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  1. The U.S. Air Force on Sunday identified the airman presumed dead after he fell into the Gulf of Mexico from a C-130 aircraft last week, as recovery efforts continued. U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff, 29, a special tactics combat controller with 24th Special Operations Wing, part of the Air Force Special Operations Command, fell 1,500 feet out of the plane Tuesday morning during a parachute-jump training exercise out of Hurlburt Field, Fla., investigators said. Crew members aboard the C-130 said they initially saw Condiff, whose parachute did deploy, treading water but lost sight of him while making a turn to pick him up. The Coast Guard spent over 130 hours on the scene and searched over 4,900 square nautical miles, but were unable to find the airman. Condiff was a Dallas native who served a two-year mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Spokane, Wash., the Pensacola News-Journal reported. He enlisted in the Air Force in 2012, as Fox 13 reported, and his awards and decorations include an Air Force Achievement Medal and an Air Force Commendation Medal with a combat device. The Air Force said Condiff was a static-line jumpmaster, military free-fall jumper, combat scuba diver, air traffic controller and a joint terminal attack controller. As a special tactics combat controller, he was trained for immediate deployment into combat operations to conduct reconnaissance, global access, precision strike and personnel recovery operations. Condiff, who had completed deployments to Africa and Afghanistan, is survived by his wife and their two daughters as well as by his parents, a sister and two brothers. “Cole was a man with deep-rooted beliefs who dedicated himself to God, our freedoms, peace, and his family. He was a devoted family man within our squadron, focused on teaching his girls to be adventurous like he was,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Steven Cooper, commander of the 23rd STS in a military news release. “This is a tragic loss to the squadron, the Special Tactics community and our nation. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and teammates at this time.” Source: https://www.foxnews.com/us/air-force-airman-gulf-of-mexico-c-130-aircraft-identified
  2. The US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) has delivered C-130 aircraft to a joint French and German squadron at Évreux-Fauville Air Base, France. The joint squadron received two C-130J Super Hercules and the first of two KC-130J aircraft. The program includes the delivery of a total of seven aircraft by 2026. According to the US Air Force (USAF), the C-130 aircraft fleet will cost around $1.6bn. Sustainment of the fleet is estimated to cost an additional $1bn over the next seven years. In 2017, France and Germany approached AFLCMC to procure two C-130 models for Germany to enable the creation of the joint squadron. At the time, the French C-130 aircraft were already in production. AFLCMC Mobility and Training Aircraft Directorate C-130 FMS Branch chief Brock Thomas said: “It was a new concept for us. We had never done anything like that [sell aircraft for joint foreign partnership], but we saw it as an opportunity.” The AFLCMC then worked with relevant stakeholders to complete the aircraft and sustainment support sale. The plan involved the sale of aircraft to Germany and France separately. The program also involved a plan to negotiate directly with the French military for fleet sustainment. Directorate International Acquisition Programs Division deputy chief David Collins said: “Until we were able to come up with the right mechanism to mutually operate, train and maintain the squadron, France and Germany would not have been able to jointly operate the C-130s.” The joint squadron creates a mechanism wherein a French pilot and a German loadmaster can work with the same aircraft. In May last year, the US cleared a sale of three C-130J-30 and three KC-130J aircraft to Germany. Source: https://www.airforce-technology.com/news/us-aflcmc-c-130-france-german-squadron/ View full record
  3. Lockheed Martin has announced that the world-wide fleet of C-130J Super Hercules aircraft recently surpassed 2 million flight-hours since the C-130J’s first flight on 5 April 1996. Twenty-two operators in 18 nations contributed to this achievement via multiple missions, including combat, transport, aerial refuelling, special operations, medical evacuation, humanitarian relief, search and rescue, weather reconnaissance, firefighting and commercial freight delivery. Rod McLean, general manager of Lockheed Martin Air Mobility & Maritime Missions, revealed the milestone at the Hercules Operators Conference, the annual C-130 operator-industry event held in the USA. Mr McLean said: “The C-130J has earned a reputation as the world’s workhorse, and this milestone is a powerful reminder of the Super Hercules’ unmatched global reach. "Crews continue to exemplify the aircraft’s proven capability and versatility with every mission they fly.” The countries with military-variant C-130Js contributing to these flight-hours include the UK, USA, Australia, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Canada, India, Qatar, Iraq, Oman, Tunisia, Israel, Kuwait, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, France and Bahrain. Also contributing was Lockheed Martin Flight Operations; its crews are the first to fly every new C-130J. The C-130J Super Hercules is the current production model of the legendary C-130 Hercules aircraft. Source: https://www.machinery-market.co.uk/news/25309/Global-C-130J-fleet-eclipses-two-million-hours View full record
