New wireless headsets improve base operations

Written by: Senior Airman Evan Lichtenhan, 5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
From left to right, Senior Airman Hunter Walker and Senior Airman Sebastian Avila, 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chiefs, test new wireless headsets at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Sept. 19, 2023. The wireless headsets offer crew chiefs significantly more mobility while communicating with air crew. U.S. Air Force photo I Senior Airman Evan Lichtenhan

Until recently, 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS) crew chiefs performing maintenance on the ground used headsets wired into the B-52H Stratofortress to communicate with the crew inside. The wires raised a number of concerns, to include mobility and the price of replacing the wires.

“Today’s Airmen need to be more maneuverable, and having wires that are out, being stepped on, ran over, in the cold being bent and cracked and replaced two to three times a year, is not frugal,” said Tech Sgt. Bryon Mordhorst, 5th Contracting Squadron contracting officer. “So we are saving money in terms of not replacing the wires as much, but also as being more maneuverable.”

Originally, the headsets were connected directly to the B-52, and this caused a significant inconvenience for crew chiefs. With the new wireless headsets, Airmen can perform duties more efficiently.

“These headsets will also be really nice for training,” said Senior Airman Sebastian Avila, 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief. “For our new Airmen coming in, it will help us out because we won’t get our cords tangled up while working together. The new Airmen can also listen in to what interactions are required to communicate with air crew.”

Not all of the 624 wireless headset kits currently available for use, but the rest are expected to arrive in the near future. While there are only a few available, Avila explained the Airmen in his squadron are thrilled to have the new headsets implemented into their unit and that the modern design has been a long awaited upgrade.

“We have been talking about this for such a long time, now it finally happened,” said Avila. “We actually got to try it out for the first time, that was really cool.”

After a concerted effort between the 5th Contracting Squadron and 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, crew chiefs will no longer be tied down by cables; enabling them to work faster, safer and more efficiently.

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