Egress keeps pilots safe

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rebecca Sirimarco-Lang
  • 4th Fighter Wing

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. – The amount of time an aircrew member has between pulling the handle and being ejected from an aircraft is 1.6 seconds.

Airmen assigned to the 4th Component Maintenance Squadron egress section are responsible for maintaining all necessary exit equipment on the F-15E Strike Eagle. Although the need to eject is rare, pilots must be able to trust the capabilities of egress Airmen.

“The Airmen’s responsibilities are to repair, replace and inspect all parts of the egress system,” said Senior Airman Jack Pryor, 4th CMS egress journeyman.

An inspection can range between a couple hours to a full week according to Tech Sgt. Russell Colvin, 4th CMS assistant shop chief. He also stated that egress Airmen never work alone and will always have at least two aircrew members working on egress systems with them to ensure nothing is missed.

“The two man concept is crucial because we don’t have the luxury of testing the system,” said Colvin. “We make sure we do it right the first time.”

A visual inspection is conducted any time an ejection seat is removed from an aircraft. The team then inspects the seat components for cracks, contamination, corrosion, and the correct routing of hoses to ensure the seats function properly in the event of an emergency.

“You’ve put hours towards something that you’re hoping in some aspects doesn’t have to be used. But at the end of the day we are here to save lives and bring pilots home safely to their families, so they can continue to fly and pursue their dreams.” Said Colvin.