News>UPT class performs last parasailing training at Vance
Capt. Kris Ostrowski, 71st Medical Group Aerospace Physiology (right), radios an awaiting driver to take student pilot 2nd Lt. Philip DeLong of Class 08-15 aloft during parasailing training Oct. 15. Lieutenant DeLong was the last student to accomplish this training at Vance Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Mary Davis)
Second Lieutenant Philip DeLong with Class 08-15 soars into Vance history as the last student pilot to perform parasailing training Oct. 15 at Vance Air Force Base. This training has been taught for more than 60 years to assist student pilots with parachute landings. In the future, students will perform lateral-drift training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Mary Davis)
Second Lieutenant Philip DeLong, a student of Class 08-15, demonstrates landing techniques during parasailing training Oct. 15. Lieutenant DeLong was the last student pilot to parasail at Vance Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Mary Davis)
by Tech. Sgt. Mary Davis
71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
10/16/2007 - VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Class 08-15 drifted into Vance history books Oct. 15 as the last undergraduate pilot training class to accomplish parachute familiarization training that will soon be replaced with innovative training developed by Team Vance members.
In the past, students accomplished the four-day training course during Phase I academics, said Capt. Kris Ostrowski, 71st Medical Group Aerospace Physiology Flight commander.
"Students completed classroom training, where they received parachute and egress instruction and then practiced parachute landing falls on 2- and 4-foot platforms," explained the captain from Aurora, Ill. "They later progressed to a swing-landing trainer before parasailing."
Air Education and Training Command abandoned parasailing when it established a new student syllabus in October. No training was identified to replace parasailing, Captain Ostrowski said.
After three aerospace physiology technicians completed three-week Army Airborne training in June, they noticed the Army incorporated a different type of training for their Soldiers.
"The Army used lateral-drift trainers to prepare students to jump from actual aircraft," said Staff Sgt. Adam Lohn, NCO in charge of academics.
A version of the lateral-drift trainer was later designed by the aerospace physiology unit and submitted for approval.
"We recommended the new training to the wing commander, and it was approved in August," said Sergeant Lohn, a native of Fort Worth, Texas. "Vance will soon set the standard for all AETC UPT bases to follow."
Once the new trainer is in use, the unit will forward training results to 19th Air Force to be potentially adopted Air Force wide.
"The trainer will be up and running in a few weeks," Sergeant Lohn said.
Class 08-15 was the last group of student pilots to parasail at Vance.
"It was great," said 2nd Lt. Mike Dumas, a student pilot from Brockport, N.Y. "It was good to get out of the classroom and do something outside for a change."
Although it looked easy from the ground, Lieutenant Dumas said he thought differently once he was suspended 600 feet in the air behind a truck.
"It wasn't exactly a smooth ride," he said. "It was a little tough to get used to at first, but it went quickly."
A second lieutenant from Oklahoma City will be remembered as the last student pilot to accomplish the training.
"It was fun," said 2nd Lt. Philip DeLong. "We prepared a lot for this, so it was like second nature putting what we learned into practice."
For more than 60 years, student pilot have performed this training, said Jim Malachowski, wing historian.
"We've been doing some version of the parasailing for decades. Back in the 1940s, they just dragged the students behind a jeep," he said. "This is the end of a long tradition."
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