Well I had an experience yesterday. For the first time in my short Air Force career as a jet engine mechanic I was right next to a running jet engine. For those of you who don't know, I'm deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom in the Middle East. At home I'm a jet engine mechanic but I work in what we call the "back shop." That means I do complete rebuilds of jet engines that are broken or have reached there flying time limits.
The other side of being a jet engine mechanic in the AF is being out on the flight line. That is more like being in a Nascar pit crew. They do preventive and repair maintenance on the engines installed on the aircraft. That is what I am doing on this deployment. So yesterday we replaced a part on an engine that was not functioning properly, and then had to run the engine to make sure that we fixed the problem. While the engine was running some one (I) had to leak check the part we installed.
The best way I can describe being that close to a running jet engine is like petting a lion. The trainer tells you," it's perfectly safe and he's never bitten anybody. Just move slow and don't put your hand near his mouth and you'll be fine." But you know that at any moment this beast could turn on you with no waring and decide you look like lunch!
It was scary and thrilling at the same time. I felt alive and blessed. When I finished the check and came back away from the engine I realized that my life was in God's hands the whole time. It always is, but I don't always realize it.
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5 months ago