and support air cover for all the ground troops deployed is very rewarding,"

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