The fuel good people

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Brandon Shapiro
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Whether holding steady at 35,000 feet, making a midair fuel transfer, or engaged in a close combat dogfight, the last thing an aircrew needs to worry about is a faulty fuel system.

At MacDill Air Force Base, the 6th Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuel systems technicians have more than their fair share of work cut out for them. Being that this Air Mobility Command base is formed around 16 KC-135 Stratotanker refuelers, increased importance is placed on the reliability of each of the aircraft's 200,000 lb. fuel capacity systems.

Today's mission had Staff Sgt. Erin Fields and Senior Airman Michael Cordle, 6th MXS AFS technicians, 10 feet deep within a wing, repairing one of the over 30 fuel probes that pepper the innards of the aircraft.

Armed with a smorgasbord of personal protective equipment, and a handful of specialized tools designed for hazardous and confined spaces maintenance, the two got the job done. The faulty probe was removed and inspected, a new probe was installed, and restructured wiring was relayed.

"Properly functioning fuel systems components are vital to our mission," commented Fields. "Each part must be fully-functional so that exact calculations can be made by the aircraft's fuel quantity evaluation system."

Although this may seem like an uncanny task, this was just a typical day for the two highly trained, troubleshooting specialists--ensuring functionality is a continuous process.

"Learning every inch of a plane's fuel system and the importance of being meticulous and precise at all times is imperative--with each job there's no room for error," commented Fields. "We may always be busy, but man, this is such a rewarding job. Just knowing that my crew and I were the reason an aircraft was once again able to take flight and continue its mission puts a smile on my face."