IamA US Air Force Jet Engine Mechanic that just got out of the service Please AMA!
My short bio: I was a jet engine mechanic for 6 years in the air force been stationed in Germany and California
Edit 1: sorry been kinda late on responses past couple hours guys it was great talking to all of you but im going to bed will be back tomorrow night everyone
i only worked on 2 aircraft the c-130 H and J model (so tech 3 the j model was very different) and the kc-135 refueler i hated the c-130 it is a 4 fan trash can esp the old models break constantly and are mostly hydro mechanical propellers so complicated hard to work on and the J model was very computerized and had alot of tech crap that was very confusing the kc-135 i loved it very reliable engine same as on 737's mostly easy to work on also because it was designed to be a commercial jet engine (it is called Commercial Fan Motor-56 or CFM-56)
Those are the four fans of freedom!
kc-135 def the c-130 vibrated alot and is very slow with not the best range for instance if we flew from germany to say maine we had to go to UK refuel iceland refuel canada refuel the kc135 is smooth MASSIVE range because its a refueler it can hold around 200k+ fuel (around 32250 gallons if my math is right) could go from california to turkey straight shot
How much of the university knowledge apply in the field?
basic science and math for eng efficiency runs and such it was mainly about logic being a mechanic you just got to really know how everything works and how it effects everything else to best troubleshoot whatever problem is going on i hope i answered your question right im not 100% sure what you meant exactly
I understand that your job is more about knowing how a certain piece of equipmnet/vehicle works and I guess, deals with lesser number crunching.
What I was asking was whether the theories (stuff like, but not limited to, newtons law of cooling) or stuff asked in exams apply so directly to your work.
I am asking because I am in my final year of highschool and want to know what to expect. I guess this might be the wrong place to ask but is still worth a shot.
ok now i get you yes it helps alot the more you know the better you do at your job and with being a jet eng mech peoples life hang in the balance the more you know the better you will do thats what being a mechanic is all about how shit works
Have you started college through the Montgomery GI Bill yet?
they switched it to the post 9-11 gi bill a few years ago (quite a few differences from the Montgomery bill and better) but no i haven't started college yet still trying to get settled and figure some things out before i can start hopefully in spring semester
yes and thats my plan the school im looking at isnt a yellow ribbon school sadly and just need to sort myself and some things in my life out before i make that commitment
I just read about a new law that forces colleges to charge you for in-state tuition. Here's the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GI_Bill_Tuition_Fairness_Act_of_2013
thanks i really appreciate it good looking out
not from what i got from it it applies to instate also
What's the daily grind of someone in your field?
get up before the sun make sure me and my uniform is presentable (shave haircut in regs ect) go to work to morning "roll call" flight chiefs verify everyone who should be there is there get the flying schedule and told any maint that needs to be done (timed preventive maint and such or if doing a big job turnover from previous shift) after higher ranking people go to office to do paperwork and such lower would get all tools for the day depending on what needed to do that day would go do what we needed or just sat around doing training and everything else until we heard our callsign on the radio or when a jet lands with problems and of course play political games whenever we werent doing anything pretty much sums it up
Now that you are out of the service? Are you going to work in the private sector?
no my body has taken a toll from my service mainly from a motorcycle accident though but it is hard work and alot of peoples bodies do break down without accidents i have constant knee and leg pain hip and shoulder are messed up too i want to do something less strenuous
Does the service provide ongoing health care for these issues?
if you serve 20 years and retire yes if not (like me) only if it is service connected i might get disability for it since it happened while i was in the military but im sure you have seen on the news about the VA lately i just started that process not long ago to be honest
They may have had you do it during out-processing, but if you haven't already it's probably a good idea for you to make an e-benefits account on the VA website. From there you can check the status of your claims and everything.
Also I'm not sure if you still have base access, but if your installation had an Airmen and Family Readiness Center or equivalent, there may be a VA spokesperson there that can give you more specific advice regarding your individual situation.
Good luck man!
yeah i made the e benifits right before i left as part of outprocessing but i dont even have my dd214 yet my DOS is sept 8 i been on terminal and house hunting leave for a bit but thanks for the help!
LPT: If you've not done so already, hook up with one of the vets groups. DAV made my claim so much easier.
thankfully where im at in texas the city has vet services center and they have been helping me but i thank you for the tip
As long as you've got some help. The VA can be a nightmare to navigate.
ive heard nothing but nightmares ive never heard someone say someting good about them worse reviews than comcast lol
Well, I will say that any given person probably doesn't want to see you personally fucked over. But like all large organizations, there is too much bureaucracy and their hands are frequently tied in regards to how much they can actually do to prevent that.
