Local

March 14, 2014

Firefighters get a refresher on crash recovery and rescue of vintage aircraft

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Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski
355 Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Thomas Gregory III, Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation pilot, instructs Airmen from the 355th Fire Emergency Services flight on extrication procedure from a P-47 Thunderbolt here, Feb. 27. Gregory informed the Airmen on every possible situation that could arise during a flight mishap.

Members of the 355th Fire Emergency Services flight engaged in crash recovery rescue training on the flightline here, Feb. 27. 
The training was in preparation for the several different aircraft that attended this year’s Heritage Flight, as well as those that will be present for D-M’s Open House in April.

“The training provides members of the FES flight with information on how to rescue the pilots from the warbirds,” said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Lumbreras, 355th FES Flight deputy fire chief. 

There were various aircraft at D-M during the Heritage Flight to include the F-86E Sabre, P-40 Warhawk and the P-38 Lightning. 

In case of an emergency, the pilot and passenger need to be removed from the cockpit as quickly as possible. Therefore, the FES flight needed to have an up close and personal look at each individual aircraft to insure they had a clear understanding of the extrication process.

“By and large the vintage aircraft do not have the electronic canopy releases and push-button controls that modern day aircraft have,” Lumbreras said. “So, the firefighters have to know how to manually open the canopy to rescue the aircrew. Our crews do not typically work around fighter planes equipped with props. The time to learn these hazards is before the call for help, not during the emergency.”

Aside from the differences in canopy releases, the priorities of the FES flight never change. 

“There really isn’t any difference in what we need to know and the level of training we receive,” Lumbreras said. “Whether it’s an A-10 or a P-51, we still need to know how to fight fire, cheat death and save lives.”
 
The FES flight is always ready for any emergency no matter what the circumstances.

“The Davis-Monthan Fire Emergency Services flight is always ready to take care of business,” Lumbreras said. “Our vehicles, equipment and training are world class. There is always something new to learn and there is always a different way of doing something. We never stop training.” 




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