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C-130 crew chief course gets rolling with new GITA

362nd TRS crew chief course has new GITA

Airman Chantz Stevens of Daphne, Ala., a 362nd Training Squadron C-130 crew chief course student, secures safety wire on a metal ring that secures the wheel hub cap on the rear landing gear of a MC-130P Combat Shadow, the newest ground instructional training aircraft at Sheppard Air Force Base, Nov. 5, 2018. The C-130, which was brought in from Moffett Federal Airfield by the California Air National Guard in October, provides an updated variation for crew chief students to train on and have a better understanding of some of its components before going to follow-on training at Little Rock AFB, Ark. (U.S. Air Force photo by John Ingle)

362nd TRS crew chief course has new GITA

Kansas City, Mo.-native Airman 1st Class Eleanor Anderson, a 362nd Training Squadron C-130 crew chief apprentice course student, tightens a MC-130P Combat Shadow wheel hub cap clamp during a training session at Sheppard Air Force Base, Nov. 5, 2018. The MC-130P she is working on is a new addition to the 82nd Training Wing's ground instructional training aircraft inventory, which was brought here in October by the California Air National Guard. This particular aircraft gives crew chief Airmen in training the opportunity to learn how to remove and reinstall the carbon fiber-style braking system used in the field, as opposed to the multi-disc system once used that would overheat and be cumbersome to replace. (U.S. Air Force photo by John Ingle)

362nd TRS crew chief course has new GITA

Staff Sgt. Joseph Martinez, center, a C-130 crew chief apprentice course instructor in the 362nd Training Squadron, talks about the wheel assembly of a MC-130P Combat Shadow during training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Nov. 5, 2018. The squadron received the MC-130P, the newest ground instructional training aircraft in the inventory, in October from the California Air National Guard. This variation provides updated components such as the carbon fiber-style braking system that replaced the obsolete multi-disc system on older C-130s. (U.S. Air Force photo by John Ingle)

362nd TRS crew chief course has new GITA

Airman 1st Class Jamarious Lee, a 362nd Training Squadron crew chief apprentice course student from Savannah, Ga., pulls a lever back and forth on a MC-130P Combat Shadow to increase hydraulic pressure for a jack during landing gear maintenance training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Nov. 5, 2018. The aircraft Lee is on is the newest ground isntructional trianing aircraft in the base's inventory and is an updated variation of the C-130, which allows Airmen to gain more familiarity with airframes they'll see in the field after departing Sheppard. (U.S. Air Force photo by John Ingle)

The 362nd Training Squadron C-130 crew chief apprentice course received a new ground instructional training aircraft that brings more modern components to the training arena.

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Introducing new technologies is a major focus for the Air Force and Air Education and Training Command as we continually seek to improve the quality, speed and relevance of the training enterprise.

Sometimes that means gadgets you wear, like the virtual and augmented reality headsets being tested at Sheppard for both technical and pilot training. But sometimes, that new technology is way too big to fit on your head.

The MC-130P Combat Shadow that recently arrived on Sheppard’s tarmac may look just like the other venerable Hercules aircraft that have been serving for more than half a century, but it nonetheless brings some important, advanced technology to the training arena.

Staff Sgt. Joseph Martinez, a 362nd Training Squadron C-130 crew chief instructor, said the aircraft, brought in from the California National Guard in October, has a few key differences that give Airmen experience that is more in line with operational realities, as well as a little insight to the different missions the venerable cargo plane conducts.

For example, the braking system on the MC-130P allows Airmen to learn on equipment that is currently being used in the field, the instructor said. He said the majority of the C-130 training aircraft used at Sheppard have the obsolete multi-disk braking system, whereas C-130s in the field use a new carbon-style system.

“This allows our Airmen to come in, get the training they need on this new-style brake and then utilize that at their home stations,” he said, having graduated the first class Nov. 6 of C-130 crew chiefs to learn on the carbon brakes.

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VIDEO | 01:37 | 362nd Training Squadron C-130 crew chief apprentice course receives new GITA
Martinez said when the Air Force changed the type of braking system on the airframe, that meant changes to technical orders, or maintenance manuals, as well as the types of tools used to remove wheels and tires and work on the brakes. He said they are making due, but the important part is the Airmen are being exposed to the equipment before they get to their first assignment.

Ernesto Acosta-Rivera, 362nd TRS training manager, said the process to get the new GITA to Sheppard began in August. He said the CANG is replacing their MC-130s with updated models, which meant tail number 0216 was available.

“It was pretty quick,” he said of the acquisition process. “Within a month it was ready to fly from Moffett Field.”

Acosta-Rivera said many of the aircraft used for training by the crew chiefs were older E models. Now when Airmen go to a 15-day course at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, after their 69-academic-day course here, they’ll be familiar with components they will see during their follow-on training.

Martinez, who has served on just about every C-130 variation ever flown and over as many locales, said he enjoys training new crew chiefs on the airframe and imparting his knowledge he has amassed over the years. After all, he said, he knows he is training his eventual replacement and he wants to train and inspire them.

“These Airmen need to know that what they are doing here is vital for our Air Force,” he said. “If we cannot get these aircraft up in the air and maintain them correctly, then the mission doesn’t happen and it actually can fail and people’s lives are at risk."