Nondestructive inspection keeps the Wolf Pack structurally sound

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Samuel Earick
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

See the unseen, detect the undetectable. This is all in a day’s work for the unsung heroes of the flightline, the 8th Maintenance Squadron’s nondestructive inspection team.

The nondestructive inspection shop, also known as NDI, inspects for external and internal damage of aircraft parts and equipment through five different inspection practices: magnetic particle, X-ray, penetrant, eddy current, or oil analysis, to keep Kunsan’s F-16 Fighting Falcons safe and ready for operational use.

“We test aircraft and aircraft support equipment for any discontinuities or defects before they become a catastrophic failure,” said Tech. Sgt. Joshua Martinez, 8th MXS NDI section chief.

Different types of inspections are used to check different parts of the aircraft. Oil analysis is used to see if there are any breakdowns within the internal engine of the aircraft. Results from this analysis are used to fix the issue before the severity requires additional maintenance or jeopardizes safety.

“Not only do we help ensure the pilot makes it home safe, but if we weren't here to evaluate equipment or parts in question then they would be replaced,” said Martinez. “Since we are able to test the structural soundness of equipment, we can determine if the part is still operational, preventing the squadron from buying new parts when it is not necessary.”

While the benefit of NDI is assured, operations within the shop vary every day. According to Martinez, being able to work on different parts of aircraft and use different techniques all while never knowing what the day will hold makes working as an NDI Airmen unpredictable and exciting.

“Every day I do something new and I don't feel like I'm doing the same routine over and over,” said Senior Airman Mario Gomez, 8th MXS nondestructive inspection journeyman. “I get to experience a little bit of everything every day and every week I can honestly say I enjoy my job.”