Pease prepares for new tanker with relocation of flight simulator

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Curtis J. Lenz
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
A ceremony was held here today to retire the KC-135 flight simulator, marking a turning point as the base prepares to bed down the U.S. Air Force's newest tanker, the KC-46A Pegasus.

In 2014,  Air Mobility Command and the Air National Guard worked together to identify a total of four KC-135 pilot flight simulators to eventually be relocated as a result of KC-46A allocations to McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, and Pease ANGB, New Hampshire.

The KC-46A Pegasus is the first of a three-phase effort to replace the Air Force tanker fleet.

"Today is a significant day in history," said Col. James Ryan. "It's a bitter sweet moment for us."

He added, "The bitter part is that we're saying farewell to an old friend. For more than 20 years it's been with us to take care of us and to train us."

Simulators improve efficiency and effectiveness across the Total Force mobility enterprise by maximizing flying-hour cost avoidance through improved simulator access.

"The change in the simulator means long term growth for the unit," said Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Casella, air refueling superintendent. "The new mission set, and the high fidelity simulators will increase training awareness for the aircrew."

He added that the simulators and boom simulators will be able to talk to each other on the network and will be able to do virtual training.

AMC operates 19 KC-135 pilot flight simulators and nine Boom Operator Weapons System Trainers at 13 regional sites worldwide to support 42 KC-135 units. The Pease flight simulator is a regional simulator, one of four in the Air National Guard. The primary users in addition to the 157 ARW are the 108 ARW and the 101 ARW.

Ryan lauded the efforts of those civilians who maintain the simulator:

"No one who has been trained in this simulator throughout the past 20 years has been involved in a significant aircraft accident, incident, and loss of lives or have been hurt," said Ryan. "This is not necessarily a testament of the wires, hydraulics and electronics but it is really a testament of those instructors who have kept it running and their remarkable ability to train and teach us."

The simulator was built by Boeing and delivered to Plattsburgh Air Force Base, New York in 1990.The first Pease flight simulator was completed and ready for training operation in February 1996. The simulator was initially housed in hangar 252, and was moved into its current location in 2004. Construction of a new full three-dimensional motion based KC-135 flight simulator was completed in 2009. The current facility has been in operation since July 2009 and operates five days a week and provides continuation training, currently training, aircraft commander and instructor upgrades.

Since the original simulator began operation in 1996, approximately 12,310 U.S. Air Force student pilots have completed 30,269 simulator hours; a 94 percent utilization rate.

Officials expect the new simulator installation to begin in the spring of 2017 and ready for operation later the same year.