LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- The 714th Training Squadron broke ground on a Consolidated Fuselage Trainer (FuT) Facility during a ceremony at Little Rock Air Force Base, March 2.
The $35 million facility is expected to be fully operational by April 2024 and will house seven C-130 FuTs, to include four J-model and three H-model trainers.
A FuT is designed to simulate the rear cabin section of the C-130 aircraft. The training device is used to deliver training to loadmaster personnel in loading and unloading procedures, loading and rigging of cargo for aerial delivery, cargo ramp and door operation, and other routine and emergency loadmaster procedures.
“This 128,000 square foot facility will be a game changing addition to the existing C-130 ‘Center of Excellence’ that allows us to modernize training for our enlisted aviators, free up valuable flightline real estate, and ultimately enhance lethality and readiness of the entirety of Herk Nation,” said Col. Joseph Miller, 314th Airlift Wing commander.
In addition to housing seven individual bays, the consolidated facility will eliminate the requirement for a C-130J ground aircraft trainer and also enable all-weather and all-day night vision goggle operations for two J-model and one H-model FuT.
Each J-model trainer will feature a complete flight deck with functioning panels required for loadmaster training; surround sound replicating aircraft aural cues; and simulation of refueling operations.
“This upgrade will have a tremendous impact as we modernize the way we train by increasing our capacity, upgrading our devices and expanding our capabilities,” Miller said. “The new facility will eliminate the current need for daily ground training aircraft, which will directly increase the FTU’s [Formal Training Unit] capacity for loadmaster training on the flightline.”
Charged with training 600 student loadmasters annually, the 714th TRS is continuously seeking innovative methods to better prepare and equip today’s loadmasters.
“The new ‘super FuT,’ as we call it, will help us maintain our position as the C-130 ‘Center of Excellence’ by expanding our capability to encompass new technology, cutting-edge equipment, and even virtual reality to make loadmaster training as realistic as possible while properly stewarding every taxpayer dollar,” Miller said.
The construction of the facility is expected to be completed by November 2022.