Released: 31 Jan 2000
RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFPN) -- In a move designed to save money and improve the operational readiness of the Air Force, the 562nd Flying Training Squadron here began a four-month transition to contract T-43 pilots.
According to wing officials, the Air Force awarded EG&G Technical Services Inc., a contract in December to provide civilian pilots for the T-43 flying operations here.
"This is a 'win-win' program for the Air Force," said Col. Stephen Hoog, 12th Operations Group commander. "We anticipate a savings of nearly $1 million over the seven years of the contract, and we will also be able to return 26 active-duty pilots to the operational commands."
There are currently 31 active-duty military pilots flying T-43 training missions for the Joint Specialized Undergraduate Navigator Training and the Marine Aerial Navigation School programs. The 562 FTS operates 10 of the Air Force's 11 T-43s.
"EG&G brings a great deal of experience to the program, in terms of both flying hours and the undergraduate navigator training mission," said Lt. Col. Patrick Ward, 562 FTS commander. Specifically, the EG&G contract manager, Jack Rogers, is a retired Air Force colonel who was vice commander at Mather Air Force Base, Calif., when the navigator training program was there. In addition, EG&G's contract operations director, Mike DeSpain, is a retired Navy captain who has flown T-43 missions with the 562nd for more than three years.
Ward said the minimum experience for a contract mission pilot is 450 flying hours in a Boeing 737 (the civilian equivalent to a T-43) and some of the command pilots will have as many as 20,000 flying hours in heavy aircraft.
The 562 FTS commander said the transition to contract T-43 pilots should have no visible impact on the JSUNT or MANS programs.
"Given the overall aircraft and mission experience of the contractor, we expect a seamless, transparent transition to the civilian pilots in May," he said.
Ward stressed that the contract calls for EG&G to assume flying operations May 1, and to be prepared to operate the T-43 "schoolhouse" for initial qualification of future pilots in the fall timeframe. While the 562nd instructor navigator cadre provides a majority of the training to undergraduate navigator students, the contract pilots will also provide limited instruction as needed. (Courtesy of Air Education and Training Command News Service)
* Air Education and Training Command
* Randolph Air Force Base, Texas