Dover C-5M Formal Training Unit relocates to Texas

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. – The C-5M Super Galaxy Formal Training Unit conducted its final training flight June 8, 2017 here prior to its move to Texas. 

The FTU has been in place at Dover AFB since 2012, and has now transitioned all of its courses to facilities at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Kelly Field Annex, Texas.

This transition to Texas did not take place overnight; it was slow, thought out and deliberate.

“Over the past year, they (Kelly Field Annex) have been taking more and more of the course load, about 25 percent every quarter,” said Maj. Brandon Stock, C-5M FTU commander. “Now they have 100 percent of the course load and we are just finishing up what we had already started.”

According to Stock, the FTU’s operations are moving to Kelly Field Annex because it fits better with their training mission, opposed to Dover’s operational mission.

The C-5M FTU from its inception was never meant to operate permanently at Dover. The legacy C-5A and C-5Bs were in the process of being upgraded to C-5Ms, meaning that both legacy and new aircraft were flying simultaneously. This meant that schoolhouses for these aircraft had to remain open for training requirements.

“When the C-5M’s came into services, since Dover was the first base to receive them, they opened an FTU here,” said Stock. “It was a brand new unit that stood up from scratch.”

The majority of C-5As and C-5Bs have now been deactivated or upgraded, meaning that the ‘A’ and ‘B’ model schoolhouse is no longer necessary. All C-5 pilots and engineers now receive training solely on the ‘M’ model.

Since opening, the FTU has regularly taught seven courses at Dover: Initial Pilot Qualification, Initial Flight Engineer Qualification, Instructor Pilot Upgrade, Instructor Flight Engineer Upgrade, Initial Air-to-Air Refueling, and Pilot Senior Officer Course. In total, 471 students received training. These included all active duty and Reserve C-5M pilots and flight engineers from the four C-5M installations: Dover AFB, Travis AFB, California, Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts, and Kelly Field Annex.

As Dover’s FTU closes, Stock looked back with pride on what they’ve accomplished.

“It’s been challenging at times with all the moving parts,” said Stock. “With any flying schedule there are a lot of moving parts and hiccups along the way, like weather cancellations. So I have had to rely a lot on our schedulers. They’ve kept the pipeline flowing, so we can graduate the students on time and do it safely.”

Stock is also pleased with the how the FTU operated as a total force unit, employing both active duty and Reserve instructors mainly loaned out from Dover’s flying squadrons.

“Since the 9th [Airlift Squadron] isn’t augmented with extra personnel to man the FTU for the past couple of years, we’ve had to rely on our 512th Airlift Wing Reserve partners from the 709th [AS].”

For now, many around Dover might notice less C-5 traffic in the air.

“I think they will notice that fewer C-5s are flying because half of the C-5 flying schedule has been reserved for FTU flights,” said Stock. “The same number of C-5s will remain at Dover, just fewer touch-and-goes.”