Add in a huge influx of vets in the last few years with the downsizing of the military, and an undermanned VA you can see where the problems stem from.
For something positive without any caveats, I have had Tri-Care for a large portion of my life (being a brat, then active duty myself), Blue Cross for a while as a civilian, no insurance for a bit, and the VA health care for the last few years. Things my vary from place to place, but the VA hospital I go to hasn't had me waiting any longer for appointments, or had me get any worse care than I ever with with any other health care system.
glad to hear something good out of it as you know how the military works it seems like the same system with the va but it is what it is i just dont have alot of faith in the system anymore
What was the best part? What was the worst part?
best part by far the people (even though there were many bad ones most people get into clicks and mainly hang out with those people) i was lucky at my last base in cali all of jet engine shop was pretty cool with each other for the most part and we joked alot and just had a good time as for the worst part i would def say adapting to military culture i for one had a hard time adjusting (i left at 18 and first time without my family being to easy to talk to for support) the loneliness and idk how else to describe it to someone who never exp it but the military culture is very demanding and you are forced to adapt to it if you like it or not alot of people have trouble letting go of "that person" after work or after they get out causing identity crisis that in my opinion is the worst part for me because i am dealing with that myself
Were you at Lemoore NAS?
no have never been there
Best experience in Germany?
with friends: one of the guys i work with that was the man-whore of the squadron started hitting on a girl ended up getting a bj from her behind the bar took her back to base...found out it was a dude personally: exploring europe and WW II history and having my mom and dad come out for a week during christmas went to paris black forest and the famous rhine river tour
Are your skills easily transferable to the civilian world?
I knew one guy who swore he used to repair attack helicopters in the army, but can't get a decent job.
yes but you need to get a FAA certification to transfer to the civilian side and most (like 99%) of the people that still wanted to do it that i know of after they got out had no problem finding work in aircraft maintenance idk how exactly the army works their mechanics (the air force use to have "shreads" of my job one works on this eng another shread on that eng and so on with each engine usually being in only 1 or 2 aircraft in the air force) maybe the army had him as a helicopter only idk but its still essentially the same maybe its a bad area hes looking for a job?
Wait, so you don't have your A&P?
no i dont
cfm-56 in the kc-135r and the t-56 in c-130 older models and forgot the name of the one in the j model to be honest
-7? -5? Just curious, we build test fixtures for this engine type at work a lot.
AE2100 in the -J models.
thats it lol i should have just googled it
thats ok i've been a C-130J avionics troop for years
where are you at?
Altus now but I was at Little Rock and Ramstein
when were you in rammstein? i was there 2009 - 2011
If you had to do it all over again would you choose to the the same AFSC?
no def not anything in the maintenance field
What about security forces?
def agree maintenance field and security forces are by far the worst ones to get into
No way. There are way worse jobs. Anything in mpf or finance. Command post (possibly the worst of all),services, knowledge ops makes you a record keeper.
cant really argue with you there either
Do you feel that budget is ever put ahead of quality? Have you ever been forced to do a half assed job?
FUCK YES i wont be shy to say it "do more with less" is the name of the game while they are concerned about safety as a priority budget issues was affecting things and were only getting worse when i left
What was the worst destruction you ever had to repair?
bird guts = engine change but also means trying to get as much of the bird out of the engine as poss mostly was just parts swapping but the worst thing i saw was in germany new pilot landed the less than year old c-130J so hard it buckled just forward of the cargo door on the bottom
What will you do next? Is it easy to get a job with your skill and is that what you want?
i will go to college start my life again i can get a job at a airport or anyone who needs aircraft work done the military will even pay to get your FAA certification so you can work on civilian aircraft and it is somewhat easy as long as you have the certification but as much as i liked being a mechanic i want to move on to other things right now i want to get away form the manual side i have a messed up leg knee hip and shoulder from a motorcycle accident that causes pain so i dont want to do that forever
there are actual jet washes lol but i know what you mean like a "echo check" where new guy would yell into the intake of the jet to see if it "vibrates" right or get 100 yards of flightline (the flightline is where the jets are parked) or get some k9p cleaner they would usually fall for it
yes actually i worked with ALOT of crew chiefs they made up half our squadron too much to type would be happy to talk to him too much to put in here PM me thank you for saying thank you
how were your interaction(s) with the jet pilots?
