Air Crew Training
By Senior Master Sgt. Ray Lloyd, 107th Airlift Wing
/ Published September 04, 2012
Niagara Falls Reserve Station -- The 107th Airlift Wing just completed week long aircrew training at the Niagara Falls Reserve Station and Fort Drum, N.Y. The training involved cargo loading, air drops, tactical low level flying and night vision training for the pilots.
"This training helps with our future deployments" said Lt. Col. John Patterson, C-130 Pilot, 107th Airlift Wing.
The 107th flies the C-130 aircraft which is used to airlift personnel and cargo to any location worldwide. The aircraft can also provide air drops in very remote spots, which require low level tactical flying.
"We scheduled a good week's worth of training for our guardsmen on cargo drops and recovery" said Master Sgt. Timothy Griffin 107th C-130 Loadmaster. "Aircrew, Tactics, Maintenance, and Scheduling remained flexible all week and coordinated multiple profile changes based on needs, sometimes as late as crew brief time." said Griffin.
When flying over the drop zone the navigator gives the green light for the loadmasters to cut the cargo strip and the training cargo flies out the back door of the C-130 aircraft. Fort Drum was used as the drop zone for this week's training. Aircrew would air drop during the day and recover at night. This involved performing a night tactical landing and with engine running, loadmasters and aerial port personnel, would rapidly load the cargo onto the aircraft.
There was a three ship formations scheduled the entire week during the day as well as multiple single ship aircraft during the evening and at night performing airdrops and recovery of the airdropped equipment and simulated mass supply loads. Without the losses due to maintenance cancelations and weather issues there was a total of 23 sorties scheduled to fly for the week.
On the return flight back to Niagara pilots train using their night vision goggles and perform another airdrop and tactical landings at the Niagara Falls Reserve Station.
This type of training prepares crews to fly in adverse environments when deployed overseas. This training was also a great benefit to Command Post, Aerial Port, Drop Zone personnel, Maintenance Comm/Nav, and MX ECM shops. Inherent in the process, the events laid the ground work for future utilization of Wheeler-Sack/Fort Drum airspace and property.
"In total this was a very detailed plan that had many key personnel assigned to it. Everyone was a valuable asset to making this week of training come together." said Master Sgt. Timothy Griffin 107th C-130 Loadmaster.