Photo Information

A Marine with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224, performs maintenance on a F/A-18 Hornet outside the VMFA(AW)-224 hangar, May 15. Aircraft maintenance is essential in order to make sure the pilots of each squadron aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort are able to accomplish their mission.

Photo by Cpl. Brady Wood

Maintaining the birds of the air station

15 Jul 2013 | Cpl. Brady Wood

Almost every day of the week, Air Station pilots put on their flight suits and prepare to fly one of many F/A-18 Hornets aboard the Air Station.

It falls on aircraft maintenance to keep the jets in the sky, so that each squadron can successfully accomplish their mission.

The main focus of aircraft maintenance is to make sure they have the most quality product for the air crew, so they can complete the training they need.

"We do daily inspections of each jet prior to flight to make sure there are no deficiencies," said Gunnery Sgt. Brad Applegate, the maintenance control chief for Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 224. "We also do seven day, 14 day and 28 day inspections."

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 224 also utilizes a tech representative in the case that they have an engine problem they can’t fix.

"When we call the tech rep he comes down and takes a look at the problem," said Applegate. "From there he tells the Marines what the problem is and they will work alongside the Marines and point them in the right direction."

According to Cpl. Daniel Vogt, the amount of maintenance needed on a Hornet changes day-by-day.

"One day you could be given tasks every couple of hours that don’t take very long to finish," said Vogt, an F/A-18 Hornet powerline mechanic with VMFA-224. "And the next day you could be out there all day fixing one jet."

According to Applegate, being a part of aircraft maintenance as its own rewards.

"It’s nice to see all the hard work you put into these aircraft and seeing them fly after all your work is done," said Applegate.

In the maintenance control shop is a computer that can show aircraft maintainers how to fix any problem with a jet as long as they know what they are looking for.

Using the knowledge that is readily available to them, aircraft maintainers have succeeded in making sure that the F/A-18 Hornet has been able to serve the squadrons of MCAS Beaufort well beyond its projected amount of flight hours.