some are cool some are dickheads that try to tell me how to do my job some think they are kings of the world and i have to suck their dick with a smile and be happy to do it theres one saying we had "high school education to fix it but a college education to really fuck it up in the first place"
With the horrible turmoil in Iraq since the withdrawal of forces, has this effected your perception or impression of your service? What about for the general morale of your average airman?
that is a much deeper question than you prob know alot of people feel like it was all a waste like why did we ever go why did i give my blood sweat tears and time from my family where my wife left me which leads to why did my friend die and so on you can imagine the downward spiral that can create the moral has been very low for a very long time and i mean before i came in from what i saw but we do what we need to and get through whatever we are tasked to do if we like it or not or agree with it or not just like any corporation and such leadership is disconnected from the people actually doing it so yes it does bother alot of people me included
What made you get out?
the military culture i sacrificed enough for it became someone i didnt recognize anymore lost my wife disconnected form friends family everything being gone for 6 years and not having alot of time to myself really takes a toll makes you feel so lonely even though the military gives you alot they take alot also i was ready to be me again
What was the particular moment that made you realize to take this step?
when i realized i havent called my family in almost a month (my family has always been close) and in my realtionship with my recent gf
In your opinion, what is the air force of tomorrow going to be comprised of? Will it only be unmanned drone, or is there still a place for people in the air? Thanks for doing this AMA!
thanks for saying thanks im happy to be here i think it will go much much more unmanned and they will only get better and more deadly but in my opinion we should always have at least some manned planes
can you plese tell us your honest take on the f35?
edit I saw you worked on cargos did you then heard anything trough the grapevine?
f35 is for lack of a better word a cluster fucked orgy of clowns trying to make pigs fly the tech is there in my opinion they needed to put more down on paper and decide shit before alot more than they did i hear ALOT through the grapevine anyone really doing missions does if your talking about the f35 not really
how did your day - to - day routine look like? did you ever at one point consider the job boring?
day to day was never too bad when i was in germany i stayed in dorms (think of them like barracks but in the air force we actually get a small room to ourselves and just share a bathroom and room inspections) in cali i moved off base to apt and it was just like a normal job i went to every morning with just long hours and hard work and of course the ranking system and such i actually did find the job borin sometimes i worked c-130 cargo planes and kc-135 aerial refuelers we got new c-130 j's after about 9 months of me being there so work slowed alot after that finding some down time and just sitting around waiting to get picked to take out the trash or something else like that the kc-135's were also alot like it esp since we only flew 2 or 3 missions a day (compared to say 30 normal day at some locations) and those engines were the same ones on a 737 so they were very reliable so found alot of downtime there too
What was your rank?
So that's just below SGT?
Also i want to thank you for your service. It's people like you that work together to keep America strong
yes its senior airman just below staff sergeant and thank you for your support
What is your favorite dinosaur?
Diplodocus - the one with the long neck reminds me of a giraffe and i fucking love giraffes idk why kind of reminds me of a gentle lovable leave eating giant
That makes me wonder if the Diplodocus had a stupid ridiculously long tongue like a giraffe...
...that sir is a very good question
If you could've gone into any Special Operation community what would it be?
none the ops tempo is extreme there for my job
How fun was your job?
to be honest it was the people that made it fun it was alot of work and very long hours not that it didnt have its moments got to travel with the jets (TDY's) personally enjoyed fixing a jet and then watching it take off but everyone was different
What is it like fapping in the military? And did it change from the beginning of your stay?
im going to assume your talking about in basic? no one (at least that i knew of) fapped during basic as soon as we all got out of basic and went to our tech schools (where you go to learn your actual job) the plumbing seemed to get weird every week when new people came... to be honest it never really changed but i did seem to go for much more hardcore porn like the leaked celeb pics didnt really do much for me
What did you think of the fappening? would it have been harder on you if you were still in the military?
it would have had no effect?
