Flightline simulator shows the big picture

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jodie Witmer
  • 167AW/PA
Twenty-four 167th Airlift Wing members from flightline positions attended a maintenance supervision and production course at the 167th AW in Martinsburg, W.Va. June 1 - 6.

The maintenance supervision production supervisor mobile course challenged the 167th maintenance members to test their skills from the flightline.

One of the two course instructors, Gary Miller, chief of the maintenance section of the USAF Expeditionary Center at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakhurst, Trenton, N.J., said the course takes people from the flightline and trains them on the big picture.

According to Master Sgt. Dan Ritenour, the maintenance group training manager, the six day course included intense classroom instruction and two days of very realistic computer simulations of the flightline. The students dealt with hurricanes, lighting, and other things that can be experienced on the flightline.

Miller said during the simulation, students had to use critical decision making to solve problems. The students were given limited parts and supplies to get aircraft off the flightline. They also had discrepancies or problems with the aircraft and had to send people to fix it.

"The biggest thing is they have to work together as a team to make it happen, just like the real flightline," said Miller. 

The students were also moved into jobs during the simulation that they may not typically do on the flightline.

Senior Master Sgt. Randy Gray, production superintendent in maintenance at the 167th, said they were switched around and were able see what other people do.

Chief Master Sgt. Jesse Carr, aircraft maintenance superintendent at the 167th, said by switching jobs it helped them to understand their part in the bigger picture.

Ritenour said, "It gave the people in class an interesting view of what the other jobs do."

According to Ritenour, the members that completed the course now have the ability to be a production supervisor when they deploy. Before, members that didn't have this course were not qualified for that position.

Carr said, "It's going to make us more deployable and more usable in the real world. As a whole group it is going to pass a lot of dividends down the road."

The course would have cost more than $74,000 if the 24 students went to the two week course at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakhurst in Trenton, N.J. It ended up costing around $2,000 for the six-day course with two instructors at the 167th, said Ritenour.

According to Ritenour, maintenance has completed all of the C-17 formal training and is now completing on the job training.