Avionics flight turns up the voltage
By Airman 1st Class Kedesha Pennant, 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 20, 2013
DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- In a complicated work environment where a shop speaks in 'acronyms within acronyms', there are different sections that work in harmony to accomplish their mission.
The 7th Component Maintenance Squadron Avionics Flight is a vital part of the Team Dyess mission. Their job is comprised of repairing communications, navigations, guidance and control systems and radar on the B-1s.
"We use test stations to recreate failures that occur on an aircraft," said Tech. Sgt. Jason David, 7th Component Maintenance Squadron avionics production supervisor. "The flight line maintainers diagnose a problem on the aircraft then remove the faulty electrical equipment to send them to us to repair."
There are two main sections of the avionics flight: digital/analog video and radar electronic warfare (offensive/defensive systems). Offensive systems are used to acquire targets, and defensive systems are used to defend aircraft.
The digital/analog video side consists of digital test stations that find the cause of failures on line replaceable units from aircraft. Line replaceable units are any piece of equipment taken off aircraft and brought to the avionics flight.
"We deal with parts, pilots and the flight crew operate to interact with the aircraft, such as displays, switches and knobs used to give commands," David said.
The offensive side is the upgraded system test bench, which is used to target potential threats. It's also used to tell aircraft how far it is from the ground, so pilots can make altitude corrections to avoid running into mountains.
"The upgrade system test bench generates radio frequency signals to test all components of radar systems," said Senior Airman James Wells, 7th CMS avionics maintenance technician.
The radio electronic warfare shop works on the offensive and defensive systems of avionics that jam, mismatch and scramble signals to the front and rear of an aircraft.
"The radar electronic warfare area has to remain cool ranging from 55 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit," said Senior Airman Ray Ramos, 7th CMS avionics maintenance technician. "This is due to power supplies that generate a lot of heat."
The support section of the avionics flight receives and processes all of the aircraft parts through a supply system.
"The support sections makes sure the maintenance data system is up to date, so when we take the parts to the shop to start repairing them, we know the documentation system is going to be in place to support it," David said.
An important element of the avionics flight is ensuring safety, especially because of the risk of high-voltage hazards. Another concern is protecting the electrical equipment from static electricity. When the avionics flight is handling certain equipment, they must wear an electrostatic grounding strap to prevent damage to it. An electrostatic grounding strap is a specialized wrist strap used to divert static electricity from electrical equipment.
"Electrical safety is imperative because we work with equipment that holds up to 25,000 volts." David said. "Therefore, our equipment has up to 208 times more volts than the average wall socket."
Though the creation of more fields within the avionics air force specialty code has limited them to certain aircraft and lead to a reduction in manning, the flight still finds a way to get things done.
"I am very proud of my technicians here," said Senior Master Sgt. Rick Allenbaugh, 7th CMS avionics flight chief. "They keep the B-1 flying."