  4. U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard search and rescue crews are searching for an unidentified crewmember who fell out of the back of a C-130 cargo aircraft ten miles into the Gulf of Mexico during the day on Tuesday. An updated report published by Fox News and attributed to the Air Force Times said that, “The fall happened during a parachute-jump training exercise out of Hurlburt Field.” An additional report from Florida’s WKRG-TV said that the search operation was underway, “about a mile and a half south of Santa Rosa Island, Fla., along the Florida Panhandle”. A report from WEAR-TV in Florida went on to say, “The Coast Guard said the airman, identified only as a staff sergeant, dropped about 1,500 feet into the water and his parachute deployed.” Additional reports said that crewmembers on board the C-130 aircraft had spotted the airman on the surface, treading water, but lost sight of him as the aircraft maneuvered following the incident. In a story first reported by nwfdailynews.com of Florida, reporter Jim Thompson said, “Coast Guard Petty Officer Kamil Zdankowski confirmed the search late Tuesday evening, about 10 hours after Coast Guard Station Destin was alerted about the incident.” Latest reports early Wednesday morning local time suggest the search area may have now shifted. Thompson went on to report that, “Coast Guard crews were searching Tuesday evening about 10 miles offshore, south of Hurlburt Field, headquarters of Air Force Special Operations Command, according to Zdankowski.” Zdankowski said the airman fell out of the aircraft and into the Gulf of Mexico about two miles south of Hurlburt Field, and the Coast Guard was adjusting its search area on the basis of currents in the area. Weather in the region at approximately the time of the incident was reported as an air temperature of 78-degrees Fahrenheit at Hurlburt Field at 1:00 PM local time with moderate winds NNW at 12 mph. Water temperatures in the region were reported as high as 72-degrees Fahrenheit, although temperatures farther out to sea vary greatly. Hurlburt Field is home to the USAF 1st Special Operations Wing. The unit conducts aviation operations in support of the Joint Special Operations Command. Three different units operate versions of the C-130 Hercules from Hurlburt. They are the 4th Special Operations Squadron, who fly the AC-130U Spook gunship variant of the C-130; The 15th Special Operations Squadron who fly the MC-130H Combat Talon II; and the 73rd Special Operations Squadron, who fly the AC-130J Ghostrider gunship. No reports indicate if the aircraft involved in the incident originated from any of the units located at Hurlbert Field. Source: https://theaviationist.com/2019/11/06/usaf-airman-falls-from-mc-130-ten-miles-out-in-gulf-of-mexico-search-underway/ View full record
  5. The 920th Rescue Wing is celebrating the legacy of its HC-130P/N combat-rescue fleet as the wing expects to receive a replacement fleet of HC-130J in the Spring of 2020. This new airframe will not only replace the legacy HC-130 fleet but with its arrival also comes the elimination of two aviation career fields: Flight Engineer and Airborne Mission Systems Specialist. “This is the first time in my Air Force career that I’m switching jobs,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jesus Ulloa, 39th Rescue Squadron Airborne Mission Systems Specialist. “We’re losing quite a few crew members with the new J model, so the job will be a little more demanding on the rest of us.”To pay homage to the retiring fleet, the wing will be hosting an HC-130 Combat-Rescue Aircraft Retirement Event with several generations of aviators from around the world attending Nov. 1 through Nov. 3, 2019. This event will provide an opportunity for past and present Air Force members associated with the HC-130 fixed-wing rescue mission to take part in a meet and greet social, aircraft static display, aerial demonstrations and other family-oriented activities. “Just like with any old car, it’s sad to see the old classic go away,” said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Decker, 39th RQS Flight Engineer.First flown in 1964, HC-130P/N fleet have been deployed to Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey in support of operations Southern and Northern Watch, Allied Force, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. HC-130s