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CNATTU Oceana Training to Preserve Navy's 'Super' Investment

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050607-12
Release Date: 6/7/2005 12:35:00 PM

By Journalist 1st Class (SW/AW) John Osborne, Naval Personnel Development Command Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- The Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit (CNATTU) stood up the Navy’s second Master Training Suite (MTS2) in March at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia Beach, Va., to train enlisted aviation ratings in the maintenance of the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet.

Two years of planning and negotiations went into bringing to life the trainer, which features state-of-the-art technology that quickly transfers lessons learned in the classroom to a life-like simulator for hands-on experience. The result is higher quality maintainers getting out to the fleet at a greater rate. Between May 23 and June 6, CNATTU graduated 32 students from five different ratings.

Commanding Officer Cmdr. Scott Abel is satisfied CNATTU Oceana is putting the most qualified, well-rounded and technically sound maintainers in the fleet to help preserve the Navy’s newest aircraft through this program, which directly supports the Navy’s Revolution in Training (RIT) and the building of Sea Warriors.

“We are building hybrid Sailors who learn different aspects of maintaining the aircraft, and not just their specific rating,” Abel said.

The state-of-the-art technology specializes in delivering and supporting training systems and equipment that enhance operational readiness. Classroom instruction consists of digitally mastered, multimedia computer-based training (CBT) that couples video and audio learning. Students have a desktop computer in front of them, which allows for instructor-led or self-paced training. The instructors also have a computer at the head of the room, from which they can project the lesson on a screen visible to the entire class, as well as monitor the progress of individual students.

“With the technology we have here now, the paper load has been reduced and we can present the process step by step, where the students can see it all come together," said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW) Steven Pautler, an instructor at CNATTU and a 17-year Navy veteran. "Out in the fleet, Sailors were always wishing for more hands-on training prior to reporting to the ship, and now we have it.”

Pautler also said that with the high-tech setup at CNATTU, he can simulate faults in the training equipment that are identical to what the maintainers will actually see in the fleet.

“The days of having to pretend scenarios where the students explain the fault or worrying about getting them out to a plane to see things in action are gone, because we have it all right here in this building,” he said. “Everything here is what they will see on the flight line."

For Aviation Electrician's Mate 2nd Class (AW) Shomari Weatherspoon, who teaches navigation, flight controls, air-refueling systems and the electric portions of the power plant, the excitement and desire this new wave of training brings to the faces of his students has made his tour as an instructor that much more fulfilling.

“When they see the trainer, they want to touch everything, so my biggest challenge sometimes is holding them back as the class rotates through the cockpit,” he said. “We are letting them troubleshoot wiring, pull components, and get in depth with equipment that they wouldn’t be able to touch right off the bat in the fleet.”

Every aviation rating with the exception of Aircrew Survival Equipmentman (PR) trains at CNATTU Oceana, and the students range in experience from junior enlisted maintainers to division officers attending the Supervisory Familiarization Course. The successful integration of new Sailors and those with fleet experience in CNATTU’s high-tech training environment has been, in Abel’s eyes, a great success story so far, and he is excited about the direction RIT is taking the Navy.

“Manning and personnel are two of the largest expenditures the Navy has right now, and this training method goes a long way to saving money and raising quality in both of those areas,” Abel said. “Every instructor responded to the call to revolutionize our training, and the students are excited and eager to learn. We are matching the best Sailors with the latest technology and providing what the fleet needs.”


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