Not exactly put out to pasture: C-130H gets new training mission – saves time, money

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • Robins Public Affairs
An aircraft that had been flying continuously since 1974 has made Robins its final resting place. 

The Sept. 29 arrival of a retired  C-130H will not only enable maintenance professionals across Robins to have a dedicated aircraft for training purposes, but it will be a welcome addition to the two F-15s that no longer have to sit by themselves in the 402nd Aircraft Maintenance Group's aircraft training pad.

"This is a huge advantage not just for Warner Robins, but the entire world," said Senior Master Sgt. Shawn Davis, 373rd Training Squadron, Detachment 6 chief at Robins, referring to the global draw the school has from students who take courses at Robins. 

The squadron's instructors had an estimated 5000 students enroll in classes in fiscal 2015. 

The 373rd is one of many Air Education and Training Command field training detachments assigned to the 982nd Training Group at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. 

In the past, the training squadron used aircraft currently in programmed depot maintenance to train its students as part of various hands-on coursework. But that option became a challenge as more and more aircraft were being successfully pushed through the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex's aircraft gated monitoring system, leaving less available aircraft for training purposes. 

Scheduling aircraft for courses became a struggle. In order for maintainers to continue getting necessary requirements, one option was to send students off-site for training. That in turn resulted in temporary duty costs of about $3,000 per student, according to Davis. 

When the aircraft finally makes its way to the training pad, after being disassembled of parts that are no longer needed, Davis said he sees about a $700,000 per year savings in TDY costs. 

He expects the training school's hydraulics, avionics and engines courses, as well as a future crew chief class, will skyrocket with the addition of the new trainer aircraft. 

"This is something we never thought was possible," he said.

By fulfilling this critical mission need, the aircraft will allow personnel to receive specialized training to meet qualification requirements, eliminate any student backlogs associated with classes, and eliminate any interruptions to current production repair. 

"The ground trainer is a win-win for multiple organizations as it provides cost-effective maintenance training opportunities for our civilian mechanics and military expeditionary depot maintenance personnel," said Jim Russell, 560th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron director. "We no longer have to negotiate with operational units for additional non-production downtime on their aircraft to fulfill our maintenance training requirements." 

The aircraft training pad, constructed in 2012, is located at the corner of Macon Street and Marchbanks Drive.