NDI stays mission ready
By Senior Airman BrieAnna Stillman, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 18, 2019
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. --
Team Shaw members are always ready to employ and sustain combat ready suppression of enemy air defense, F-16 Fighting Falcons and develop combat ready Airmen to win our nation’s wars.
In order to stay combat ready, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Airmen must find every nook, crack and cranny in mission critical equipment parts smaller than a pinky to parts as big as an arm.
Non-destructive inspections make it possible for these Airmen to discover small cracks on the surface as well as beneath the surface of the part.
To discover cracks on the surface, parts are dipped into a penetrant which seeps into the cracks causing them to glow when put under a black light.
“I love this job, it’s really a good fit for me because I enjoy science; what we do is sort of like chemistry,” said Airman 1st Class Ryan Hess, 20th EMS NDI apprentice.
Using penetrant chemicals is not the only way to expose a crack. Another way is to use a magnetic field to draw out cracks.
A stationary magnetic particle unit is able to put a magnetic field into a part alternating its current, so cracks beneath the surface can be visible under a black-light.
After each piece is magnetized and demagnetized, it is measured to ensure the magnetic field is fully removed from the part.
While performing all these tasks Airmen at times, wear full Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear during exercises in order to stay ready in case of a chemical attack.
“Wearing all the MOPP gear while doing our job is very difficult, but it is good practice,” said Airman 1st Class Colin Lanterman, 20th EMS, NDI apprentice.
Hess agreed doing the job while fully suited up is very complicated, but was still fun.
NDI Airmen continue to stay focused on their mission to win the current fight, be prepared to win the next fight and remain influential in generating lethal combat ready air power.