Leader Blues

Thursday, July 03, 2008

TOP STORY > >Simulators for C-130s save fuel, wear, tear

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader senior staff writer

Three new flight simulators will save fuel and help reduce wear and tear on the aging C-130 fleet used for training pilots and crews at Little Rock Air Force Base, according to Vic Torla, Lockheed Martin’s program manager at the base.

The simulators are part of a $23.3 million modification to the C-130 Aircrew Training System contract with Lockheed, which provides comprehensive academic and simulation training for C-130 weapons system aircrews.

The modification will update the current Little Rock AFB Formal Training Unit (FTU) curriculum to move training events from the aircraft to aircrew training systems and enhance existing training capability, Torla said.

Each airman will receive 33 hours of simulator training instead of the current 22 hours, Torla said, presumably reducing the number of air hours by a similar amount.

“We are moving additional training into the simulators in school house, off-loading demand for planes on flight lines,” he said.

Pilots, navigators, flight engineers and loadmasters will now spend more hours training in the simulators than in actual C-130s, he said.The three new part task trainers, which will supplement the existing simulators, should be on base by next February, according to Torla. In addition to the three new trainers – an Instrument Approach Trainer, a Station Keeping Emulator and a loadmaster Crew Resource Management Trainer, Lockheed Martin will start a Flight Mission Planning Room within the schoolhouse and update the academic curriculum. The company also will upgrade the schoolhouse’s local area network to expand the capability to distribute C-130 courseware over the intranet according to Torla.

The actual teaching is done by the 714th Training Squadron, which trains not only crews for the Air Force, the Navy, the Coast Guard, the National Guard and the Reserves, but also crews from around the world.

Virtually all C-130 training is done at Little Rock Air Force Base, the country’s premiere C-130 base.

The new trainers don’t provide training on the new C-130J, although such training is also the task of the Little Rock base.

The new simulators and programs were initiated by the Air Force, a company spokesman said.

Air Force personnel at LRAFB were unavailable for comment.