Reserve flight engineers are full throttle on training

  • Published
  • By Jeremy Larlee
  • 512th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 709th Airlift Squadron continued flight engineer training June 26, 2024, for three reservists enrolled in upgrade training at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. 

The training takes about a year to accomplish, and the target is for the flight engineers to be capable in the first engineer role that’s in charge of the C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft’s flight deck panels. The aircrew in the class are already qualified as second engineers that patrol the entire aircraft during flight. 

Airman 1st Class Kaleb Creswell, a C-5M flight engineer assigned to the 709th AS and one of the trainees, said he has been enjoying the challenge. 

“There’s a lot on the plane you need to be familiar with, and you have to make sure you’re up to date with any changes to your checklists,” he said. “There are 13 different checklists and an additional number of alternate and emergency procedures, so there’s a sense of fulfillment when you do it correctly.” 

Creswell’s training evaluator Master Sgt. Brent Gregory, 709th AS, explained why he believes the C-5M is the hardest aircraft to learn.  

“We have the most systems, and they are the most complicated,” he said. “You can’t fly with just one engineer. In addition to checking maintenance forms to ensure there are no degraded systems, those checklists contain more than a hundred steps to accomplish.” 

Creswell said it’s a lot of information but with studying and repetition, he is becoming more proficient. He said his quick mitigation for a recent flight incident was a confidence builder for him. 

“We were going for a takeoff and a duct blew, and I turned off the air conditioning, removing the air coming through and isolating the issue,” he said. “Being able to recognize the problem and correct it, without being told to do so, was a great feeling.” 

Gregory said moments like that are why he loves being an instructor. 

“It’s awesome to see that light bulb come on and to see them flourish in this community,” he said. “At first, they are hesitant and have no feel for the flow of the job, but eventually they get the hang of it. I love to see my students’ excitement when they start to progress and gain confidence. 

“Overall, it’s important to make sure the aircraft is in a safe and mission capable state for us to complete the mission of the day.” 

Creswell, who has been training for two years, said he appreciates how professional and helpful his instructors have been. 

“They are willing to work with you and are super knowledgeable,” he said.  “If you have the right attitude, they’ll push you to where you need to be.”