also supported continuous alert commitments in Alaska and the Horn of Africa. Master Sgt. Mark Victor, 39th RQS loadmaster, further elaborated that this 55-year old fleet has also been involved in Vietnam, Granada and Desert Storm.According to Stephanie Stinn, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics communications, the new HC-130J outperforms older C-130s in combat operations by at least a 2:1 margin and demonstrate reliability that far exceeds most other military aircraft with average mission capable rates routinely in the 80 to 90 percent range.The HC-130J is a result of the HC/MC-130 recapitalization program and replaces Air Combat Command's aging HC-130P/N fleet as the dedicated fixed-wing personnel recovery platform in the Air Force inventory. It’s a four-engine turboprop tactical transport aircraft with hose and drogue aerial refueling, airdrop, and command and control capabilities. Modifications include the ability to receive fuel in-flight, a nose-mounted electro-optical/infrared sensor and a combat systems operator flight deck station. The HC/MC-130J brings additional countermeasure dispensers, high-altitude ramp and door hydraulics, an additional (fourth) flight deck crew member station, crash-worthy loadmaster scanner-position seats, provisions for Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures and more. Because the J model brings so many changes, nearly every member in the 39th RQS will undergo either a transition education course or initial qualification course before they’ll be fully qualified to fly the new J model. These courses take five to 10 months to complete, depending on which one the member requires. “Seven initial cadre aircrew are attending initial training at Little Rock AFB to augment training at Kirtland AFB,” said Lt. Col. Ellis Garner, 39th RQS commander. “The first aircrew will complete mission qualification in Feb. 2020.”Currently, there are over 15 aviators in training and the 39th is expecting to send another 10 between November and February.The first HC-130J Combat King II delivered to the Air Force was delivered in Sept. 2011 to the 79th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. The aircraft will serve the many roles and missions of the HC-130P/Ns. The aircraft is designed to conduct personnel recovery missions, provide a command and control platform, in-flight-refuel helicopters and carry supplemental fuel for extending range or air refueling. Source: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/350269/last-air-force-wing-bid-farewell-legacy-combat-rescue-aircraft View full record
  6. U.S. Air Force Airmen worked with Japan Air Self-Defense Force, or Koku-Jieitai, airmen during the Bilateral Exchange Program at Yokota Air Base, Oct. 17-25. Fifteen Koku-Jieitai Airmen visited Yokota AB to work with their U.S. Air Force counterparts, giving them a chance to learn, grow and strengthen relationships. The Bilateral Exchange Program allows airmen to learn from one another, building better work practices and provides airmen an opportunity to share their culture. “Through the BEP, I can learn the differences of operations between the U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force,” said Japan Air Self-Defense Force Tech. Sgt. Yuji Watanabe, Iruma Weather Squadron weather observer. It helps me recognize a lot of pros and cons and gives me a good opportunity of bringing back what I’ve learned to my unit.” Airmen from a variety of career fields participated in the program, including weather, airfield management, maintenance, security forces, supply and more. Working together through a challenging language barrier helped the airmen strengthen partnerships. “Every one of our counterparts were kind and encouraged and spoke positively to us,” Watanabe said. “You don’t have to worry about your English aptitude. You can enjoy every minute of the program by staying positive. We can definitely learn a lot from each other.” Source: https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2005676/yokota-ab-strengthens-partnerships-through-the-bilateral-exchange-program/ View full record
  7. The 192nd Airlift Squadron participated in Exercise Resolute Hunter at the Naval Air Station Fallon Range Training Complex from Oct. 21 to 25. The Naval Air Station Fallon and Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center are the Navy’s premier Weapon Tactics Instructor schools both located well within flying distance for the High Rollers out of Reno.“This range complex has some of the most advanced enemy threat emitters in the world,” said Maj. Kyle Carraher, a pilot with the 192nd Airlift Squadron, “and the training is as realistic as you can get. We want to bolster our relationship with the entities in Fallon so we can train smarter and more effectively. This is an extraordinary opportunity to support their objectives while meeting our internal training requirements.”The training complex encompasses NAS Fallon and near-by range training areas, Bureau of Land Management rights-of-way and 13,000 square miles of special use airspace.This exercise enhances the joint cooperation among many entities, not limited to the Air National Guard and the Navy.