LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --
In line with Air Mobility Command’s push to explore limited-aircrew employment concepts for Mobility Air Force aircraft, the 19th Airlift Wing took the initiative and recently began approaching the one pilot-one loadmaster syllabus with 61st and 41st Airlift Squadron pilots and loadmasters.
This was done to better prepare Airmen for threats MAF aircraft may face in a peer competitor fight and demonstrate readiness in case of an emergency situation in which a C-130J must be operated with a reduced crew complement.
“We look at it as a solution if crew members are ever in a contingency situation with limited resources and they need to get the airplane out of that danger,” said Capt. Abigail Plunkett, 19th Operations Support Squadron chief of training. “Normally there would be two pilots and two loadmasters, but this teaches pilots how to safely operate the aircraft with only one other crewmember on board.”
According to Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Baughman, 19th OSS group training flight chief, the syllabus is composed of two parts—instructor led ground training and simulator training.
In ground training, pilots and loadmasters review a slideshow containing teaching points for the crew regarding the important elements to look for before they enter the simulator. In simulator training, loadmasters gain familiarization with the C-130J Super Hercules flight control panels as well as maintain awareness in the aircraft while not overstepping the boundaries of the pilot.
The goal is to train all pilots and loadmasters within the units in the simulator, and currently there are no plans to perform a proof-of-concept test flight operating with a limited crew.
“We’re not trying to train loadmasters to fly, but we’re training them to be able to help a pilot safely get an airplane from point A to point B,” Plunkett said. “As of now, we will only be accomplishing this training in the sim.”
The simulated employment concept is used to prepare Airmen to be able to operate with a limited aircrew only if required to do so in certain combat situations.
“The goal is to better prepare crews by providing them more tools and options to be able to get themselves out of a dangerous situation effectively and safely,” Plunkett said. “This training can potentially be used during a worst-case scenario and save the lives of the crew members and their aircraft.”