WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. - New York Air National Guard Airmen of the 106th Rescue Wing’s maintenance squadron spent a month teaching the ins and outs of C-130J maintenance to members of the Georgia Air Guard at F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base.
The 165th Airlift Wing’s maintenance squadron worked side-by-side with the New Yorkers Oct. 10-17, getting hands-on training fixing the latest version of the C-130.
The Georgia Airmen are converting from the C-130H to the C-130J, comparable to the HC-130J Combat King II search and rescue planes like those flown by the 106th.
Master Sgt. Derek Morrison, 106th avionics flight chief, said one of the lessons learned during the 106th conversion in 2019 was that the training was challenging.
The goal of the 106th maintenance squadron was to ensure a smoother training process and give them a chance to get hands-on and practice advanced troubleshooting, he said.
Master Sgt. Ashley Jones, the 165th avionics flight chief, said the 165th Airlift Wing started the aircraft conversion process in July and will replace its legacy C-130H with new C-130J models in December.
Before coming to the 106th, Jones said the Georgia Guardsmen completed a two-month C-130J training with the 373rd Training Squadron, Detachment 4, in Little Rock, Arkansas.
“The hands-on training has been very beneficial,” said Jones. “There are things you can’t always get in a trainer at a schoolhouse.”
Tech Sgt. Timothy Thompson, a 165th avionics technician, said the training has been helpful.
“Among our group, we have a lot of maintenance experience,” Thompson said. “But being able to apply those basic principles that we already know, seeing how that applies to the new system, has been really helpful to do firsthand.”
Thompson said the J-model is much improved, with a more friendly user interface.
“You just come out to the plane, turn it on and the software is ready to go for you to do maintenance,” he said. “There’s no uploading time or all that extra time.”
The J-model is called a glass cockpit, with everything more modernized and electric, said Jones.
“The most challenging part is continuing the training,” said Morrison. “The train-the-trainer portion of this is very difficult because they are going to have to take everything they learned here and train their [drill status Guardsmen].”
Morrison said the training helps prepare the 165th for success with the conversion and provides an opportunity to build rapport with another unit by sharing best practices.