Train to fly: boom simulator operator

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jenay Randolph
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
Flying aircraft, or just merely being a part of the aircrew, is an important job that requires skills and techniques like most career fields in the United States Air Force. Therefore, training is an intricate part of their everyday duties.

At MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., pilot and boom aircrew continuation training is conducted to ensure that these personnel have the necessary skills to complete the mission efficiently.

"Training allows aircrew to experience various malfunctions that cannot be safely experienced in flight," explained Mark Vanderkarr, 6th Operation Support Squadron KC-135 Flight Sim Project Officer. "Training missions can be tailored to simulate any airfield the aircrew may deploy to."

For pilots alone, the training consists of six profiles to include crew resource management, quarterly pilot proficiency, hydraulics, engines and fuels, and pneumatics and aero. Each profile consists of a work book, two hour pre-brief, four hour simulated mission, and a half an hour de-brief.

Along with pilot training, there is also boom operator training, which also includes six profiles:; M10 proficiency sortie, fighter currency, heavy air-to-air refueling day, signal system abnormal and emergency procedures, emission control three and rare malfunctions, and multi-point refueling system. Each profile consists of a work book, one hour pre-brief, one and a half hour boom operated weapons system trainer mission, and a half an hour de-brief.

Training is completed quarterly, semi-annually and annually. The training takes place in the boom simulator, which is known as the BOWST. Having the ability to simulate flying missions instead of actually flying missions in aircraft to train is very beneficial.

"Benefits include being able to experience various malfunctions with no risk to the aircrew or aircraft, for example engine failure, runaway stabilizer trim, etc.," states Vanderkarr. "Additional benefits include monetary savings in fuel costs and aircraft flight time."

As a result of having new innovative technology with the simulator, training and preparation for the pilots and boom operators is more efficient. With this, MacDill is well trained and ready to complete any mission that they are faced with.