911th Airlift Wing combines resources in cross-country flight

  • Published
  • By Joshua J. Seybert
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A recent cross-country flight provided Airmen from the 911th Airlift Wing, Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania, with an opportunity to receive vital training, each in his or her career field. Approximately 20 Airmen from the 911th Maintenance Group boarded a C-17 Globemaster III from their home station and flew to March Air Reserve Base, California, with the goal of completing aircrew training and several maintenance tasks, all required for them to be fully operational in their mission.

“One of the tasks our members will perform while at March is called a home station check,” said Col. Clifford Waller, commander of the 911th MXG. “A home station check is a thorough inspection of the aircraft.”

A home station check is required every 180 days, thus a key proficiency task for maintainers.

Additionally, aircrew members have proficiency training which they are required to perform in order to move forward in their careers and maintain their currencies. This was included during the flight with the co-pilot, who was able to sit in the pilot’s seat because an instructor/evaluator pilot was on board to oversee the training.

“A pilot needs to have a minimum of 1,000 flying hours before they can go to flight commander school,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Clark, evaluator pilot with the 911th Operations Support Squadron. “Along with the 1,000 flying hours, 400 of those must be in the C-17.”

Upon completion of flight commander school, the Airman may fly in the left seat without having an instructor/evaluator pilot on board.

Equally important are the approximately 50 tasks, including computer-based training, night operation training, cargo loading operations, combat procedures and integrated crew operations required to be a fully qualified loadmaster. These tasks were completed mid-flight by a new loadmaster.

“The upgrade training and experience to become a mission-qualified loadmaster takes approximately 150 hours,” said Staff Sgt. Carl Kocon, evaluator loadmaster with the 758th Airlift Squadron. “It takes approximately 1,000 hours to become an instructor loadmaster and approximately 3,000 hours to become an evaluator.”

With so many training hours required between different career fields, one cross-country flight sounds relatively small in the grand scheme of things. But by combining their critical training, which otherwise could take months to complete, they added value to the flight by effectively managing their assets on the road to a fully operational mission.