Image of the Air Force wings with the museum name underneath

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
FREE Admission & Parking

Enlisted Mechanics

Keep ‘em Flying
As the complexity of military aircraft increased between 1917 and 1942, so did the role of mechanics.

Enlisted mechanics had to constantly upgrade their skills in the face of rapid technological development. A single all-purpose mechanic could no longer service everything on an airplane. Under the direction of a senior NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) crew chief, teams of mechanics, technicians, and repairmen performed specific jobs on airplanes, troubleshooting problems as a team when necessary. Their work could be tedious, but it provided the opportunity to gain valuable technical training and experience.

There was a high demand for expert mechanics, and the lives of pilots depended on the hard work of the maintainers. These factors contributed to an image of the elite enlisted Airman—someone who was highly skilled, sought after, and unique from the rest of the Army.

A Flight Training Mishap

This exhibit demonstrates what could happen to a student pilot’s aircraft when taxiing and applying his brakes too hard. Accidents, both minor and major, left many aircraft unfit for flying. Since cadets were learning, more accidents were bound to happen. This, combined with conditions like dusty airfields, kept mechanics busy with constant repairs.

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