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97 AMW officials host first Flying Rodeo, test instructor cadre capabilities

97th Air Mobility Wing Flying Rodeo.

Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, hosted the first 97th Air Mobility Wing First Annual Flying Rodeo, September 24 and 25 202. Throughout the rodeo, aircrew from the C-17 Globemaster III, KC-135 Stratotanker and the KC-46 Pegasus competed against other crews to test their job knowledge and refocus on competency of core mission sets. (Courtesy photo from the 97th Air Mobility Wing Commander Action Group).

97th Air Mobility Wing Flying Rodeo.

Members of the 54th Air Refueling Squadron run towards a KC-135 Straotanker during the 97th Air Mobility Wing Flying Rodeo on September 25, 2020, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Each aircrew was judged in categories including: cargo loading, air refueling, tactical arrivals and departures, landings, backing and combat offloads, low levels, and time control. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Robert Sizelove)

97th Air Mobility Wing Flying Rodeo.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Justin Eckelbarger, an aerial delivery specialist assigned to the 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron, secures cargo onto a C-17 Globemaster III during the 97th Air Mobility Wing Flying Rodeo on September 25, 2020, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The purpose of the Flying Rodeo was to mentor and develop instructors through friendly competition in core competencies taught at the formal training unit while focusing on safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dallin Wrye)

97th Air Mobility Wing Flying Rodeo.

From left, U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Devin Ulbirch and U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Justin Eckelbarger, aerial delivery specialists assigned to the 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron, load cargo onto a KC-46 Pegasus during the Flying Rodeo on September 24, 2020, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. In total, seven KC-135 Stratotanker, ten C-17 Globemaster III and four KC-46 aircrews competed against each other during the Flying Rodeo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Robert Sizelove)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

Altus Air Force Base officials hosted the first 97th Air Mobility Wing Flying Rodeo, Sept. 24-25, 2020. 

The purpose of the Flying Rodeo was to mentor and develop instructors safely through friendly competition in core competencies taught at the formal training unit.

“This whole competition is designed to give our instructors a way to improve their instructor ability while having some fun,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Adam Glover, the 58th Airlift Squadron director of operations and flying rodeo judge. “We are testing our instructors on anything from times they have to meet, altitudes they have to fly at, to landing on a certain spot on the runway. We are giving instructors an opportunity to complete the training they fly everyday with students, this time with other instructors.”

Throughout the rodeo, aircrew from the C-17 Globemaster III, KC-135 Stratotanker and the KC-46 Pegasus competed against other crews to test their job knowledge and refocus on competency of core mission sets.

There were either one or two judges aboard each aircraft to score the aircrew during the competitions and to ensure safety procedures were met throughout the rodeo. Each aircrew was judged in categories including: cargo loading, air refueling, tactical arrivals and departures, landings, backing and combat offloads, low levels, and time control.

“Safety was the main focus during the Rodeo and the judges were there to make sure everything was done safely and properly,” said Staff Sgt. Randall Moss, a C-17 loadmaster instructor assigned to the 58th AS. “My main goals I had for the rodeo was to have some fun while getting the opportunity to work with other FTU instructors. I do think the rodeo helped out our training mission here because our crews were allowed to get out and hone in our skills to better improve our instructor abilities.”

In total, seven KC-135, ten C-17 and four KC-46 aircrews competed against each other during the Flying Rodeo. Trophies were presented to each of the top scoring crews after the competitions concluded on Friday. “Safety is our number one priority, as it always is when flying,” said Capt. Nikolas Schueler, a KC-46 instructor pilot assigned to the 56th Air Refueling Squadron. “I think these types of events are beneficial to the training mission here because it gives us instructors a chance to do things we don’t often get to do.”

Altus AFB is home to the Air Force’s premier mobility instructor force. Introducing competition enabled aircrews to evaluate core skill sets and sharpen daily training objectives. In turn, focusing on instructors helps enhance the quality of training for the next generation of mobility Airmen.

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