Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: 'Air Mobility Command' (46) Currently Viewing: 21 - 30 of 46

December 20, 2010 at 11:44am

C-17 surpasses 2 million flight hours

LONG BEACH, Calif., — The worldwide fleet of C-17 Globemaster III airlifters built by The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] surpassed 2 million flying hours during an airdrop mission over Afghanistan on Dec. 10. Reaching 2 million flight hours equates to 1.13 billion nautical miles - the equivalent of a C-17 flying to the moon and back 2,360 times.

The representative mission, flown by a U.S. Air Force C-17, airdropped 74,000 pounds of jet fuel in support of U.S. and coalition troops just south of Kabul.

The C-17 has a mission readiness rate of more than 85 percent. It is the world's only strategic airlifter with tactical capabilities that allow it to fly between continents, land on short, austere runways, and airdrop supplies precisely where they are needed.

"There's tremendous satisfaction in knowing that in those 2 million hours, the C-17 fleet has saved countless lives around the world," said Bob Ciesla, Boeing C-17 program manager. "Boeing congratulates the U.S. Air Force and our international C-17 customers on reaching this milestone. We're very proud that the C-17 continues to exceed expectations for performance and reliability."

The C-17 fleet, now in its 17th year of service, has supported humanitarian and disaster-relief missions worldwide. With 226 airlifters in service around the world, the C-17 fleet continues to operate at an accelerated rate due to the recent troop surge in Afghanistan, reaching the 2 million flight-hours milestone less than five years after reaching 1 million flight hours in March 2006, when 152 C-17s were in service. This year, lifesaving aeromedical evacuations of wounded troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, along with relief missions for natural disasters such as earthquakes in Pakistan, Chile and Haiti, have intensified the C-17's normal workload.

Boeing helps keep the C-17 flying through a worldwide support and sustainment program. "Boeing has had the honor of supporting the entire C-17 fleet since the delivery of the first aircraft to Charleston Air Force Base in 1993," said Gus Urzua, program manager for the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership. "Through innovative Performance-Based Logistics contracting and partnering with the Air Force, we have maintained the highest level of aircraft readiness while continuously reducing the cost of ownership."

While providing relief to Haiti in January and February, C-17s delivered nearly 14,000 short tons of cargo and transported some 25,000 passengers and 280 patients. C-17s also played a key role in a record year for airdrops in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. As of Oct. 31, C-17s and other airlifters have airdropped more than 45 million pounds of cargo to troops in remote locations.

Boeing has delivered 20 C-17s to international customers. The U.S. Air Force -- including active duty, National Guard, and Air Force Reserve units -- has taken delivery of 206. Other customers include the U.K. Royal Air Force, the Canadian Forces, the Royal Australian Air Force, the United Arab Emirates Air Force, the Qatar Emiri Air Force, and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. India is expected to be the next C-17 customer.

(Courtesy Boeing)

December 13, 2010 at 9:51am

AF officials release findings on Alaska C-17 fatal mishap

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) -- Officials at Headquarters Pacific Air Forces released the results of their investigation Dec. 10 into a fatal C-17 Globemaster III aircraft mishap July 28 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

Gen. Gary North, Pacific Air Forces commander, directed an investigation into the incident which resulted in the deaths of the four crewmembers aboard, the destruction of the $184 million aircraft and damage to part of the Alaska Railroad.

The accident investigation board found clear and convincing evidence the cause of the mishap was pilot error. The investigation revealed the pilot placed the aircraft outside established flight parameters and capabilities. During the mishap sortie, the pilot aggressively flew the aircraft in a manner inconsistent with established flight procedures, resulting in a stall. The pilot failed to take required stall recovery actions. 

Furthermore, the board concluded the co-pilot and safety observer failed to recognize or address the developing dangerous situation. As a result, the C-17 stalled at an attitude and altitude from which recovery to controlled flight was impossible.

