WARBIRD RADIO – Think you’re cold? Take a look at this! It’s 6:30 a.m., 27 degrees below zero and the sky remains dark. According to a recent news release, Senior Airman Taylor Lancaster heads to his locker to sort his gear and make sure he has everything ready to begin work in the frigid weather.On top of multiple layers, he wears thick coveralls and heavy duty boots that allow him to trudge through ice and snow. His face is guarded by a face shield and shatter proof snow goggles. After being at Minot Air Force Base for more than three years, Lancaster, a 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aircraft crew chief, has worked on his jet enough to know exactly what to do once it lands.
“Every jet is different, especially in the cold,” Lancaster said. “I love working on my jet because when it lands I already know what needs to be serviced.”
At roll call, the maintenance team gathers together where they are told what jets need repairs. They then head to the tool crib to load the equipment they’ll need for the day. Each crew chief is assigned a specific jet they are responsible for maintaining, although they all work together to meet the needs of the mission.Around 8:30 a.m. the sun begins to rise, allowing the flight line to defrost ever so slightly as the cold weather and ice lingers.
“During the winter, what would normally be a 10 minute job takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour,” Lancaster said.
Some of Minot’s harshest winter days can cause things on the jets to break more easily, meaning more work for maintenance Airmen. Because temperatures are known to potentially reach dangerous lows, maintenance members implement the buddy system to ensure safety while getting the mission done.
“Training new Airmen can be a bit of a task when winter time rolls around,” he said. “Since it’s so cold, we can only spend so long out there before we have to go back inside and warm up.”
Although the job can be tough at times, Lancaster tries to remind newer Airmen the mission is important.
“Sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture when we’re out there working in these kinds of temperatures, but we have to remember what we’re doing is meaningful,” he added.
Once the weather reaches 45 degrees below zero, maintenance on certain sections of the flight line will temporarily shut down. However, because temperatures read differently across the flight line, the team’s duty is to now provide maintenance for a different aircraft.
Currently, Lancaster is working to get flight certified, which will provide him the opportunity to fly with the aircrew and work on the jet as soon as it lands.
“I wanted to do this because it gets me more involved,” Lancaster said. “It’s a great feeling to be able to get up in the jet that I worked on and take off with the aircrew.”
With three years under his belt, Lancaster hasn’t made any final decisions on whether he’s going to re-enlist, but the future seems to be getting brighter.
“It was hard for me to really look ahead when I first got here,” Lancaster said. “Now that I’m comfortable, confident and getting more responsibilities handed down to me, it’s making me realize that I know what I’m doing and no matter what I know I can do it.”
A hearty thank you to all who serve and those who have.
QUICK LINK: United States Air Force
Story courtesy- USAF/ Airman 1st Class Sahara L. Fales, Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs
Photo courtesy- U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Sahara L. Fale
WARBIRD RADIO – Larry Kelley demos his B-25 “Panchito” to the crowd at Thunder In The Valley. Panchito tours the country raising awareness for the Disabled American Veterans. In April 2010 Panchito will lead 20 B-25’s during the memorial flight for the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders in Dayton, Ohio. For more information on Larry’s B-25 just use the Quick Link below. We’ve also posted the link for the upcoming Raider’s reunion. Enjoy!
QUICK LINK: Larry Kelley’s B-25 Panchito
QUICK LINK: Raider’s Reunion 2010
WARBIRD RADIO – It’s race week in Reno and our friends at the Warrior Flight Team are planning a fly-over Arlington National Cemetery to honor two veterans killed in Vietnam. Tune in to this special episode of Warbird Radio LIVE and hear all about both events (plus how you can watch the Reno National Air Races LIVE).
QUICK LINK: Reno National Air Races LIVE Coverage
WARBIRD RADIO – We’re set to broadcast the massive Doolittle Tokyo Raiders B-25 Memorial Fly-over LIVE at 1pm (EASTERN). The coverage of this historic event will begin at 12pm (EASTERN). We’ll have team coverage from several points on the airfield (including the takeoff position). Don’t miss a minute of this epic moment. Tell your friends… and help us keep the history of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders alive!
PLEASE NOTE: 4/19/12 If you missed the action LIVE…the podcast is posted below.
QUICK LINK: Doolittle Raiders Reunion
MONDAY – Matt’s broadcasting on location from the 70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion and B-25 Gathering in Dayton, Ohio. Tune in for the latest event news and rare interviews with some of the veterans visiting the event. You literally never know who will stop by our broadcast booth… so tune in at 10am (EASTERN) and expect a few surprises. Hope to hear from you in the morning!
QUICK LINK: Doolittle Raiders Reunion
STUDIO LINE: 478.787.4768