“The relationship with NAS Fallon really benefits everyone connected to these airplanes on base, Carraher said. “I say this because future operations rely on joint interoperability, and joint interoperability is only going to happen if we train together. The relationships we build result with the other branches of services increased ability to support the joint fight.The 192nd logged 25.3 flying hours, accomplished 614 training events, over 25 radar threat reactions and dropped four low-cost low altitude bundles. They also flew three mission commander/lead upgrade rides, two pilot checkout course upgrade flights and performed a one-time no-notice pilot mission check ride. In addition, they were able to execute a C-130H and C-130J interfly with the California Air National Guard out of Channel Islands, Calif.“Channel Islands is our sister unit in the modular airborne fire fighting system mission due to their close proximity in response to wildland fires,” said Carraher. “We have a great working relationship with their unit, and C-130H and C-130J interfly is an invaluable skill to develop. The airframes share many similarities, but the intricacies of flying in formation is challenging.”There were 4,500 people supporting the exercise with 12 different airframes.“It really boils down to communication, Carraher said. “Simple things like 'short hand' or 'lingo' between services does not always translate to clear communication, and this is exactly why we train together, so we can identify impediments to accomplishing the mission in training so we can execute the mission in the real world. Source: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/350062/high-rollers-fly-with-navy-other-services-during-resolute-hunter-exercise View full record
  8. A Philippine Air Force (PAF) Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" cargo plane airlifted relief goods and other items for families affected by the magnitude 6.6 earthquake that rocked Tulunan, North Cotabato early Tuesday morning. The aircraft, with tail number 5011, carried 500 family food packs, 500 sleeping kits, 500 laminating sacks, and 50 family tents from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, PAF spokesperson Major Aristides Galang said in a statement Wednesday. He added that items were airlifted to Tambler in General Santos City Wednesday. "Moreover, an (AugustaWestland) AW-109 aircraft of the PAF together with the CDRRMO (City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office) also conducted Rapid Damage Assessment & Needs Analysis over Tulunan, Cotabato to assess the extent of the damage of the earthquake," Galang said. In its update Wednesday morning, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said at least five people were killed while over 300 were injured in the earthquake. Source: https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1084613 View full record
  9. The Air Force uses basic and specialized versions of the C-130 Hercules to perform a diverse number of missions, including airlift support, Antarctic resupply, aeromedical missions, weather reconnaissance, firefighting duties and aerial spray missions.So how does the Air Force kill weeds to make fire breaks in hazardous areas of the Utah Test and Training Range? It uses a C-130 assigned to the U.S. Air Force Reserve 757th Airlift Squadron stationed at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio.“We’re the only unit that does aerial spraying in the Air Force with the C-130,” said Lt. Col. Don Teig, 757th AS medical entomologist. “It’s tactical flying. We fly at about 100 feet to optimize dispersal.”Equipped with spray arms and a 2,000-gallon tank, the squadron’s specialized aircraft treated six areas of the range from Oct. 21-24 with an herbicide to establish new and existing firebreaks in sections inaccessible to work crews due to potential unexploded ordnance hazards.The pre-emergent herbicide used suppresses invasive vegetation without harming native species. It is non-toxic to humans or animals.“We treated the areas for invasive weeds, mostly for cheat grass, which is our biggest fire issue. Cheat grass is a fast mover, it burns quickly,” said Russ Lawrence, Hill AFB’s Natural Resources program manager.The size of the breaks treated ranged anywhere from 500 to 2,400 feet wide to more than five miles long.“In theory, it creates a line where a fire will burn to and fizzle out or slow down dramatically and allow firefighters a way to get their equipment in there to fight it,” said Lawrence. “It give firefighters a lot more confidence when fighting a fire to see that line.”The 757th AS provides and maintains the Department of Defense’s only large area fixed-wing aerial spray capability to control disease carrying insects, pest insects, undesirable vegetation and to disperse oil spills in large bodies of water.The unit’s unique mission keeps them busy year-round.“We’ll be back in the spring time to spray bomb targets on the other side of the range so Explosive Ordnance Disposal can come in and clear out unexploded ordnance,” said Teig. Source: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/349741/757th-conducts-aerial-spray-uttr View full record
