Monday, August 9, 2010

Surge operations prepare pilots, mechanics for ORI

by Airman 1st Class Nicholas Benroth
23rd Wing Public Affairs

8/9/2010 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The A-10C Thunderbolt II pilots and mechanics were recently put to the test in preparation for the upcoming Phase II Operational Readiness Inspection.

The three-day surge operation tested their capabilities to produce as many sorties as possible and to simulate the amount pilots' produce during wartime.

"We are conducting this exercise to help figure out where we can improve in preparation for the ORI," said Maj. Johnnie Green, A-10 East Coast Team Demonstration pilot. "We are looking to see what processes we can cut out or improve on."

One main thing the pilots and maintainers always try to improve on is the number of sorties. Each successfully generated flight is considered to be a single sortie.

"This exercise is mainly geared toward the maintenance side of our operations, but the A-10C does play a role in it," Major Green said. "The pilot's part in this exercise is to simulate a deployed environment and reach a certain time frame on their flight."

The pilots have to be at their target at a certain time to simulate dropping a bomb. Every time they land, the bombs they are carrying are unloaded and new bombs are reloaded simulating having to rearm an A-10.

"The maintainers have a very important role in this exercise," said Capt. Chanelle Willis, 75th Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant officer in-charge. "Our process of unloading and reloading ordnance is the closest hands-on experience we can get to an actual deployed environment."

The three-day surge operation did not require the maintainers to suit-up for different mission-oriented protective posture levels and wait in a bunker for the "all clear" announcement as done in previous exercises.

"The purpose of this training is to increase our capability in pushing out more planes and have great communication with the other units who also work on the planes," said Captain Willis. "If a plane is being loaded with weapons, other workers cannot be around the plane fueling it or doing any other support work."

With the schedule the planes follow and with the increased operations tempo to get the maximum number of sorties out, the surge operations helped provide insight to what areas the flyers and maintainers need to improve on in preparation for future exercises and next summer's ORI.

"This training will undoubtedly help the pilots prepare for their upcoming deployment and help push everyone to their limits," said Captain Willis.


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