When the engine is running at full afterburner, what are the rings I'm seeing that are evenly spaced throughout length of the flame?
i never worked on fighters for a period of time been around them though im not exactly sure what ring your talking about are you talking about the part the expands and contracts around the flame? or the ring right inside it? the one that constricts and expands helps control the power just like bernoulli's principle converging airflow (where it goes form larger area to smaller) decreases pressure and increases flow (more power) and vice versa for divergent (going from smaller area to larger) if your asking about the small metallic ring just inside..afterburner is created from adding fuel (and using alot) directly to the airflow at the end creating the afterburner effect greatly increasing power
Do you have a preference in wether people say to you "thank you for serving our country"? and why? and the first time you got into or around a jet did you, at least for 2 seconds, have a kid moment like when a kid gets into firetrucks?
at first i loved it after i joined was proud but as i was in for longer i went out of my way to get out of uniform before i say went to the store because i just wanted to try to feel like a normal person im not saying i was never appreciative of people who say it everyone in the military GREATLY appreciates anyone who even just says thank you for your service myself included you would be surprised at how many people hate us for what we do even our own countrymen i was once asked if i like killing babies at the airport by a teenager but it still stuck with me and on top of people saying it we never really know what to say in response but thank you and it always seemed hallow in a way to only say thank you to someone who supports us like it was never enough alot of people look at us like heroes but we never feel like heroes we just do what we need to do no matter what we have all sacrificed ALOT for our service you can imagine and alot no one who never has would never think of to be honest long story short: we do like it but alot of the time we like to just try to be normal people if that makes sense
the first time i was around a jet was in my tech school (where you go to learn your job after basic) there we were working on old condemned engines that would never fly again and part of a c-130 aircraft since that was my first airframe i did have that moment when i first went into it but that was nothing compared to when i got to my first base and saw a serviceable one i still remember that and yes it was like a kid when he first gets into a firetuck lol i walked up to it and just put my hand on it kinda petted it lol actually did that to the last jet i ever worked on also
I was a USMC CH-53E Mechanic, my question is: did you have any qualifications you had to achieve and what are they called?
yes idk how you guys do it but we have levels 1,3,5,7,9 a 1 level is someone who is in tech school (not sure what you guys call it either where we learn the job) 3 level is someone who graduated tech school at their first base and in upgrade training doing CDC's (career deveopment course) which are just volumes of info about everything on the job that we take tests on and at the end take the end of course test and have to pass or else its actually grounds for discharge or retraining (which i saw both happen) the upgrade training is we have certain tasks that needed to be completed before we advanced to next level (needed to be qualified to remove/replace certain parts or certain inspections ect) 5 level was the first level your able to work by yourself and sign off aircraft forms (sure you had something similar) again needed to do upgrade training and more cdc's to advance to 7 level which can sign off major work (red x's) in forms 9 level was just superintendent for the mx squadron hope that answers your question
So, I'm a student, a junior in high school. I'm planning on joining the Air Force after I graduate. What is the initial experience like in the Air Force, like say I just joined, what next? Thanks in advance for any response (:
thats depends on alot do you have any idea what you want to do in the air force? or are you talking about after you talk to recruiter or after you go to basic? all are very diff lol
Were you at Edwards?
no i was at march in riverside as one of the new total force integration units working with the reserves as primary command
What does jet fuel taste like?
shit absolute shit i ate oil fuel and hydro all the time fuel actually really irritates yor skin also and very hard to get the smell out of your uniform
work wise id have to say a new pilot landing a new c-130J so hard it buckled the tail area friend wise one of my coworkers getting a bj from a girl behind the bar and finding out its a dude or half of jet shop getting into a fight at the bar
What was the most mediocre or mind numbing thing you had to do on a regular basis?
clean (like cleaning until paint comes off) every month or so for someone high ranking to walk through
college and move on with life
What are some of your hobbies now and compared to then?
i imagine just like anyone growing up from 18 - 24 not caring about games anymore more about family friends got really into guns nothing really different than anyone else growing up even though i do think i see things diff from what the military has taught me form some people my age
Do you fly / are you able to fly planes?
hell no the best we could hope for is sneaking in some time on the simulators
Haha - and did you manage to land any 'simulator aircraft' on a carrier ever?
no never did i only did one simulator the new kc-46 one they were testing and didnt do too bad but did land without dying lol
Can I ask why you got out? Did you find that your mid-level enlisted leadership were good leaders or were they toxic? I appreciate your service--to a mom it's a pretty big deal! :-)
i got out because of the culture i sacrificed enough for it became someone i didnt recognize anymore lost my wife disconnected form friends family everything being gone for 6 years and not having alot of time to myself really takes a toll makes you feel so lonely even though the military gives you alot they take alot also i was ready to be me again mid level was iffy they were usually very cool or very coldhearted the coldhearted ones are the ones just trying to make a name for themselves throwing people under the bus to make them look better i wouldnt say toxic but if you got a bad group of leadership life could be hell and thank you for your support
I'm a crew chief that just got out in December. What airframe did you work? 17s? I was on those and C5s at Dover and rota. We might know each other's friends!
