IamA Female Aircraft Mechanic to F-16s (Crew Chief) AMA!
My short bio: I have only been in the Air Force for 3 years but I get asked pretty often how my experience has been since there are barely any female crew chiefs or maintainers for that matter. AMA! (My views are not of the AF, only my opinions)
My Proof: https://m.imgur.com/a/4dREg
Edit 1: Alright brotatos, I'm out for now to drink. It's about 1700 here. I'll be back on later perhaps.. Probably drunk. Until then!
Edit 2: 8/29/16: I am so sorry I didn't come back on. I went camping and didn't have internet service. Will start answering again.
That is the exact situation with us. Word for word. I think the only remotely sexual thing I experienced was only slight sexism. I don't get offended with those things either, some are true. I've heard it happening pretty often, unfortunately. Our monthly "Don't rape people" commander's calls have become a joke. And thank you for asking one of my favorite questions.. But I have one for you. Do these duck sized 16s have intakes?
The duck sized 16's have intakes but are immune to the dangers of fod
Could they still mangle my foot if kicked?
They hurt as bad as a model plane, so quite a bit but not bone mangeling. however, theyd also probably smash into the ground also after that kind of wing strike
I will have to go with duck sized if they suck and shred my foot to pieces.
Do you fix all F-16s or do you have certain pilots you help out?
Also what is your favorite pizza?
Not all, usually the flight line will send you off to a specific jet you help out with for your shift. From my experience, a pilot has never helped. I just launch them out. I would have to say my favorite pizza is a a cheese pizza because I'm boring. (But them breadsticks..)
I'm sure you have immense knowledge of the F-16 and all that's required to maintain it. But how difficult would it be for you to work on a different aircraft, like an F/A-18, or F-14, or even the various different SKUs of F-16 (YF-16, F-16C, F-16CJ, etc...)?
My knowledge of an F-16 is honestly pretty limited. My favorite plane of all time is an F-18 but I'd venture to say I would have difficulty switching from one plane to another. Most of my coworkers come from F-15s and F-22s. They say 15s are similar and 22s are awful to work on. I hear the 16 is more electrical. A-10s would be awesome because they're more mechanical. I have worked on Cs during tech school but the base I'm at has CJs are they're quite different than old school C.
Have you heard about/have any opinions on the F-35? Everything I've seen about those birds (I'm from UK) has made the programme seem a bit clusterfuck-y
I have no positive feelings towards the 35, I personally do not like it haha
How do you have this position without knowing much about an f-16? Not being an ass I'm genuinely curious.
I just say shit like that so I don't seem conceited like my coworkers haha
F-15 avionics guy here. I can speak for at least avionics in saying we learn the fundamentals of troubleshooting the integrated systems and basics of a couple (F-15A-E, F-16, A-10, and U-2) different aircraft; then at our duty station get more experience with the assigned aircraft. I'd imagine it would be the same for other specialists. I'm not 100% sure what an apg or back shop tech school entails but I believe they learn a specific aircraft.
Our tech school split Fighters and Heavies and then 4ish months with our specific aircraft. We can go train on an A-10 our F-15 and go work on them but that's pretty rare nowadays. My best friend is avionics on a B-1. Just thought I'd mention :)
Nice, that's roughly what we had as well. Electronic principles at Keesler for all avionics then Shepherd we split up for heavies and fighters. Had a couple friends from Keesler end up working on B1 and C-130 avionics.
How was Kessler?
Keesler was actually really fun. Sucked not having a vehicle but the base was nice and the people were nice. Shepherd was the awful place
Sheppard sucked but I got to a have a vehicle. Could y'all not or was it more of you didn't want to get your car driven down for a few months?
12 years on the F-16 blocks 30 and 40 myself. Pilots in my unit were required to help de-panel their jet if they over-g. Watching an Lt turn a speed handle is hilarious!!!
I have read this comment wrong so now I look like an asshole, haha. Yes, certain pilots every now and again. Sorry about that.
Ima let you finish but the f-18 is the best fighter of all time. How is being a maintainer in the air force like? Marine maintainer here
F-18s are my favorite aircraft of all time ever. So obligatory "Fuck you." It sucks of course because of long shifts and unrealistic expectations from supervision. I'm sure you have the same problems
yeah long hours for sure 12 on 12 off while deployed and in Garrison 10 hours on a good day lol. What what does your shop take care of exactly?
Whattt we were doing 4 12s for almost two years until they deployed. Do y'all have a phase?
For deployment yeah we created a whole shop to handle phase work, but phase is mostly an airframes thing. For my MOS we do AMAD alignments, fully drain and service an AMAD, and a go no go on the fuel door. But for deployments we worked a full 3 months no days off 12 on 12 off
What do you do?
Sorry but both wrong. The F-15 is clearly the best fighter jet on the planet.
