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Grand Forks AFB Airmen ensure mission, save money

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --

Members of the 69th Maintenance Squadron here fabricated an unavailable RQ-4B Global Hawk aircraft part July 13, 2017.

Airman 1st Class Charles Buchanan, 69 MXS aircraft metals technology journeyman, was the lead technician assisted by Staff Sgt. Brandt Perkins, 69 MXS aircraft metals technology craftsman, and Tech. Sgt. Steven Wippler, 69 MXS aircraft metals technology NCO in charge.

Master Sgt. John Akers, 69 MXS equipment maintenance unit superintendent, said the vital part was the pitot mast.

“The pitot mast is a critical aircraft component which holds the pitot probe, a pressure sensitive instrument that measures an aircraft's airspeed,” said Akers. “The 69th MXS metals technology Airmen coordinated with engineers, researched and located prints of the part, and flawlessly fabricated the new aircraft part.”

Akers said the part was not available worldwide and the aircraft, which has not been flyable for 58 days, would have been grounded for several more months without the efforts of these Airmen. Their work will allow the aircraft to become operational within the next week and has saved the Air Force money and manpower.

Maj. Christopher Seamans, 69 MXS commander understands how vital his innovative Airmen are to the mission.

“The men and women of the 69 MXS provide worldwide maintenance and communications support for the RQ-4 and EQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft and cockpits. The ability to innovate solutions and implement these solutions has ensured mission success,” said Seamans. “The metals technology section has provided yet another success story for the 69 MXS with the innovative fabrication of the pitot mast that will rapidly return a high demand, low density aircraft back to the fight.”