January 2006 - Mildenhall
Mildenhall today was an EC-130 Commando Solo. The EC-130E/J is a
specially-modified four-engine Hercules transport that conducts
information operations, psychological operations and civil affairs
broadcasts in AM, FM, HF, TV and military communications bands.
A typical mission consists of a single-ship orbit offset from the
desired target audience - either military or civilian personnel.
Many modifications have been made to Commando Solo. These include
enhanced navigation systems, self-protection equipment, air refuelling
and the capability of broadcasting radio and colour TV on all worldwide
standards. Picture courtesy Matthew Clements
January 2006 - Newark
Air Museumís latest exhibit, Scottish Aviation Bulldog XX634 (T)
c/n BH 120/304 arrived at the museumís Winthorpe Airfield site on
Monday 9 January.
purchase of this primary military trainer from Parrallel Aviation
has been made possible thanks to a 50% grant from the PRISM Fund
and museum member donations made under the Gift Aid Scheme.
is believed that XX634 has previously been used for limited spare
parts recovery and the relatively short journey from Wellesbourne
Mountford, Warwickshire was completed by Nottinghamshire transport
company Hutchinson Engineering Services Ltd.
Bulldog type was derived from the Beagle Pup light aircraft and
for many years provided side-by-side dual control training in the
Royal Air Force. Like many other Bulldogs, XX634 saw extensive service
with various University Air Squadrons including: Cambridge UAS,
Manchester & Salford UAS, East Midlands UAS and Liverpool UAS.
Other RAF units XX634 flew with include: 3 Flying Training School,
2 FTS, the Central Flying School, with some time being spent local
to Newark Air Museum at RAF Cranwell, Lincs.
adding a Bulldog to its collection Newark Air Museum has further
expanded its extensive display of training aircraft. Courtesy
Howard Heeley, Down to Earth Promotions
January 2006 - Mildenhall
MILDENHALL, SUFFOLK -- Senior Airman Jason Cobb, 100th Maintenance
Squadron aircraft structural maintainer, spray paints the first
bit of balck on a decal to include nose art and the crew chief
block on the 100th Air Refeuling Wing's flagship 58-0100. This
aircraft is also the only one in the 100th ARW to carry the
"Let's Roll" nose art to commemorate United Flight
93 and the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. The 100th ARW
welcomed back aircraft 0100 during a ceremony on 4 January.
The aircraft was last assigned to the 100th ARW from 1992 to
1996. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Valerie Smith)
a military career spanning forty-seven years with no indications
it will stop anytime soon. Imagine, in that career, moving twenty-three
times. Sure, those moves might consist of rotating between a few
different bases, but with new faces and new missions, heading back
to a familiar assignment doesn't guarantee it will seem like home.
new member of the 100th Air Refueling Wing hadn't even arrived before
the buzz started about its return. KC-135R 58-0100 hasn't been assigned
to RAF Mildenhall since the 100th ARW stood up in 1992, but in a
ceremony on 4 January, was welcomed back as the wing's 'flagship'
aircraft. "It's typical for aircraft to rotate among bases",
said Master Sgt. Roger Dilcher, 100th Maintenance Operations Squadron.
Because the KC-135 is on a five-year program depot maintenance schedule,
in an average year at RAF Mildenhall, three 'tails' will be swapped
out. However, it's not characteristic to hold a ceremony when the
base gains a new member to its fifteen-aircraft fleet - the significance
for this aircraft, which was originally accepted into the Air Force
inventory in 1959, is its tail number. Since aircraft are known
to those who maintain and fly them by the last three numbers on
its tail, the 100th ARW was anxious to welcome this aircraft back.
not very often that aircraft with the same serial number as the
wing designation marry up with each other - and that is what makes
58-0100 so special. We welcome aircraft 0100 back to the 100th ARW",
said Colonel Michael Saville, 100th Maintenance Group commander.
Aircraft arrive at their new assignments and go through an 'intro'
program not very different to the one new Airmen experience. After
'100' was refurbished at its previous assignment at Fairchild Air
Force Base, Washington, it went into a five-day acceptance inspection.
This inspection consists of a 'nose-to-tail' look through to see
what it needed. Shortly after the acceptance inspection, which includes
painting the tail flash, the aircraft goes into the flying rotation.
This particular aircraft had been out of depot maintenance for about
a year and according to Sergeant Dilcher, had been "flown hard"
at its last assignment.
new aircraft can present challenges to the maintainers", Sergeant
Dilcher said. Much like cars and people, aircraft also have individual
quirks. "It can take time for crew chiefs to learn how best
to deal with those quirks - Crew chiefs have a relationship with
their 'tails,'" Sergeant Dilcher said. "It can take a
bit, but they get to know everything about that aircraft."
changing a fifth of the fleet each year might not be so noticeable,
RAF Mildenhall is currently undergoing an unusual changeover rate
because of an upgrade to the KC-135. The Global Air Traffic Management
System, or GATM, will necessitate a complete swap out of the fifteen
assigned aircraft in just eighteen months, Sergeant Dilcher said.
The upgrade also presents challenges, particularly with specialists
who now must work with a new system and possible problems they've
not seen before. Additionally, aircrew must be trained to fly the
plane with the upgrade. "Before, we've gotten tails in and
gotten them painted and it's been almost transparent," said
Sergeant Dilcher, who works with the flying schedule, making sure
there are planes available and crews who have been trained to fly
them. "This year, it's apparent because we have a new system
we're scheduling around. We have eight GATM aircraft and seven non-GATM.
We have to make sure the aircraft and aircrew can work together."
The wing's goal is to have all of the aircrew trained on the new
system by the end of February, with the aircraft swap out finished
in December. With the five-year schedule, the wing's flagship aircraft
should be around for a while. Courtesy 100th ARW PA