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Cooperative effort nets C-130 wing for hands-on training

by Amanda Creel
78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

12/20/2007 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFPN)  -- Robins Air Force Base units joined forces recently to help officials of the 373rd Training Squadron Field Training Detachment here obtain a C-130 Hercules wing so students of the school could have hands-on training.

With the wing, instructors can now demonstrate fuel systems repairs and allow the trainees to attempt repair procedures on a C-130 wing instead of being taught theories in classrooms. 

The detachment is a tenant unit here attached to the 373rd TRS at Sheppard AFB, Texas. Before procuring the C-130 wing, civilian maintainers going through the detachment would be guided through how the fuel system works and how to repair or modify it, but would not be given an opportunity to put the theory to the test.

"We wanted to be able to train people on what they actually work on," said Doug Wall, an FTD instructor. "The training program is going to improve the quality of the maintenance, reduce customer defaults and reduce reworks."

Their idea began shaping into a reality after realizing that a condemned wing of a C-130 could be converted into the perfect training tool. Officials from the 653rd Combat Logistics Support Squadron and the Aging Aircraft Consulting Incorporated assisted in the effort. 

AACI members helped locate the condemned wing at Warrior Air Base -- Robins AFB's mock version of a deployed environment -- and brought members of the 653rd CLSS in to help complete the necessary modifications, so it could be used by the training program.

"FTD needed the asset and we secured it for them," said Steve Haynam, an AACI engineering specialist. "If we hadn't been able to find one here, we would have had to procure one and the cost of that would have been astronomical."

It took the group of workers from the 653rd CLSS five business days to complete the modifications and turn the trainer over to the training program, which allowed the trainer to begin benefiting the depot immediately.

Capt. Chad Gross, the acting commander of the 653rd CLSS, said he is glad his Airmen had the opportunity to help ensure C-130s will be returned to the warfighter ready for the fight because of the enhanced training.

Now that the FTD has access to the C-130 wing, instructors can critique students as students attempt repairs. 

Another advantage to the hands-on training is that each maintainer who completes the training will be on the same page using the same techniques for repairs, said Scott Ary, a C-130 maintainer presently enrolled in the course. 

"Instead of just getting the information, we are going through the step-by-step process," said Michael Gayon, a C-130 maintainer presently taking the course. 

By having the hands-on training available for maintainers, they will be able to give the warfighter the assets they need to complete their mission, Mr. Gayon said.

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