BARKSDALE AFB, LA (KSLA) - It's a common sight to see B-52s flying over Shreveport-Bossier. What you don't see are the men and women behind the scenes, putting their skills and creativity to the test, to keep these planes in service.
The duties of the B-52 ground crews at Barksdale Air Force Base are to inspect, create and repair damaged parts to keep these aircrafts flying as long as possible.
"The aircraft is incredible," said SrA Nicolas Rosario. "They've been flying for so long just like you can't find parts for a really old car is the same thing with this aircraft. These parts just aren't in circulation right now so we have to make a lot of them by hand."
The crews are divided into three sections: fabrication, structural maintenance, non-destructive inspection.
"We are kind of like a pit crew," Rosario said. "Like a NASCAR pit crew making sure that vehicle — which for us is an aircraft — is running fast and it's running when we need it to run."
"You never know what you're going to get one day," said A1C Tyler Moore. "It could be 100 stuck screws and one day it could be something totally different."
Before breaks and cracks can be fixed, they must first be found and base has a specific shop set up for that.
"I'd use one of my five methods," said Amn Dalton Ray First. "Usually it's gonna be a penetrant your mag particle, and I'll take that part and I'll process it and I'll inspect it using one of our black lights. I'm looking for some sort of defect a crack, corrosion. Most things that we're going to find usually stress cracks usually caused by just fatigue on the part."
These airmen are trained to alert crews to issues before they happen.
"Our job is important because we stop a catastrophe before it could even be predicted, what we do is try to find something before it can even become a problem, so we can save a lot of money when it comes to stuff like that," First said.
From skins to fasteners, if it's metal or composite, the crews can fix it.
"I know deep down inside of me, kind of a part of me went into that plane just because of the time the blood sweat tears frustrations that go into making a part," said SrA Kamiana Jadine. "It might not have been my first try either, it might've taken two or three tries to make that part, but however long it took, regardless, I know a part of me somewhere is out there serving the mission,"