  10. A C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft was damaged Tuesday when its nose landing gear collapsed while on the tarmac at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas, the 19th Airlift Wing said in an email. 1st Lt. Jessica Cicchetto, a spokeswoman for the 19th, said Wednesday that there were no injures reported in the accident. However, the Super Hercules — assigned to the 314th Airlift Wing at Little Rock — remains grounded while the damage is being assessed, she said. “Operational safety is a top priority for Little Rock Air Force Base, and an investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the incident,” Cicchetto said. There were no further details available, she said. Source: https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2019/10/30/c-130j-damaged-when-nose-gear-collapses-on-tarmac-at-little-rock/ View full record
  11. Aircrew assigned to the 189th Operations Group flew to Abbottsford, Canada, Oct. 5, 2019, to participate in the annual Girls Fly Too, Women in Aviation symposium. The all-female crew, including pilots Lt. Col. Kenda Garrett and Maj. Janelle Guillebeau, navigator Lt. Col. Sarah O’Banion, flight engineer Master Sgt. Erin Evans, and loadmasters Tech. Sgt. Nicole Beck and Senior Airman Ashlyn Hendrickson stopped in Colorado Springs on the way up to Canada and picked up the Wings of Blue female jump team along with their jump master and staff. Along with the aircrew, Staff Sgt. Tracie Winston and Staff Sgt. Jessica McGilton, two crew chiefs from the 189th Maintenance Group, accompanied the crew to provide maintenance if necessary. “The jump was challenging,” said Lt. Col. Sarah O’Banion, a 189th navigator and Chief of Safety. “I gotta say, though, we had an awesome all-female 189th Herk crew. We were able to get them at their minimum altitude of 2,500 feet and drop the jump team at their target.” The 189th OG does not have many female aviators in the unit, however, the group was able to gather one full crew to accomplish the mission with their crew chief Staff Sgt. Jessica McGilton, of the 189th Maintenance Group. In a predominately male-oriented career field, the representation of female aviators was created to inspire future female aviatrix. Female aviators, while somewhat commonplace now, were almost unheard of during the early days of aviation. Pioneering women from Amelia Earhart, who was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, to Brig. Gen. Jeannie Marie Leavitt, the first female fighter pilot in the United States Armed Forces, has established a firm base for young girls who have a dream of flying. During the event, O’Banion expressed that she wanted the young girls attending the event to realize that they are capable of doing anything they want if they are passionate about their dream and put their minds to it. “It was neat seeing a variety of not just girls and their brothers, but a lot of girls who were interested in what we do,” said O’Banion. “It’s not so much of a diversity thing but it employs the fact that they’re seeing women do jobs as normalcy within a male-centric career field. I hope the girls that came out here see us doing this job and realize that it’s not just a male-oriented career field; it’s something that anyone can achieve if they’re passionate about it.” Until World War II, women in the U.S. were barred from flying for the military. During this time the only women pilots that were allowed to fly for the military were civilians known as the Women’s Auxiliary Ferry Squadron also know as WAFS and others representing the Women Air Force Service Pilots or WASP. In Fall of 1942, twenty-eight women aviators were officially designated as WAFS or WASP, earning their civilian pilot training wings at government expense through the civilian pilot training programs at different colleges throughout the U.S. Although this transition was a huge step for women in aviation, it was not until 1970s, during the women’s movement, that females became official military aviators. At present, approximately six percent of the Air Force aviation community is female. Through the hard work, dedication, courage and military training, U.S. military women aviators continue to achieve air equality in the military. Aircrew assigned to the 189th Operations Group flew to Abbottsford, Canada, Oct. 5, 2019, to participate in the annual Girls Fly Too, Women in Aviation symposium. The all-female crew, including pilots Lt. Col. Kenda Garrett and Maj. Janelle Guillebeau, navigator Lt. Col. Sarah O’Banion, flight engineer Master Sgt. Erin Evans, and loadmasters Tech. Sgt. Nicole Beck and Senior Airman Ashlyn Hendrickson stopped in Colorado Springs on the way up to Canada and picked up the Wings of Blue female jump team along with their jump master and staff. Along with the aircrew, Staff Sgt. Tracie Winston and Staff Sgt. Jessica McGilton, two crew chiefs from the 189th Maintenance Group, accompanied the crew to provide maintenance if necessary. Source: https://www.189aw.ang.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2000585/all-female-c-130h-crew-participates-in-international-air-show/ View full record