Nope. F-22 is the reigning champ. It takes down entire flights of F-15 and F-16 in mock combat. Supercruise, stealth and passive sensors make it dominant. It's like comparing an analog cell phone corded to your car to a new IPhone. No one wants to fly in the battle space when F-22 is aloft.
Wanna fight ese?
Hey ! Thanks for your time. Have you ever said 'Welp, that'll have to do !' on a repair you did ? Are repairs always top notch on those million dollars machines ?
I just said that last week. We say that pretty often because our excuse is always "Oh, it'll go down to Phase anyway" which is pretty bad but some of those things are not gonna kill a jet. And when I'm in Phase, the repairs are top notch.
F-16 weapons troop here. Usually (99%) it has to be perfect in terms of repairs/loading. Sometimes "it's some other crew's job" but when you have to do repairs on the million dollar machines it has to be by the book. A tiny lost drill bit can stop maintenance for a week because of the damage it /could/ do
Right. Are you on the line?
What are some design weaknesses of the F-16 that can be exploited against it? You can tell me, i'm from a friendly nation...
How do you feel about the different PT standards for males and females? Do you feel like this actually encourages equality in the military?
Fuck I hate this. I am not a good runner at all but damn I still pass to male standards and is ridiculous for anyone to be running a 16 min mile and a half. Same treatment please
Outstanding! How does it feel to be a bad ass? Seriously, thank you for your service.
Woah I just fix planes haha
"Oh, no big deal. I just take multi-million dollar machines that defy the laws of god and man and keep them flying at speeds so insane that no creature born could possibly achieve them without the mind-blowing technological advancements we, as a people, have made that, I, personally, understand on such a fundamental level that I can, in fact, heal these majestic steel angels."
...that's how that looked to me. You gloriously humble bastard. Keep it up, and don't ever undervalue your contribution.
Thanks for doing this AMA!
Say my friend is an AF pilot. How can they make your life easier on the flight line/what can they do to make sure you don't have to do excessive work? Obviously wouldn't want to over stress the aircraft.
Again, just asking...for a friend.
Hello not officer friend. It would be cool if your friend did not leave stuff behind in the cockpit and write it up. With respect, I love a pilot who is super cool about everything because i always go above and beyond to help out anything they need. Sir/maam
If the boss said "Hey, ThisSucksLogs, here are the keys, take her up for a spin.'' Would you be able to start the engines, taxi, take off and land? At what point do you think you would need to eject if things get hairy?
I can run the JFS but that is it lol, I am not trying to waste millions. Lol. Edit cause hit submit too early
There are barely any female crew chiefs because they can't pull their weight on the flightline and end up being moved into an office and/or, they sleep around so much that they get pregnant in a few months and then get moved into an office, and then separate the Air Force. Your thoughts?
Christ. This is so true, it killsme. It's appalling how some "women" act to get their way. They can't lift this they can't pull this. I was shocked when I saw a girl that couldn't put up a metal ladder. It's ridiculous to me. Pull their own weight or dont accept the job in the first place.
It's actually about the same for guys. The majority of male maintainers are just average. With the women it just seems like a lot because there are less of them anyway.
Is that true? about the men
Have you ever got into trouble for doing something you should not have done?
Haha, multiple times. But it is mostly just small time things, messing around. I'd say the majority of the times I got in trouble was more for how I was rather than my job, if that makes sense.
"Did I fucking take that pin out?"
Iran is still flying their F-14's. Could you repair one of those planes?
I do not think so, we got rid of them a long time ago.
Iran probably can't, either. ;)
Do you ever get to take a ride in a dual seat variant?
No :( I've never gotten an incentive flight
Kick ass. Or as in the Air Force, be shit hot. Know the air frame, understand the allowable variances. Volunteer to go to Red flags (in Vegas). Don't mess up and be in the upper 25% of your coworkers. You'll get one eventually. When you get to test up, study hard and do exceptional, you'll almost guarantee an incentive flight and more opportunities.
Why airplanes? Why the AF? Do you get hit on a lot by the pilots?
I've loved jets since I was a kid, I grew up where the Blue Angels performed often. I was too scared of water to join the Navy lol. And no because fraternization/sexual harassment is taken especially serious in the air force. No on wants to risk it. Edit because I hit submit on accident in the middle.
That's exactly what the Navy is. Sexual harassment slideshows.
I bet :( every branch is like that now
Gotta love Pensacola!
Woah I lived in Dallas haha
haha sorry. I thought you meant Pensacola where the Blue angels are based.
My bad, there were at fort worth pretty often
How is AirConditioning done on an F16?
Is it like a car w a clutched compressor and an full circulation system? Or is it minimized to save space? What refrigerant is used? Is performance an issue due to the variety of ambient temps (hot Tarmac vs thin cold atmosphere)?
I have never messed with the AC systems, I want to say that's an E&E situation but I could be super wrong.
