DOVER AFB, Del., 15 Dec. 2008. The new C-17 Aircrew Training System (ATS) from Boeing went into operation at Dover Air Force Base (AFB), Del., in November four months ahead of schedule. Boeing and U.S. Air Force officials held a ceremony Dec. 5 marking delivery of the system, which provides training to C-17 Globemaster III airlifter crews from Air Mobility Command and Air Force Reserve Command.
The key elements in the ATS are the Weapons Systems Trainer (WST) – a highly realistic, full-motion simulator used for pilot training – and the loadmaster station, which is a training device used by loadmaster students to perform preflight operations, operate aircraft systems, and practice emergency procedures. The WST in Dover's ATS is the 20th to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force.
Currently the WSTs use physical aircraft avionics, says Tracy Mead, C-17 ATS program manager for Boeing. "We plan to upgrade all of the existing WSTs with this technology, which means that we will be able to return the physical avionics to the C-17 aircraft program, allowing it to increase its spares inventory."
"In the past, aircrews at Dover had to travel to McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., and the Air National Guard base at Jackson [Miss.] to meet their training requirements," says Mark McGraw, Boeing vice president for Training Systems and Services. "By delivering this capability to Dover, we are able to save the customer time, mone,y and aircrew availability."
"It's great to just walk across the street to do the training. Finally, it feels like we are at a C-17 base," says Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jess Windsor, evaluator loadmaster, 326th Airlift Squadron.
Boeing has developed, operates, and supports 10 U.S. C-17 ATS sites and expects to expand to three more within and outside the United States by 2010. With a tradition of successfully delivering C-17 aircrew training to the U.S. Air Force since 1992, Boeing has also become the C-17 training provider of choice for customers from the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.
Boeing's C-17 training contract with the Air Force also includes an option for an additional WST to be delivered to Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. If that option is exercised, it will be the fourth WST Boeing has delivered to Charleston.
The C-17 ATS provides instruction to more than 1,500 new pilot, co-pilot, and loadmaster students each year while maintaining continuation training for more than 8,000 active, reserve and Air National Guard aircrew.