  12. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics will sustain France’s C-130J aircraft fleet under a $12.4 million foreign military sales contract from the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, announced on 24 October. The contract will provide long term sustainment (LTS) for France's C-130J aircraft. Critical components of LTS support include program management support; spares, supply support services; support equipment; diminishing manufacturing sources, sustaining engineering services, sustaining engineering/technical services; depot maintenance; aircraft modifications; and data and configuration management programs. The work will run through January 2023. Source: https://www.shephardmedia.com/news/mil-log/lockheed-martin-support-french-c-130j-fleet/ View full record
  13. Many in the Lake Area may have noticed a couple of C-130 aircraft sharing the sky Thursday with the beautiful fall sunshine. They weren't just testing their flight capabilities, though. The aircraft were being flown as part of a Green Flag Exercise — a joint military training program conducted, in this case, with soldiers from the U.S., Canada and Sweden that took place at Chennault International Airport. The 61st Airlift Squadron out of Little Rock Air Force Base, the 621st Contingency Response Wing out of Travis Air Force Base and the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, N.Y., teamed with soldiers from Canada and Sweden to take part in the training. Exercises for this specialist crew focus on combat airlift and airdrop as well as survival, evasion, resistance and escape scenarios. Major Lance Peak, an instructor pilot in the 61st Airlift Squadron, said prior to Thursday's training that the event was an effort to create more "cohesive interoperability" with the Army that will allow for joint live training between the Army and Air Force. "The Green Flag exercises are predominantly run out of the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) in Fort Polk," Peak said. "What Little Rock does, the C-130's particularly, is we provide airdrop and airlift capability, and we all operate out of the big range in Fort Polk. We do landings into the dirt and airdrops for the troops. This time we are training with Canada and Sweden. That's what we do when we're down range, or in any type of environment and we're never working by ourselves, so it forces us to do this joint live training. You can't really do that in certain airspace." The airspace over Chennault was definitely welcoming for Peak and the soldiers partaking in the training mission. "Chennault obviously used to be an airforce base," Peak said. "We wanted something close, and Chennault is only about a 30-minute flight from Fort Polk. When I reached out, everyone here was super supportive and they have been bending over backwards to accommodate us while we've been here. I have nothing but good things to say about our time here at Chennault." "We're very mission-oriented," said Kevin Melton, Chennault's executive director, just before the C-130s took off for the day's exercises. "I'm a retired Air Force guy so I understand a lot of the Air Force missions and what it takes to do these kinds of things," Melton said. "We (Chennault) have lots of capabilities, ramp space and the longest runway in the state of Louisiana. Our piece is to make sure that we do everything possible to make sure their mission is met safely, first and foremost, and to make sure they we're able to effect a positive mission result." In addition to performing airdrops and airlifts for soldiers during wartime, the 61st has also assisted in civilian times of crises. "We were in New Orleans for Katrina in 2005," Peak said. "And we were in Houston for Hurricane Harvey just a couple of years ago." Thursday's Green Flag exercises were the first such exercises for the Air Force in this fiscal year; there are typically around four or five such exercises per year. Source: https://www.americanpress.com/news/local/chennault-hosts-green-flag-exercise/article_09c9decd-82ff-5520-9d75-0d20954998bf.html View full record