Blackhawk Crew Chief, here. Army side though, what would you say is your overall favorite part of being a maintainer?
Yooo launching a jet will always be cool to me
Did you go up for staff this year?
Man why you gotta bring that up :'(
Sorry :( I know results are the first thing on every body's mind right now (including mine lol)
Haha I didn't make it. They told two of my coworkers :(
My GF and I plan on joining the Air Force, both probably as a pilot since we have a flight background. I have some experience in an Air Force Auxiliary group for around 5 or 6 years, but she has no military/Air Force experience of any sort.
What are some important things we should know before going into the Air Force?
And thanks for coming on to do an AMA!
To be a pilot you have to have a bachelor's degree! This may sound dumb but run. Run a lot. A lot of the girls and guys were awful at PT and eventually got them kicked out. Feel free to ask me anything!
Do you like movies about gladiators?
Have you ever signed off a red X that you really didn't look at the work being done? (Not sure if you're red X qualified only having 3 years of service though)
I am not red x qualified haha, and I do like movies about them!
Do you work exclusively on the F-16, or other aircraft?
Exclusively on the F-16! :)
What's your career path? Can you move onto design after a while?
The most I think would be getting A&P license after I get out and work for Lockheed
My dad was an F-16 maintainer for over twenty years, he retired as an E8. We love the F-16! He says it makes him sad to see them with yellow tails now. You said the F-18 was your favorite fighter, but what do you think about the new F-35?
To be used as remote controlled drones for live target practice.
What duties do you have as crew chief, and how did you go about obtaining that position?
Without getting too technical, we do on the line maintenance of the jet and get it ready and safe for the pilot to fly. For phase like I do now it's major repairs and inspections.
How are those 12s going?
What made to select this field?
I've wanted to be a jet machanic since childhood after watching the Blue Angels
Can you talk about the pin you have to put in when the F-16 engine is ready to be shut down after a flight or engine test?
Do you mean for EPU or..?
Have you ever had to go over someone's head to get an unsafe aircraft grounded?
fuel was spraying out of a tank and supervisor did nothing, had to call a super
What is your MTTR for a PFD?
Mean time to repair (remove and replace).... your primary flight display...
<<Reliability Engineer @ aerospace contractor
I am sorry. Im not avionics but there was one in the thread that is. I think that's a flight nav job. Not me, sorry :(
You got hired on a thunderbird gig? Or just have a picture near them? And are you a spec or you actually launch 16's?
No, it was from tech school. We worked on them. I launch
With only 3 years in the MX world, how's your morale holding up? I've met some pretty salty ex-maintainers who couldn't wait to cross train and even current maintainers just counting down the days until terminal leave.
It's okay. Not high.. Not salty. Yet
Currently at a European base.
Considering your nick is "ThisSucksLogs", is that how you introduce F-16s to your friends?
Haha I'm not sure what you mean,I'm slow.
Based on the T-Birds pic, your out at Nellis? Avionics here. Worked both Tomahawk and Viper, now at Falcon as a Contractor. Just saying Hi and good luck with your career.
That was a while ago at tech school . I'm in Europe.thank you so much, you too!
Why is the F-16 still one of the most common military airplanes. Aren't there better airplanes?
Avionics guy here who went through the F-16 school back in the day. Are you ready to re-enlist and get orders to Korea? Because thats what happened to me.
Absolutely not. I'm going to Holloman soon :'(
Why are you hiding your face?
Edit: I guess the price of asking anything is getting an answer that means anything. That was a legitimate question though. Are you trying to hide your identity? Avoiding unnecessary flirting?
Yo that is my face.
When you sleep, do you see the faces of the kids that you help bomb in poor countries that the US invades to advance political interests?
I really don't know how to answer this without upsetting you. I know I do not directly cause this but I also know I help with other things besides bombing people.. I'm sorry.
Not a well thought out career choice, but people don't usually join the military because they are intelligent and mature.
Your job makes the world a worse place. American imperialism and the dropping of bombs on real human beings can't exist without a network of people like you "just doing their job".
It's not like you are part of a defensive military.
I have wanted to work on jets since I was a child so I'm not sure how this isn't well thought out. I'm aware my aircraft can drop a bomb but they're not the drones you're thinking of that are dropping multiple bombs. I don't think I ever said what you mentioned. But alright. Where are you from, if you don't mind me asking.
You don't have to answer him. He's a useless troll who picks fights every day. I'm a female in the AF, comm exactly, so I know the feels. Just keep going what you're doing!
Comms! My other best friend is client systems :D
We've had a lot of issues here in Australian with sexism and sexual assault/harassment in our armed forces. The real scale of it emerged relatively recently and they're trying to make things better now.
Have you faced anything like that, or heard of it?
Also, would you rather fight one hundred duck-sized F-16s, or one F-16 sized duck?
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