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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, 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

Staff Sgt. Joseph Martinez, center, 362nd Training Squadron C-130 crew chief apprentice course instructor, 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)

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- The Air Force and Air Education and Training Command seeks to improve the quality, speed and relevance of the training enterprise by introducing virtual and augmented reality technology with new ground instructional training aircraft, or GITA.
The MC-130P Combat Shadow recently arrived on Sheppard Air Force Base and may look like the other Hercules aircraft that have been serving for more than half a century, but it brings several advancements 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 more in line with operational realities, as well as a insight to the different missions the 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.

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 California Air National Guard 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."