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Little Rock receives second C-130J

by 2nd Lt. Jon Quinlan
314th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

4/6/2005 - LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. (AFPN) -- The Air Force's second active-duty J-model C-130 Hercules joined the other in the 314th Airlift Wing fleet here April 5.

Flown by Lt. Gen. John Baker, Air Mobility Command vice commander, the aircraft is assigned to the 48th Airlift Squadron, which has been training aircrews to fly it since February 2004.

"The airplane is performing exceptionally well in the (area of operations) today," said General Baker about the reserve component units currently flying in Southwest Asia. "We have no doubt that as we continue to bring this airplane onboard it will continue to do well."

Col. Tim Vining, 314th AW vice commander, said the aircraft represents the latest technology and is a "fantastic tool for combatant commanders to ensure delivery of critical supplies in the toughest of conditions."

Key to that capability, Colonel Vining said, is the aircrews trained here.

To train crews, squadron Airmen use the first aircraft, which arrived here in March 2004, and two others on loan from the Air Force Reserve Command's 403rd Wing at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. Five more are scheduled to arrive here this year, officials said.

Since the first arrived, 75 pilot and loadmaster students and more than 400 maintainers have graduated from J-model training. Aircrews in the 48th AS have flown 897 training missions, logging more than 2,400 flight hours on the aircraft. Additionally, the aircraft has achieved a 92.7-percent mission-capable rate, officials said.

"A 93-percent mission-capable rate is a phenomenal number," said Lt. Col. Jeff Blalock, 48th AS director of operations. "This has allowed the flying training unit to operate with only three aircraft."

The arrival of additional aircraft will allow wing officials to expand the number of students base Airmen can train, creating a "pipeline" of new aircrews to supply the warfighters, Colonel Vining said.

The updated aircraft provides 40-percent more range and flies 24-percent faster than older models. It can also take off on shorter runways, and its avionics allow for better data capability and control. They are also larger, with enough room to hold 128 people compared to the 92-troop capacity of earlier models. (Courtesy of Air Education and Training Command News Service)

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