Brig. Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, served as the Accident Investigation Board president. General Everhart is vice commander of the 618th Air and Space Operations Center at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. The general is a command pilot with more than 4,400 flight hours in a variety of aircraft, including the C-17.

The mishap occurred as the C-17 -- tail number 00-0173 and call sign Sitka 43 -- practiced for the Arctic Thunder Air Show scheduled for the weekend of July 31 at Joint Base Elmendorf- Richardson.

For a copy of the Accident Investigation Board report, visit: http://www.pacaf.af.mil/library/aibreports/index.asp. Video footage of the mishap flight is also available at that website. The footage has been edited to cut off just prior to the aircraft's impact out of consideration and respect for the families of the deceased.    

December 8, 2010 at 6:47pm

C-17s deliver tanks to Afghanistan

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- An Air Mobility Command C-17 Globemaster III and its crew delivered the first of 17 M1A1 Abrams tanks to military forces in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving Day, marking the first time U.S.-owned tanks have deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The tanks were requested by Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Richard P. Mills, commander of Afghanistan's Regional Command-Southwest, according to a Department of Defense release. The RC--Southwest region lends itself to armored operations with wide open areas and none of the mountainous terrain that characterizes Regional Command-East and the northern portions of Regional Command-South.

Officials emphasized that the movement of the M1A1s to Afghanistan does not represent an escalation of the conflict there.

"We're conducting full-spectrum combat operations today, we'll be doing it tomorrow, we'll be doing it next month," said Marine Col. Dave Lapan, a Department of Defense spokesperson. "Until the Afghan security forces are ready to take over lead for security ... we will continue to do combat operations to defeat the enemy."

"Whether we use tanks, or infantry on the ground," Colonel Lapan continued, "these are all tactics we use to defeat the enemy."

The term Abrams applies to a family of armored tanks used by U.S. Army and Marine Corps personnel for ground operations. The M1A1 variant includes a 120 mm main gun, carries a crew of four, and weighs approximately 68 tons, according to an Army fact sheet. 

Deploying the tanks is accomplished by a combination of sealift and airlift assets. The tanks and associated equipment are taken by ship for the majority of the trip around the world, and airlifted the last portion of their journey into land-locked Afghanistan by Air Force C-17s.

All of the airlift missions for the deployment are planned, tasked and command-and-controlled by the 618th Air and Space Operations Center's Theater Direct Delivery division at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. As Eighteenth Air Force's hub for global operations, the 618th AOC plans, schedules and directs a fleet of nearly 1,300 mobility aircraft in support of strategic airlift, air refueling, and aeromedical evacuation operations around the world.

The 618th AOC has been the lead for centralized control of AMC airlift, air refueling and aeromedical evacuation operations worldwide since its activation April 1, 1992. That coordination in recent years has included hundreds of thousands of point-to-point flights, called sorties, in support of overseas operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.    

December 2, 2010 at 3:06pm

Airmen airlift $30 million in aid to Afghanistan

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Airmen here recently built 16 pallets of donated goods to be airlifted to Afghanistan.

"The shipment will allow the refurbishing and rebuilding of 25 hospitals and clinics in the region and will help transition more than 3,000 farmers from the Taliban-directed heroin trade," said Jan Mazotti, the business development director for commercial carrier CAP Worldwide. "And for that, we are proud."

Airmen here said were proud they could assist in sending winter coats, shoes and even irrigation systems to the region as well.

"Here at Buckley (AFB) this is a rarity," said Tech Sgt. Eric Pylka, of the 460th Logistics Readiness Squadron. "It's nice to get hands on again. (It's nice to) have that good feeling that we are doing something for somebody downrange."

"It's a very important effort," said Lt. Col. Stephen Wier, the 460th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander. "The Afghan people don't have a lot of medical supplies or toys for their children. Something like this can make a big difference. It makes me proud to be part of something like this."