no c-130 H and J at rammstein then kc-135 at march reserve base was part of a total force integration unit did you know andrew clark at dover avionics guy? i forget if he was there right before rammstein or right after
Have you ever seen a female sitting on top of an engine that was turned on? any details to share with us?
lol no def not that would be very dangerous females are rare in the maintenance field i worked with only 2 my entire time
Hey I'm going to MEPS Sep. 23 and I'm not sure if you would know anything about this, but I'm thinking about doing in-flight refueling/loadmaster so I can travel. Have you heard things about this job?
Also what other jobs have you heard about?
well congrats on going to meps i worked on the kc-135 refueler so i knew a few in flight refuelers and was on the c-130 cargo plane so i knew a few loadmasters both jobs are actually good but if it was me i would go for loadmaster over refueler cant really take in flight refueling into the civilian world too much but if you like the military and stay in that wouldnt be a problem loadmasters job is pretty easy do some math check weights help load it all on and sit back for the flight in flight refueling is pretty easy too help with some checks maybe run the APU (small jet engine inside the aircraft used for air to start the main engines) chill until you get a receiver and just be careful hooking it up really depends on your depth perception also
Well regardless of what I do in the airforce I'm probably gonna use the GI Bill to do radiology at community college. But I might stay, who knows. I just wanna see the world while I'm single. Thanks for the info
id recommend you just sign up for 4 years instead of 6 see how you like it first and have the option to reenlist if you do 2 years less if you dont but medical is a good career even if you need to wait a while before you ship out to basic it might be worth it to wait for that job to open up for you and do that in the air force in any case best of luck to you sir
Had any close calls?
thankfully i never did
What advice would you give anyone considering joining the service?
dont think that what you see in the movies is true at all while to some extent people look out for each other alot of times its very cutthroat look out for yourself first then help others with what you can the military is VERY political just do your best that you can know yourself and stick to it
What kind of educational background do you have? What were your favorite/best subjects in school?
Also, my grandfather was a jet engine mechanic in the air force, so that's cool. Thanks for doing an AMA.
got high school diploma with i think around a 3.1 gpa? not to sure anymore i wasnt a very good student wasnt bad and like most people was just going through the motions but i did really like science and math im one of those weird people that found math easy its just like mechanics in a way i thank your grandfather for his service when did he serve?thank you for your appreciation
My cousin did the same thing for the Air Force. It gave him a great career and made him into a good person. Thanks for your service! Did you know a Sgt. Ray?
oh your cousin is sgt ray ray?!? lol jk im sorry but i dont think i knew anyone with that where was he at? what exact rank is he? thank you for your support
Are we to expect next generation engines anytime soon? Something that changes the jet / oil limitations paradigm?
yes soon there is a new refueler being built now the kc-46 i think its supposed to start rolling out in a year or so every time we have a new jet they upgrade everything or even if we have some really old jet (the kc-135 i recently worked on) they upgrade the engines for better efficiency they are ALWAYS looking to improve it (and getting better and better) saves alot of money on average if my math is right our usual flight around the base for training was around 120,000lbs of fuel / 6.2 lbs per gal * 2013 avg for jp8 jet fuel of 3.73 per gal = $72,193 per training flight/day and we usually had 2 or 3 and if we had any missions that day also so it adds up quickly just for fuel and getting higher its in the best interest to do what they can esp with budget issues
So is it true that this is one of the worst sounds to hear?
YES we had to redo a engine change (2 days worth of work with 24 hour shift coverage on a c-130) because we had a guy lose a tool even the smallest object can completely destroy a entire multi-million dollar engine think about it the entire engine is spinning a compressor in the front to squeeze and evenly distrute the air the fuel in the middle and the turbine in the end to spin the front and keep it going one object enters destroys a few blades and causes a chain reaction and there goes the engine heres a video to help you see it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1TqwAKwMuM
Since it's a requirement that I ask you something, have I told you how much I appreciate your service?
lol thank you for your support
Ever kill anyone?
On a day to day basis what type of aircraft did you most/least work on in your time serving?
What was your favorite aircraft that you worked on and why?
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