19th Air Force leadership visit Vance for closer look at innovations

  • Published
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, 19th Air Force commander; and Chief Master Sgt. Erik Thompson, 19th AF command chief; were given a warm Team Vance welcome during their visit Aug. 14-16.

While on base, the duo took the opportunity to take a closer look at several of Vance’s innovations, to include dual-tower control, Banzai Flight and Vance’s Spark Cell.

Dual-tower control, now being adopted by other bases, returns up to 12 pilots to regular duty, rather than performing the additional duty of assisting air traffic controllers via the runway supervisory units. The initiative also impacts enlisted air traffic controllers who are now able to reduce upgrade time by 30 to 40 percent.

Banzai Flight is a test flight of student pilots utilizing virtual reality simulators and recorded classroom academics to augment existing curriculum. Students met with Wills and Thompson to share their insights and answer questions.

“Think of how much the world has changed in the last 15 to 20 years,” said Wills at an instructor pilot all-call Friday afternoon. “We need to try and get ahead, using innovation, so that we are not teaching the same pilot training for the next 30- or 40-year stretch.”

Wills and Thompson also met with civic leaders from both the local community and Dover, Delaware, to discuss best practices in civic engagement.

Their visit concluded with a T-38 flight for a bird’s eye view of current encroachment challenges.