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Airman 1st Class Lyric Kennedy, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion journeyman, performs maintenance on one of the four engines of the C-17 Globemaster III during the 62nd Airlift Wing’s all-female, five-day mission on the flightline at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., March 25, 2024. The C-17 has a maximum load capacity of 170,900, making it useful in the transportation of large assets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Colleen Anthony)

Travis Air Force Base, California. (March 25, 2024): In a job that truly requires a “Jack of All Trades”, Air Force Propulsion Journeymen are charged with repairing and maintaining some of the most sophisticated aircraft in the world. In this photo by Airman Colleen Anthony, Airman 1st Class Lyric Kennedy, an aerospace propulsion journeyman with the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, performs maintenance on one of the four engines on the giant C-17 Globemaster III transport plane.

Aerospace Propulsion specialists are the prime reason our aircraft keep flying.

They evaluate, maintain, and repair jet engines on virtually anything the Air Force flies. Their duties include troubleshooting engine problems and determining repair procedures and can even replace entire engines “on the fly.” These talented mechanics also install, inspect, and repair a variety of engine components including propellers. Their knowledge of the intricacies of complex propulsion systems is vital to keeping aircraft serviced so they can be ready to go at a moment’s notice.

To become a Propulsion Journeyman, candidates must be at least age 17, possess a High School diploma or GED equivalent, and be able to pass a National Agency Check security clearance. After completing 7.5 weeks of Basic Training, Airmen spend up to 61 days of technical school at Sheppard AFB, Texas. Here they learn mechanical, hydromechanical, electrical, and hydraulic principles while completing the appropriate aerospace propulsion maintenance courses for their specialty.

The job outlook for propulsion technicians is rosy as the aerospace industry has traditionally been a consistent source of high paying jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the estimated pay for an Aerospace Propulsion Journeyman is $80,898 per year in the United States with an average salary of $67,171 per year. 

Not bad for a job requiring only a High School diploma and the experience gained while serving your country.