by Jenny Gordon
78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
10/9/2015 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- An aircraft that had been flying continuously since 1974 has made Robins Air Force Base its final resting place.
The Sept. 29, 2015, arrival of a retired C-130H will not only enable
maintenance professionals across Robins to have a dedicated aircraft for
training purposes, but it will be a welcome addition to the two F-15s
that no longer have to sit by themselves in the 402nd Aircraft
Maintenance Group's aircraft training pad.
"This is a huge advantage not just for Warner Robins, but the entire
world," said Senior Master Sgt. Shawn Davis, 373rd Training Squadron,
Detachment 6 chief at Robins, referring to the global draw the school
has from students who take courses at Robins.
The squadron's instructors had an estimated 5000 students enroll in classes in fiscal 2015.
The 373rd is one of many Air Education and Training Command field
training detachments assigned to the 982nd Training Group at Sheppard
Air Force Base, Texas.
In the past, the training squadron used aircraft currently in programmed
depot maintenance to train its students as part of various hands-on
coursework. But that option became a challenge as more and more aircraft
were being successfully pushed through the Warner Robins Air Logistics
Complex's aircraft gated monitoring system, leaving less available
aircraft for training purposes.
Scheduling aircraft for courses became a struggle. In order for
maintainers to continue getting necessary requirements, one option was
to send students off-site for training. That in turn resulted in
temporary duty costs of about $3,000 per student, according to Davis.
When the aircraft finally makes its way to the training pad, after being
disassembled of parts that are no longer needed, Davis said he sees
about a $700,000 per year savings in TDY costs.
He expects the training school's hydraulics, avionics and engines
courses, as well as a future crew chief class, will skyrocket with the
addition of the new trainer aircraft.
"This is something we never thought was possible," he said.
By fulfilling this critical mission need, the aircraft will allow
personnel to receive specialized training to meet qualification
requirements, eliminate any student backlogs associated with classes,
and eliminate any interruptions to current production repair.
"The ground trainer is a win-win for multiple organizations as it
provides cost-effective maintenance training opportunities for our
civilian mechanics and military expeditionary depot maintenance
personnel," said Jim Russell, 560th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
director. "We no longer have to negotiate with operational units for
additional non-production downtime on their aircraft to fulfill our
maintenance training requirements."