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"Feeling like we have all this knowledge to solve problems...it’s a very cool feeling."
Senior Airman | Air Force
Keeping Planes Flightworthy
Alejandro serves as an instrument and flight control systems specialist. “We’re always there to make sure the planes are able to fly,” he says.
Airmen in Alejandro’s role are typically assigned to a specific type of aircraft. Alejandro works on the C-17, which is a type of cargo plane. “There are multiple different shops per airframe,” he says. “My specific shop deals with anything having to do with autopilot and all the flight control surfaces. We also work on a lot of the computers within the aircraft, as well as the fuel components. Additionally, my team works on the [components] that the aircraft uses to work properly.”
Alejandro and his fellow Airmen never stop learning. The aircraft on which they work are extremely complex and intricate. They’re constantly working together to ensure that their aircraft remain in pristine condition. “We have eight-hour shifts,” Alejandro says. “You show up and grab the tools that you’re going to need. Then we have a flying schedule every day to make sure those planes are able to fly.”
However, the day to day is not as rigid as it sounds. Alejandro has a good work-life balance. “If something comes up that needs my attention, say I have an appointment or need to handle a family situation, my coworkers are always really understanding. Everyone has families, whether close by or farther away, so it’s a no-brainer to give people the space to handle situations like that, emergency or nonemergency,” he says. This flexibility also allows Alejandro to further his education. He’s currently enrolled in an online master’s program where his tuition is covered. “I’m grateful to the Military for the opportunity to pursue meaningful opportunities that I otherwise would not be able to afford,” he says.