Two members of the Royal Air Force, who are deployed on operations in the Middle East, have participated in the United States Air Force Crew Chief for a Day programme.
Corporal Joe Carter-Blundell, a computer information systems technician and Corporal Amy Sutherland, a command support JNCO were put forward to participate in the programme as a reward for the hard work and commitment they have demonstrated since arriving in the region
The Corporals were hosted by the U.S. Air Force, the lead Coalition nation in the Middle East, and spent an entire shift with the American flight line crew. Crew Chiefs are responsible for all of the aircraft’s day to day maintenance, including refuelling, defueling, launch, recovery, hydraulics, brakes and tyres.
The airmen had a busy day supporting the crew with their preparations to launch a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft, the core aerial refuelling capability for the U.S. Air Force. They were involved in numerous tasks such as moving portable power generators, reading technical orders, speaking with the Crew Chiefs, learning how to signal to the aircraft’s pilot and how to attach fuel lines. They also learnt about the important pre-flight check processes and overall gained an in-depth insight into the requirements to launch an air to air refuelling aircraft.
“It was a really good experience, definitely something I'd not done before. We got shown around the different sections involved in the maintenance and servicing of the aircraft and got to see inside the aircraft. I was able to fuel one aircraft up and go into the processes for their own Engineering Documentation and what post-flight checks are done.”
Corporal Joe Carter-Blundell
The USAF Crew Chief for a Day programme provides an opportunity for RAF personnel to integrate with a UK coalition partners and enables airmen from any specialism direct exposure to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing’s aerial refuelling capability.
“Working with the USAF on their aircraft was a great experience, and was fab opportunity to have an insight into what they do on a day to basis whilst on Ops, it was one of my highlights of deployment.”
Corporal Amy Sutherland
UK Armed Forces are deployed to the Middle East to support counter Daesh operations as part of the 83-member strong Global Coalition. The Crew Chief for a Day programme is an opportunity for RAF personnel to experience a different aspect of air operations from their day to day role and to build relations with the RAF’s U.S. coalition partners.