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Mobility Operations School introduces new maintenance simulator

by Tech. Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol
U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center Public Affairs

10/15/2007 - FORT DIX, N.J. (AFPN) -- The U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center's Mobility Operations School begins its first classroom use of the new Aircraft Maintenance Production Simulator, or AMPS, in October for its Maintenance Supervision and Production Course, or MSPC. 

The AMPS is a conversion and upgrade of the Aircraft Maintenance Officer Course simulator used at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, according to Senior Master Sgt. Paul Roberts, the superintendent for the MOS maintenance branch and one of the driving forces behind bringing the simulator to the center.

"The AMPS prepares maintenance leaders for the real-world challenges of managing an ever-changing flight line environment," Sergeant Roberts said. "The AMPS has 12 C-17 Globemasters and 12 KC-135R Stratotankers in its programming. Projection screens in the Expeditionary Center provide a bird's eye view of simulated flightline operations with the simulator." 

Master Sgt. Richard Woods, MSPC director, said the simulator provides realistic aircraft sounds to augment the visual display and the system uses 14 Windows-based laptop computers as kiosks for student inputs and interaction within the simulator. 

"Students role-play flightline positions including flight chief, section NCO in charge, production superintendents, expediters and working in a maintenance operations center," Sergeant Woods said. "With this leading-edge capability, Air Mobility Command's maintenance personnel will be better prepared to meet the volatile demands of mission readiness. This is one more example of how the Expeditionary Center incorporates innovation in training to prepare warfighters to meet tomorrow's mission." 

Students learn detailed processes in all forms of maintenance supervision and production, said Master Sgt. Rodney Whitney, one of the course's instructors. The course is built in its curriculum in two major areas. 

The first area of the MSP course focuses production management which includes training in aircraft and equipment maintenance management, aircraft status reporting, aircraft forms documentation and related subjects. The second area of curriculum hones in on personnel and resource management which includes training management, manning, personnel scheduling and expeditionary planning and deployments. 

"This course is tailored to technical sergeant selects through chief master sergeants in all 2A Air Force specialties," Sergeant Whitney said. "It also reaches all across the mobility air forces spectrum to include active duty, Guard, Reserve and selected civilians. Each year we graduate more than 330 students. Our first class for fiscal 2008 runs from Oct. 10 to 19." 

With the first class of the new fiscal year, Sergeant Woods said the students will have a step up from previous graduates thanks to the simulator being available. 

"The AMPS will allow the new students to practice and apply what they have learned in a realistic context," Sergeant Woods said. "The students will experience perspectives, ideas, skills and situations simulating authentic instances of flightline operations. They have a real opportunity to enhance the meaning of what they've learned and to become more proficient, thus enabling them to immediately perform a new position upon return to their duty stations." 

Most of all, Sergeant Roberts said the simulator will help the Airmen learn critical maintenance management decision-making abilities without having to actually step on the flightline. 

"The AMPS will allow students to make mistakes and learn from them," Sergeant Roberts said. "That's what we want -- for students to learn without fear of possible injury to people or damage to aircraft if this training took place outside the classroom." 

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