KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
There are about 59 different types of aircraft in the U.S. Air Force and each one houses a network of wires that allows the aircraft to function properly.
The 80th Aircraft Maintenance Unit electrical and environmental shop inspects, troubleshoots and maintains those electrical and environmental networks for Kunsan’s F-16 Fighting Falcons.
From rewiring and calibrating cabin pressure, to testing maintenance equipment, the electrical and environmental shop – or E&E – has a wide range of capabilities.
“In E&E we jokingly say, ‘we are everything else,’” said Tech. Sgt. Cesar Cuestas, non-commissioned officer in charge of the 80th AMU E&E systems training section. “A lot of the time people don’t know what system goes to what or a lot of the time a wire is broken so they just call E&E.”
E&E typically troubleshoots and repairs a number of F-16 systems like fire protection, fuel control, and cabin pressure. Each of these systems combined creates a safe environment for the pilot as he or she flies 60,000 feet up in the sky.
“We use the environmental control system tester to check all of the environmental controls, cabin pressurization and bleed air controls,” said Senior Airman Isaiah Heredia, 80th AMU E&E systems journeyman. “The environmental control is the warm and cold air and the pressurization of the cockpit, because when the pilot increases in elevation, the cockpit has to be pressurized so that they don’t black out.”
According to Heredia, E&E also ensures pilots can land safely by using a computer system that hooks up to the jet. The system runs anti-skid tests so the jet’s wheels function properly upon landing. If the test indicates a fault in the system, they follow a wiring diagram to find out which wiring or component isn’t working.
E&E routinely assists other maintenance specialties, like the avionics and engine shops, with panels, engine removals, and targeting pods, as well as communications and radar systems.
“We help crew chiefs troubleshoot their jet fuel starter, because it could be an electrical issue where it’s not getting the correct signal,” Heredia said. “We work with avionics, with their flight control systems, which consists of a lot of hydraulic systems, computers and wiring. Our big thing is troubleshooting wiring, so that if one of the other specialty shops needs to find the problem, they will call us to troubleshoot it.”
Overall, E&E plays a vital role in ensuring safety of flight for every 8th Fighter Wing “Wolf Pack” pilot.