Who says pilot training is risky business?

  • Published
  • By Col Mike Callan
  • 71st Flying Training Wing
Team Vance -- who says Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training is risky?
As I write this article, the weather has broken again and the familiar sounds of aircraft departing and arriving at our base are refreshingly heard again! Our flying mission always brings with it a degree of risk, and we got lucky Tuesday afternoon in dealing with that risk. A
T-38C on a contact sortie was performing a touch-and-go landing on the outside runway when the left main tire blew. Calmly, the instructor pilot (with a student on-board) followed regulation guidance and took the crippled aircraft back in the air. She completed all checklists and maneuvered her aircraft for a straight-in recovery -- upon landing, and despite her best efforts to keep the aircraft on the paved surface, her aircraft violently and uncontrollably veered to the left, destroyed a runway remaining marker and after sinking about two feet into the very wet ground, came to a complete stop. An emergency ground egress was performed, and both crew members walked away from this potentially life-threatening incident -- GREAT JOB! We'll determine what caused the tire to blow, complete the required safety reporting and fix the aircraft, but through strict air discipline and an alert IP and runway supervisory unit controller, the outcome was very much a success. Flying IS a risky business, so if you fly at Vance Air Force Base, don't ever let your skills diminish because it could happen to you next!
I was extremely happy to join with other base and community leaders Thursday and officially get our new logistics complex underway. It was a great day for Team Vance to begin the demolition and construction of a $15 million state-of-the-art facility that will drastically improve our logistical and mobility process. It will consolidate activities currently located in 14 very old buildings into one very energy-efficient building housing services, logistics, shipping and receiving and hazardous material storage to name a few. Yes I know, this means more orange barrels for Team Vance to contend with but our base needs these improvements. The project is scheduled to be complete in December '05 and it's going to be great!
Finally, the holiday season is in full swing for Team Vance. Many squadrons have had their holiday parties, office celebrations are planned and seasonal decorations can be seen everywhere I go -- what a great time of year! Please use alcohol responsibly, drive defensively with your seat belt on and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. We'll continue to accomplish our mission safely ONLY because all of you have taken the necessary steps to be safe -- enjoy your weekend!