MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
When AV-8B pilots climb into Harriers, they rest assured that all components of the complex machine are working properly. Lance Cpl. Dakota Fields, a flight engine technician with Marine Attack Training Squadron 203, is one reason those pilots feel at ease when they fly off toward the sunset.
Flight equipment technicians inspect, maintain and repair parachutes, survival equipment, flight equipment, carbon dioxide and liquid oxygen equipment. They inspect ejection seats, flight suits and more to keep pilots safe.
Fields said that every time a pilot lands, technicians perform a routine inspection of the pilot’s gear.
One of his biggest challenges is when a new pilot checks into the unit.
Fields explained that it was common for gear to require adjustments and close inspection. If the pilot’s gear, flight suit or harness isn’t properly fitted and maintained, it could create hazards in the event of ejection.
He said performing his job requires close attention to detail, and when a deployment or training exercise increases operational tempo, the pressure of checking all the gear is also raised.