The shipment included 10,000 winter coats, 8,000 shoes, 5,000 toys, 23 irrigation systems and seeds for 3,000 farmers as well as medical supplies.     

November 17, 2010 at 5:32pm

AF officials select preferred alternative base for C-17

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force officials announced their preferred basing decision for eight C-17 Globemaster IIIs Nov. 16. 

The preferred base, approved by the secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force, is Stewart Air National Guard Base, N.Y. Along with the C-17 basing action, 12 C-5 Galaxies assigned to Stewart ANGB will be retired.

"The Air Force has completed its initial analysis of a full range of alternatives and determined that basing the C-17 at Stewart is the preferred alternative," said Kathleen Ferguson, the Air Force deputy assistant secretary for installations. "This is not a final basing decision; it is the alternative we believe will fulfill our mission responsibilities while considering economic, environmental, and technical factors." 

Once the environmental impact analysis process is complete, a final decision will be made.     

November 4, 2010 at 2:49pm

McChord airmen chronicle Deep Freeze experience

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Active-duty and Reserve Airmen from the 62nd and 446th Airlift Wings at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., spent a few days supporting Operation Deep Freeze at McMurdo Station in Antarctica and related their experiences to the Defense Department's "Armed with Science" blog recently.

Among the officers who traveled to McMurdo Station were Capt. Jon Waller, a C-17 Globemaster III instructor pilot with the 62nd AW, and Capt. Chris Stephens, a C-17 weapons officer.

"(We spend) the majority of the year flying into the (Southwest Asia)," said Captain Waller, who is on his second season flying for Operation Deep Freeze. "Flying into combat is pretty cool, and landing on dirt runways is pretty cool, but landing out here on the ice definitely takes the cake."

Captain Waller described the night missions as "amazing." 

"It really opens up our capabilities to fly year-round and fly 24 hours a day," he said. "And operations on the ice with (night vision goggles) are not all that much different from what we're used to." 

The key difference might be in the length of the day since it stays sunny 24 hours a day during Antarctica's summer and disappears for months at a time during the Antarctic winter. 

Two other officers, Maj. Bruce Cohn and Capt. Chris Stephens, have also flown support missions.

"Usually, C-17 pilots never get to leave the airfield (at McMurdo Station)," wrote Major Cohn, another C-17 instructor pilot for the 62nd AW. "We fly down from Christchurch, New Zealand, land on the ice runway, offload cargo and depart." 

However, a two-day visit to the station allowed the major to learn more about the base, which is principally operated by the National Science Foundation.

"What appears ... as individual station functions is actually an eccentric mix of people working together to make science happen," he wrote. "The research that's done here spans the gambit from marine biology to climate research and volcanology. After two days of near-perpetual sunlight, breathtaking views and a crash course on McMurdo (Station), I've barely scratched the surface of what happens in Antarctica, but it's 48 hours I will never forget."    

October 27, 2010 at 5:13pm

McChord airman performs at AMC competition

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Senior Airman Rachel Kleist, from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., participated in the Air Mobility Command Icon competition at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Oct. 21.

Kleist was the base-level winner at Joint Base L-M and was among 11 competitors who sang to earn the title of "AMC Icon." 

Based loosely on the television show "American Idol," AMC Icon is an AMC commander's initiative to showcase the vocal talents of AMC Airmen. Each AMC base holds Icon contests in July and August to determine their representatives for the command final which took place Oct. 21.

AMC personnel assigned to Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, en route and tenant units geographically separated from an AMC base compete under the "affiliate" category. However, personnel stationed on or near an AMC base enter the contest via the base-level talent competition.

"AMC has some exceptional performers and Icon is their opportunity to shine," said Sam Parker, command program manager for AMC Icon.
Staff Sgt. Aisha Smith from MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., won the competition. Senior Airman Naomi Scott of Dover Air Force Base, Del., earned second place while Senior Master Sgt. James Warrick of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., earned third place.