  14. The night skies of Beja, Portugal are full of stars, but they have company. Pilots deployed from Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia flew night training missions in two C-130H3 Hercules aircraft during Exercise Real Thaw 2019 at Beja Air Base, Portugal, Oct. 2, 2019. RT19 is a Portuguese-led large joint and combined force exercise held annually where Dobbins provided aerial support. Part of the highly realistic training included daytime and nighttime operations. The mission for this night exercise was to transport two Portuguese M-11D Light Reconnaissance Vehicles from Beja Air Base, Portugal, to a dirt landing zone in a simulated combat zone. “Real Thaw gives us a better understanding of how our allies work and how we work with our allies, especially overcoming any language barriers,” said 1st Lt. Patrick Dyson, a 700th Airlift Squadron navigator and member of the RT19 mission planning cell. “This particular mission helped us find assault dirt strips at night and was great practice for all crew members involved.” As a navigator and mission planner, Dyson helped create a route for the mission that would be the most efficient while keeping to strict airspace boundaries and ensuring that the crew get to their destination at the appropriate time, while keeping clear of terrain and simulated enemy forces. “They’re flying at night because in some of the night flights we know that we can have more cover and concealment,” said Maj. Kerry Lyon, Deputy Chief of Wing Intelligence for the 94th Operation Support Squadron. “Some other pilots are not well versed in night flying and some of the ways that they find us is through visual observations. It gives us a way to mask ourselves in the night by flying under cover and taking advantage of light discipline.” Pilots have many hours of training that they have to complete annually, but night flying operations are one of the few chances they get to utilize their night vision goggles. “Flying at night is very different than flying during the day,” said Senior Airman Trevor Armentrout, a Loadmaster from the 700th Airlift Squadron. “A lot of things that you would be able to see during the day cannot be seen from the plane at night. This is why we use NVG’s, but even with them on it does not make it as clear as day all of the time. It all depends on the cultural lighting and natural lighting, like from the moon.” While lighting was one obstacle of the mission, the dirt landing zone was another. It accurately simulates what the pilots would come across in a deployed scenario and prepares them for short landings and short takeoffs. “The C-130 has the capabilities to land in fields that a lot of other cargo planes can’t,” said Armentrout. “This gives us the opportunity to get ground vehicles where they need to be by air. It is very beneficial for us to be able to transport vehicles.” After completing the night mission, the aircraft returned to base safely. With the mission complete and the exercise coming to a close, Dobbins Reserve citizen Airmen prepared to depart Portugal. “Opportunities like Real Thaw help us do things that are outside of our comfort level, meet new people who are also critical allies and be challenged in new ways to enhance our skills,” said Dyson. “These exercises are invaluable to any military member, nonetheless, a traditional reservist. We can take these challenges that we’ve overcome and bring this new outlook into our civilian careers as well.” Source: https://www.dobbins.afrc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1998594/night-flyers-hercs-take-to-the-stars/ View full record
  15. The Air Force’s C-130 program office is looking into what caused a torque tube and spring to recently fall off of a special operations plane in Japan, a service spokesman said Oct. 25. “It is not an issue we have seen before,” Air Force Life Cycle Management Center spokesman Brian Brackens said in an email. “Therefore, we will be sending the part to the lab for failure analysis. The findings of this analysis will help us to determine whether this was an isolated incident or if it will impact the C-130 fleet.” Airmen discovered the torque tube and spring missing from the MC-130J during an post-flight inspection Oct. 18, Kadena AB, Japan officials told Air Force Magazine. The assembly weighs 1.2 pounds and is 4.4 feet long by 1.25 inches in diameter, and is believed to have fallen off during take off or landing. The aircraft—assigned to the 353rd Special Operations Group—had been doing touch-and-go training at Kadena and Ie Shima training range. Ie Shima is a US Marine Corps-controlled airfield on a small island just off the coast of Okinawa. The assembly was found later Oct. 18 at Ie Shima; the 353rd SOG is still investigating what caused the incident. When asked about the possible fleetwide impact the incident could have for all C-130s, an Air Mobility Command spokeswoman referred the question to AFLCMC. Earlier this year, AMC launched inspections of all operational C-130s that were at risk for unusual wing joint cracks after one of the Lockheed Martin-built planes prompted a broader investigation into about one-fourth of USAF C-130s. The Air Force also grounded 60 C-130Hs in February to address propeller problems. Source: http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pages/2019/October 2019/USAF-Investigating-Whether-Fallen-MC-130-Part-Signals-Broader-Issue.aspx View full record
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