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Hill F-35 maintainers speed egress inspection, servicing

An Airman works on an F-35A canopy.

Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Westover with the 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Egress Flight works on an F-35A canopy at Hill Air Force Base, Utah on Nov. 12, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

A photo of Staff Sgt. Cameron Westin working on an F-35A ejection seat

Staff Sgt. Cameron Weston, 388th Fighter Wing, works on the powered inertion reel device on the F-35A Lightning cockpit seat May 20, 2020 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. (U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Westover, a reservist in the 419th Fighter Wing, and Staff Sgt. Cameron Weston from the active duty 388th Fighter Wing, are Hill’s first fully qualified egress technicians. Their efforts are improving aircraft availability numbers by decreasing downtime in the process for inspecting and servicing F-35A seats.

In addition to routine inspections, ejection seats are removed from the cockpits every two years for servicing. Several highly-used components, like straps, buckles and pins, are replaced. The seat and related systems are inspected and the information entered into the Autonomic Logistics Information system.

This process was previously performed by contractors, which could take up to two weeks. But now, Hill maintainers have been trained to perform the entire process locally, cutting that time down to two days. By reducing the time it takes to get the aircraft back in rotation, they have increased the number of aircraft available for sorties, as well as opportunities for other maintenance training.

(Adapted from a story by Micah Garbarino, 388th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)