107th Airlift Wing launch their first C-130H2.
By Lt. Col. Deanna Miller, 107th Airlift Wing
/ Published June 23, 2008
Niagara Falls, NY -- June 17 marked the beginning of history for the 107th Airlift Wing as the first qualified crewmembers of the wing flew their initial mission in the C-130H2 aircraft. Majors Gregory Miller and Todd Guay piloted the aircraft augmented by crewmembers of the 914th Airlift Wing, Air Force Reserve. This was a local guard training mission for pilot proficiency. These training missions prepare aircrew to employ the aircraft into combat areas when deployed overseas.
This flight was the wing's maiden voyage on the C-130H2 Hercules after completing months of conversion training from the KC-135 Stratotanker mission as an air refueling wing. "The tactical airlift mission of the C-130 is completely different than that of the in-air refueling mission of the KC-135," stated Major Miller. "The C-130 can, and does, operate from anywhere in the world."
With the change of mission, our unit has been sending its aircrew members to conversion training at Dobbins ARS, Georgia and Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. Once training is complete, these members will be mission qualified in the C-130H2. This aircraft operates with a crew complement of five - two pilots, a navigator, flight engineer and loadmaster.
This mission also marks the first C-130 guard launch by 107th maintenance crew chiefs. After completing hundreds of hours of training consisting of four different classes, our maintenance members are qualified to work on the C-130 and launch the aircraft.
"When I was launching the first C-130 sortie, I witnessed our unit's last KC-135 starting engines and preparing to taxi," said Master Sgt. Steven Kovacs, 107th crew chief. "Like many of the aircraft from my past, I will miss the KC-135 and all its great adventures. I am confident the C-130 era will be filled with much of the same unique adventures that have come with every aircraft I have had the pleasure of being associated with."
Ground crew that launched this mission was Master Sgt. Steven Kovacs, Master Sgt. Charles Ball, Tech. Sgt. John Bystrak, Tech. Sgt. Brian Cunningham and Staff Sgt. Robert Miller.