Vance friends, family take flight during holiday Red Carpet Sims

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Hailey Schroeder
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The 71st Operations Group invited family and friends of Team Vance members to experience flight in Vance’s simulators Dec. 29 while airfield operations were in recess for the holidays.

The Red Carpet Sims holiday event, named for the way simulator instructors and active duty volunteers roll out the red carpet for guests, drew 228 people this year.

This annual event aims to give Vance personnel and their family and friends the opportunity to see the inside of a cockpit and get a sample of the pilot experience, said Maj. Logan Draves, 71st Flying Training Wing programming.

The simulator operators and volunteers working the event enjoy the day as much as the participants do, said Draves.

“It’s good to see all the kids enjoying it, having fun with it,” said Terrance Sherrill, a flight-simulator instructor at Vance for the past five years.

People from a variety of career fields take advantage of this opportunity to use the simulators, often bringing their families as well, said Sherrill.

Lt. Col. Bryan Aulner, chief instructor pilot with the 3rd Flying Training Squadron, flew as co-pilot with each of his guests in the T-1A Jayhawk simulator.

“I brought my kids and wife to the sim to give an understanding of what we do here at Vance.  They know Vance trains pilots, but they are really not fully aware of all the tools that we use,” Aulner said.

In addition to his wife and children, Aulner also invited a teacher and her son from St. Joseph Catholic School in Enid to try out the simulators.

“I figured it would be good for someone from the local community who works with kids to have a better understanding of what Vance Air Force Base does so she can share the experience with her classes,” Aulner said. “Most everyone in Enid knows the base is here, but not all know exactly what we do and how we do it.”

Aulner said it’s very possible that flying in the simulators on Dec. 29 piqued some of the children’s interest in becoming pilots, saying his own interest began at age 5 after his older brother took him for a ride in a Cessna 172.

“It's always fun,” Aulner said of the holiday Red Carpet Sims. “The sim operators are very professional and do a great job making the most of the experience for the guests.”