October 25, 2010 at 10:32am

Reserve aerial port airmen depart for competition

A six-member aerial port team will be the first to represent the 446th Airlift Wing at Port Dawg Challenge, a new competition taking place at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Marietta, Ga., Oct. 25-29. 

The Port Dawg Challenge is carded to become the Air Force Reserve Command's version of a readiness competition, testing aerial porter knowledge and technical skills as they complete maneuvers like a pallet build-up or C-130 Hercules engine-running offload. The 446th AW team from the 36th APS will be one of more than 22 Reserve units taking part in this novel event.  

For more on the story, click here.

October 18, 2010 at 2:02pm

AF flying accidents down for 2nd straight year

This from Air Force Times: The Air Force recorded its fewest number of flying accidents for the second year in a row.

Twenty-two major accidents occurred in fiscal 2010, compared with 30 in fiscal 2009. Seven airmen died in crashes, four more than the year before. The most accidents recorded were 2,274 in 1952. The deadliest year was also 1952, when 1,214 crew members and passengers died.

An accident is considered major when a life is lost or the repair bill is at least $2 million.

Of the 22 mishaps, 14 involved manned planes and eight involved remotely piloted aircraft. The 2009 breakdown: 17 manned plane accidents and 13 RPA.

For more on the story, click here.

September 30, 2010 at 12:44pm

McChord airmen support 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron

Airman Christina Gillespie and Tech. Sgt. Tim Raymon discuss weight measurements prior to loading a C-17 Globemaster III in Baghdad, Iraq.(U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Katie Gieratz)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Tech. Sgt. Tim Raymon is a loadmaster for a C-17 Globemaster III deployed with the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron at a non-disclosed base in Southwest Asia.

Raymon is deployed from the 313th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. As a member of the 816th EAS, he supports combat airlift operations for operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

According to his official Air Force job description for the 1A2X1 career field, loadmasters like Raymon accomplish loading and off-loading aircraft functions and perform pre-flight and post-flight of aircraft and aircraft systems. They also perform loadmaster aircrew functions, compute weight and balance and other mission specific qualification duties, and provide for safety and comfort of passengers and troops, and security of cargo, mail and baggage during flight.

Loadmasters like Raymon are skilled in a variety of abilities, the job description states. For example, in determining quantity of cargo and passengers or troops to be loaded and proper placement in aircraft, loadmasters compute load and cargo distribution. They also compute weight and balance, and determines the amount of weight to be placed in each compartment or at each station. To do this they consider factors such as fuel load, aircraft structural limits and emergency equipment required.

C-17 loadmasters also accomplish the initial pre-flight of aircraft according to flight manuals. They pre-flight specific aircraft systems such as restraint rail and airdrop equipment. They also pre-flight aerospace ground equipment and apply external power to the aircraft. Additionally, they perform in-flight and special mission specific duties as required.

When supervising aircraft loading and off-loading, loadmasters like Raymon ensure cargo and passengers are loaded according to load distribution plan. They direct application of restraint devices such as restraint rails, straps, chains and nets to prevent shifting during flight. They also check cargo, passengers and troops against manifests, ensure availability of fleet service equipment and brief passengers and troops on use of seat belts, facilities and border clearance requirements.

In the deployed environment, loadmasters like Raymon are trained to conduct cargo and personnel airdrops according to directives. They are trained to attach extraction parachutes to cargo and platforms and inspect cargo and platforms, extraction systems and connects static lines. They also check tie-downs, parachutes, containers, suspension systems and extraction systems to ensure proper cargo extraction or release.

To do their job while deployed or at home station, loadmasters have to maintain a wide array of mandatory job knowledge, the job description states. They must know the types, capacities and configuration of transport aircraft, emergency equipment and in-flight emergency procedures, personal equipment and oxygen use, communications, current flying directives, interpreting diagrams, loading charts and technical publications, border agency clearance dispensing and preserving food aboard aircraft, and cargo restraint techniques.

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