Air Force

July 19, 2013

Nellis units resume training flights

Three F-16 Fighting Falcons, assigned to the 64th Aggressor Squadron, prepare to take off for a training mission July 16 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The restoration of flying operations represents a Congressional action which gave the Air Force approval to use $423 million to restore flying hours for affected units.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Many flying units under the 57th Wing grounded by the Air Combat Command stand down in June began flying again July 15 after Congressional efforts re-allocated $423 million from a $1.8 billion overseas contingency operations reprogramming action to support the temporary restoration of flight training hours.

For ACC, the restored flying hours will be allocated to combat aircraft and crews across the command’s operational and test units, including the United States Air Force Warfare Center’s Weapons School, aggressors and the Thunderbirds. Previously announced decisions to cancel some major exercises, Aviation Nation and all Thunderbirds demonstrations for 2013 remain in effect.

The money re-instates critical training and test operations for the Combat Air Force fleet across the Air Force for the remainder of fiscal year 2013. This impacts not just Air Combat Command units, but also CAF units assigned to United States Air Forces Europe and Pacific Air Forces.

“Six weeks of not flying has had an impact on aircrew proficiency and mission capability,” said Lt. Col. Douglas Musselman, 65th Aggressor Squadron commander. “We are taking a deliberate and methodical approach to regaining the level of proficiency we consider ‘standard’ for the 57th wing.”

While the return to the skies means a return to crucial training and development for pilots, navigators, flight crews, mission crews and maintainers, the leader of the Air Force’s CAF fleet cautions this is the beginning of the process, not the end.

An F-15 Eagle from the 65th Aggressor Squadron, flies over the flight line after participating in training mission July 16 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. With the resumption of flight operations, the 64th and 65th Aggressors will resume their support of air combat training and operational testing.

“Since April, we’ve been in a precipitous decline with regard to combat readiness,” said Gen. Mike Hostage, Air Combat Command commander. “Returning to flying is an important first step, but what we have ahead of us is a measured climb to recovery.”

Since the stand down, Nellis’ aviators have seen an increased emphasis on academic training and have utilized simulators as much as possible in efforts to keep their skills sharp.

“The aggressor mantra is ‘Know:Teach:Replicate,’ and while we have not been flying, we continued to work on the ‘Know’ and ‘Teach’ areas, which are where we have the greatest CAF and Coalition impacts,”
Musselman said, whose squadron of F-15 Eagle pilots trained to fly as simulated enemies during air combat exercises. “Nothing compares to getting back up in the air.”

“Our country counts on the U.S. Air Force to be there when needed – in hours or days, not weeks or months,” Hostage said. “A fire department doesn’t have time to ‘spin up’ when a fire breaks out, and we don’t know where or when the next crisis will break out that will require an immediate Air Force response.”
The restoration of flying hours only addresses the next two and half months of flying up until October 1.
“This decision gets us through the next several months, but not the next several years,” the general said. “While this paints a clearer picture for the remainder of FY13, important questions remain about FY14 and beyond. Budget uncertainly makes it difficult to determine whether we’ll be able to sustain a fully combat-ready force.”

Additionally, the restoration comes at a cost to future capability, including reduced investment in the recapitalization and modernization of the combat fleet.

“We are using investment dollars to pay current operational bills, and that approach is not without risk to our long-term effectiveness,” Hostage said. “We can’t mortgage our future. America relies on the combat airpower we provide, and we need to be able to continue to deliver it.”

Editor’s note: Airman 1st Class Joshua Kleinholz, 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs, contributed to this story.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler

Preventative healthcare: Key to overall wellness

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler Mellissa Urban, 99th Medical Group contracted licensed practical nurse, gives a vaccination to Tech. Sgt. Allan Habel, U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds quality assurance inspe...
 
 

F-16Ds removed from flight status due to longeron cracks

WASHINGTON — U.S. Air Force officials recently removed 82 two-seat F-16D Fighting Falcons from flight status due to the discovery of canopy sill longeron cracks found between the front and rear pilot seats. The cracks were discovered following an immediate action time compliance technical order, or TCTO, to inspect all F-16D due to initial structural...
 
 
leadership-edit

Leadership Lessons: Do you know our Air Force Heritage?

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. — On June 28, 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie were assassinated by a Yugoslav nationalist. One month later on July 28, the Austrian-Hungary Empire declared ...
 

 
U.S. Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika

99th CES ‘plumbers’ keep mission flowing

U.S. Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika Staff Sgt. Alan Franklin, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron water and fuels systems maintenance craftsman, uses a hand auger, or plumbing snake, to unclog a drain pipe at the Nellis Inn on...
 
 
U.S. Air  Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Tam

Civil Air Patrol cadets gain insight on Nellis

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Tam Maj. Jason Curtis, U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron no. 6 pilot, interacts with Civil Air Patrol cadets at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Aug. 18. The CAP cadets were...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle

Microchips help return lost furry friends

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle Dr. Michael Simpson, a Department of Army Civilian Veterinary medical officer, scans ‘P.J.,’ a military working dog, for a microchip number at the Nellis Veterinary Tre...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin