Thursday, June 23, 2011

COMMENTARY>>Legacy schoolhouse receives upgrades

By Lt. Col. Mark A. Livelsberger
714th Training Squadron commander

The C-130 Aircrew Training System is in the process of upgrading the legacy C-130E training devices and renovating current facilities. In an effort to provide modern and relevant training, the 314th Airlift Wing along with our Lockheed Martin partners, are undertaking a simulator upgrade program designed to convert our current C-130E model configuration to a C-130H1 configuration. These upgrades will include improved -15 engine performance, replacing the older APN-59 radar with the more capable APN-241 radar, adding oil cooler augmenters, exchanging the ground turbine compressor for an auxiliary power unit, along with pneumatic and electronic upgrades. These upgrades provide increased training capability for initial and requalification students going through the formal training unit, and allow us to graduate a more capable and qualified C-130 aircrew member. It also provides our host wing increased capability as the simulators will be able to accomplish instrument meteorological condition airdrop as well as Adverse Weather Aerial Delivery System training.

These important upgrades provide a vital training bridge as the FTU transitions the legacy schoolhouse to C-130H2s supplied by the Air Reserve Component. Currently, the 314th AW is scheduled to retire all of its remaining C-130 E-model aircraft by the end of September and are being backfilled with C-130H2 aircraft from various Reserve and Air National Guard bases around the country. The transition from E-model simulator training to H2 aircraft on the flight line would make training disjointed for initial students. The H1 simulator modification ensures only slight changes to avionics displays as the student makes the transitions to flying H2 aircraft.

Along with these hardware and software changes, the ATS simulator facility is also undergoing extensive facility upgrades. A $1.4 million building refresh program is underway to provide new carpets, floors and ceiling, which will ultimately provide our Lockheed Martin partners and FTU students with a better working and learning environment. Also underway is a $2.1 million heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrade to replace the chillers, boilers and air handling systems of the existing unit. Upon completion of both projects, students will be able to learn and train in a modern, up-to-date facility without having to deal with poor heating in the winter or a lack of air conditioning in the summer.

Unfortunately, these upgrades require a temporary move for instructors and students while the work is being accomplished. Student classroom instruction and Lockheed Martin’s employee offices are transitioning to building 840 near the Hercules dining facility. The simulator modification coupled with the building modifications stress the current training system and require students to train throughout the weekend. While I understand this move and weekend simulator training present a hardship to both instructors and students, the end result will be a more appealing facility capable of providing a stable, properly conditioned environment for everyone as we train in a more capable weapon system trainer.

The 314th AW continually strives to enhance the C-130 schoolhouse and provide modern and relevant training in a facility that is conducive to learning. These simulator and facility upgrades reinforce our commitment to excellence as we provide the foundation of combat airlift by training the world’s best C-130 Combat Airlifters to Fly, Fight, and Win!

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