An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Foreign aircrew trains for multi-national mission

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Clinton Atkins
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
The Air Force C-17 Aircrew Training Center's ability to project a global force stretches well beyond the United States. The schoolhouse is currently preparing foreign aircrew for a first-of-its-kind mission in Hungary.

A multi-national consortium consisting of 10 North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries and two partnership for peace nations created the Strategic Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift Wing at Papa Air Base, Hungary, and together they will provide strategic transportation to many nations throughout Europe.

"(The HAW) is highly visible politically so it is really important that this works," said Norwegian Maj. Christian Langfeldt, who will be the director of operations at the HAW. "Without the training that (Altus AFB) gives us there would not be a HAW."

Over the course of the year, more than 24 foreign aircrew members representing their various countries will learn from the instructors at Altus AFB on how to safely and effectively operate the C-17. The first class of foreign aircrew to serve at the HAW is scheduled to graduate June 5.

"The training that the foreign aircrew members are receiving is almost exactly like what we put the pilot initial qualification students through," said Maj. Bernie Allemeier, Airlift Student Flight commander. "The majority of their training consists of (computer-based training) and several hours in simulators. They start out with non-motion going through checklists and finding out switches."

After that, the students will learn, in full motion simulators, about different configurations, some tactics and low-level flying, the major said. Toward the end of the course, the culmination of their simulation training will be applied to the real thing.

"The pilots will participate in three real flights," he said. "The first flight will be during the day and they will be doing low-level pattern work to include tactical arrival and tactical departure. They will also get to work with the loadmasters on ground ops doing combat off-loads, aircraft backing and engine-running offloads. The second flight is on night vision goggles where they will be doing a mix of night landings and NVG landings. Their third flight is during the day and that will be their check ride."

One Norwegian Air Force pilot said although the P-3 pilot training is twice as long it's not as effective as the training he is receiving here.

"The training here is very effective," said Capt. Oeyvind Haaheim, who previously piloted the P-3. "We have been here just more than a month and now we are starting to feel we can operate the aircraft. All of the instructors are very helpful and all of the training guides and training aides are easy to understand. It makes the training easier, but it's still a lot of hard work to go through everything.

"There is still a lot of training ahead of us, but after the three months of training here I am very confident that we'll learn everything needed to pilot the C-17," said the Norwegian pilot, who will also be stationed at the HAW.

Though providing airlift capabilities to several different countries may seem like a daunting task, Major Langfeldt welcomes the challenge.

"Working at the HAW is going to be a lot of fun," he said. "It will be a great experience to work with all of the different nations. It'll be an honor to represent my country as a part of this multi-national force."