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458th AS takes over C-21 training mission
Capt. Thomas Armstrong, a student with the 458th Airlift Squadron's C-21A formal training unit, checks his pre-flight checklist prior to take-off April 6, 2011, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Captain Armstrong was part of the initial qualification course under the 458th AS after it regained the C-21 training mission from the 45th AS at Kessler AFB, Miss. Upon completion of his training, Captain Armstrong will fly out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Brian J. Valencia)
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Scott to become one stop C-21 shop

Posted 4/6/2011   Updated 4/8/2011 Email story   Print story


by Bekah Clark
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

4/6/2011 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- The 458th Airlift Squadron will become the home of the sole C-21 formal training unit in the U.S. Air Force over the next four months as it re-gains the C-21 training mission from the 45th Airlift Squadron at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.

The 45th AS will dissolve as a unit underneath Air Education & Training Command and the mission will once again fall under Air Mobility Command's 375th Operations Group. The C-21 training mission had belonged to Scott up until the early 90s.

The first class, an initial qualification course, will begin April 4.

While the 458th AS will gain no aircraft and only one military position from the move, it will be a beneficial transformation for the 458th and the Air Force as a whole.

"Having the training unit reunited with the forerunning active duty C-21 unit is the perfect marriage of expertise, experience and excellence," said Lt. Col. VanHoose, 458th Airlift Squadron commander. "In a time of doing more with less while maintaining our exceptional level of service, the 458th will serve as a model for other units both here at Scott and abroad."

The 375th Operations Group already serves as the central hub for the majority of the U.S. Air Force's C-21's Operational Support Airlift mission, operating 19 C-21 aircraft out of the Air Force's current inventory of 56.

"By making the group the hub for all C-21 training as well, the Air Force will have one centralized, consistent focal point for all things C-21," said Col. Terry Ward, 375th OG commander. "Our ability to bring lessons learned from the field directly into the training environment will give the Air Force an extra level of guarantee that upon graduation these pilots will be prepared to handle any situation that might arise in the air or on the ground."

According to Maj. Scott Russell, a 458th AS instructor pilot and program manager for the project, the mission addition for the 458th began back in June of 2010 with the passing of Resource Management Decision 700, which determined that the C-21 fleet would be cut from 56 aircraft to 28.

The training mission, which is open to active duty, Guard and Reserve pilots, will not constitute its own unit as it did at Keesler; rather it will be added to the pre-existing OSA mission of the 458th.

"The 458th will have six qualified instructor pilots to carry out the C-21 training mission," said Maj. Karl Zurbrugg, 458th AS instructor pilot, who is also aiding in the mission's transition. "These pilots will also continue to fly the regular OSA missions when they aren't instructing."

Two C-21s have been designated for use in the three classes that will be taught by the 458th: initial qualification, instructor pilot training and senior officer training courses.

Initial qualification is for those pilots who are fresh out of pilot training or pilots who are qualified to fly other aircraft but now need C-21 qualification.

Initial qualification is a six-week long course, the first three weeks of which are accomplished at SimuFlite at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. While at SimuFlite, pilots accomplish simulator and receive undergraduate-level classroom instruction. The final three weeks of training are at Scott where the pilots accomplish classroom and flight training. The class is expected to host two to four students at a time.

Instructor pilot training, which will also host two to four students each rotation, teaches C-21 qualified pilots to instruct C-21 pilots in training. The first instructor pilot training course will begin July 5.

The instructor pilot training is a five-week long course. During the course, instructor pilot trainees accomplish simulator training at SimuFlite and receive graduate-level classroom instruction. The last two weeks of training are held at Scott where the trainees learn theory of instruction, how to instruct while flying , as well as safety rules and regulations.

"One of the biggest lessons we impart to them is to recognize their own limits as instructors," said Major Zurbrugg. "It's important that they know how to control the situation while they're instructing in the event that the student has a problem or makes a mistake. They're teaching but they're also several thousand feet in the air, it's ultimately the instructor's responsibility to ensure their and their students' safety."

The senior officer course will be held on an as needed basis for senior officers, generally colonels and above, who have been designated by their position or superiors as needing C-21 qualification. Depending on the requirement, this course qualifies senior officers to fly the C-21 as a fully certified crewmember or a crewmember who must fly with an instructor pilot.

The move is being made in support of the Fiscal Year 11 Force Structure Announcement which will cut the C-21 fleet down from 56 aircraft to 28 by Fiscal Year 2013, seven will be cut in Fiscal Year 11.

The majority of the Air Force's C-21 fleet is owned by the 375th Operations Group and operated by the 458th Airlift Squadron at Scott AFB, Ill., and two geographically separated airlift squadrons, the 311th AS at Peterson AFB, Colo., and the 457th AS at Joint-Base Andrews, Md. In light of the force structure announcement the 311th AS will lose one aircraft; the 457th AS will lose three.

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