by Airman 1st Class Saphfire D. Cook
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
5/3/2011 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- One of D-M's pilot reached a monumental milestone in the skies over Arizona April 27. Lt. Col. Andrew "Pooch" Kapuscak, 355th A-10 Training Squadron commander, reached his 3,000th hour of flight from the cockpit of an A-10.
"To me reaching 3,000 hours is a dream come true," Colonel Kapuscak said. "It's been an absolute honor serving the Air Force for almost 20 years. The places I've gotten to see, the training I've done, and the ground forces I've worked with closely in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait have made these 3,000 hours all the more sweet."
The flight was a training sortie Colonel Kapuscak flew with 1st Lt. Philip Budenbender, 355th Training Squadron A-10 student pilot.
"Here I am, with less than 30 hours, and he's about to reach 3,000," Lieutenant Budenbender said. "It's a remarkable experience to be a part of this milestone."
Colonel Kapuscak has been flying the A-10 since he began his Air Force career in June of 1993, and still loves it.
"I think that, other than the search and rescue folks who go out and save lives every day, the mission of the A-10 is the greatest mission we have in the Air Force," he said.
His love of flying was fostered from a very early age by his father, who was an Air Force fighter pilot in Korea and Vietnam and logged approximately 5,500 hours in a single-seat, single-engine fighter plane.
"All I ever heard was that flying fighters for the Air Force was the best job in the world," Colonel Kapuscak said. "He said that if they ever found out how much fun he was having they wouldn't pay him anymore."
Colonel Kapuscak joined the Air Force to become an officer and a pilot, and feels that he was very lucky to have been able to fly A-10 aircrafts since the beginning of his career.
"The training opportunities that I've received in the Air Force have allowed me to enhance my capabilities as a pilot," he said. "I'm a much more confident leader in the airplane than I was 1,000 or 2,000 hours ago."
The plane that Colonel Kapuscak flew for this momentous occasion was built in 1979. He equated it to a classic car, and praised the maintainers for the work they put in to keep the A-10 aircrafts up and running.
"The real event here is the maintainers and all the support folks who have allowed the A-10s to keep flying for all these hours," he said. "I'm confident in the aircraft because I know that the maintainers and crew chiefs have done their job 100 percent, and that allows me to do my job."
DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. - Lt. Col. Andrew Kapuscak, pilot and commander of the 355th Training Squadron, throws his hands up in celebration of completing his 3,000th hour of flying on the flight line here April 27. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jerilyn Quintanilla) Hi-res
Note: Pictured is A-10C 79-0167. And DM's A-10 training units are the 357th and 358th Fighter Squadrons.
Comment: Congrats to Lt. Col. Andrew "Pooch" Kapuscak from the entire Warthog News team.