Altus, Travis AFB Airmen train to maintain

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Miyah Gray

Members of the 97th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron trained maintainers from the 660th and 749th AMXSs at Travis Air Force Base, California on the KC-46 Pegasus at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, from February to May 2023.

The training provided maintainers who are familiar with the KC-46 a chance to share both classroom and hands-on experience with maintainers from Travis AFB, who are expecting the addition of KC-46s to their fleet.

“Since arriving at Altus, we've been able to both train and support some of the flying and refueling missions here,” said Master Sgt. Jeremy Green, 660th AMXS aircraft electrical environmental specialist. “We've been able to go out and fly with aircrew in order to prepare us for real world issues we may face while carrying out the 97 AMW’s mission.”

Green said, in addition to simulating scenarios in-flight, the group of maintainers have also had the opportunity to utilize static aircraft to simulate issues they may face in the field.

“We’ve also been using trainer aircraft to simulate using technical data to troubleshoot and identify parts that need to be changed in order to get the aircraft fixed and fully mission capable,” he said. “We are then able to prepare for some of the scenarios that aren’t as likely to occur on a day-to-day basis and we’ll be prepared to handle whatever technical issues we may end up facing.”

Blake Pewo, 97th AMXS KC-46 flightline expediter, said Altus AFB poses unique advantages due to having an all-civilian maintenance group.

“We build quite a bit of continuity here at Altus,” he said. “A lot of the general system knowledge has not been lost because our maintainers don’t rotate out. With that, and not having so much turnover as opposed to other bases, we have people that have worked with this aircraft since the first (KC-46) arrived at Altus AFB. We’re able to pass on all of the knowledge we’ve obtained to other bases who are receiving KC-46s.”

Senior Airman Raiven Belisle, 660th AMXS KC-46 crew chief, explained the significance of acquiring hands-on training with daily operations versus classroom and virtual learning.

“It's been really cool having hands-on experience and getting to know what I'll be doing on a day-to-day basis,” said Belisle. “The (KC-)46 is very similar to the (KC-)10 (Extender), which made learning a lot easier. Being able to actually work on the jets on a daily basis gave me the confidence to ensure they’re mission ready.”