Aircraft training pad assists in educational mission

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • Robins Public Affairs
The aircraft training pad located at the southwest end of Robins may appear uninhabited at times, but its existence is definitely appreciated by students and instructors who utilize it throughout the year. 

Constructed three years ago, the dedicated space for aircraft training operations offers not only mechanics a place to conduct hands-on training to perform their jobs better, but it's also a place where non-maintenance professionals throughout Robins who work with aircraft such as the F-15 can see them up close.

Brian Kalmer, an instructor with the 373rd Training Squadron, Detachment 6, at Robins, was out on the training pad one day last week with a class. Currently, there are two F-15s parked there, but that will soon change in a few months when a C-130H will arrive for training purposes. That aircraft landed here Sept. 29. 

Kalmer not only teaches fuels, flight controls and crew chief classes, but also an F-15 familiarization course for those in the work force who may not have very much direct, hands-on experience with the jet.

He sees planners as well as equipment specialists for example who order parts on a daily basis, but may not know exactly where the part is on the aircraft. By taking the week-long course, which includes classroom work, he explains and shows where components are located and how they work, enabling students to have a better understanding of their roles. 

"We can familiarize them with different parts of the jet, from engines and landing gears, to flight controls and hydraulics systems," said Kalmer. "That way they have a better idea of what is going on and it's not so foreign when they hear all the abbreviations and acronyms."

He added, "We show them how to hook up electrical and hydraulic power, and then we'll open up some of the panels, show them flight control components and basically break down each of the doors up front."

Students like Ashley Murray, an F-15 Foreign Military Sales logistics management specialist at Robins, can do a walk-around of the aircraft, learn about the plane's weapons delivery system and see how the jet works. 

"It's an eye-opening experience," she said. "It's nice to be able to be out here and get up close and personal."