HomeNewsArticle Display

News Search

56 ARS brings KC-46 enterprise training to Mobility’s Hometown

people watch person give a brief

U.S. Air Force Maj. Derek St. John, 56th Air Refueling Squadron assistant director of operations, goes over the KC-46 Pegasus landing procedures, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, on Aug. 31, 2021. Four classes are scheduled for pilots, boom operators, and aircraft commanders to augment the buildup phase for the KC-46 enterprise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell)

person has hand near white board

U.S. Air Force Maj. Derek St. John, 56th Air Refueling Squadron assistant director of operations, shows on a drawing board where to ascend when operating the KC-46 Pegasus, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, on Aug. 31, 2021. There are three different phases of aircrew training: computer-based training, simulator training, and flight line training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell)

person points at white board

U.S. Air Force Maj. Derek St. John, 56th Air Refueling Squadron assistant director of operations, goes over the engine specifications of the KC-46 Pegasus at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, on Aug. 31, 2021. Each Class will have roughly 20 students from installations across the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell)

people walk toward aircraft

U.S. Air Force aircrew of the KC-46 Pegasus approach the aircraft for student training at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, on Sept. 7, 2021. This was one of the several training flights to help KC-46 Main Operating Bases with the enterprise’s startup. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell)

two people stand underneath aircraft

U.S. Air Force Maj. Derek St. John, 56th Air Refueling Squadron assistant director of operations, goes over the preflight inspection with 1st Lt. Travis Perkins, 18th Air Refueling Squadron KC-46 Pegasus student pilot at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, on Sept. 7, 2021. Before every flight, the pilot has to perform a full exterior inspection of the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell)

person inspects dials and knobs

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Bryce Forrest, 924th Air Refueling Squadron KC-46 Pegasus student boom operator, checks the observer panel in the KC-46 at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, on Sept. 7, 2021. This panel is used by a member in the observer seat to control radio communications and emergency oxygen supply. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell)

person straps down engine pads

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Bryce Forrest, 924th Air Refueling Squadron KC-46 Pegasus boom operator student, straps down engine covers at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, on Sept. 7, 2021. Part of the boom operator’s duties include managing any cargo, passenger, or supplies in the cargo area of the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.-- The 56th Air Refueling Squadron has begun assisting units across the United States with their initial stand-up of KC-46 Pegasus aircrew by instructing the KC-46 Phase Three Flight Line training at the 97th Air Mobility Wing. 

The 56th ARS is training members from seven units hailing from McConnell, Pease, Seymour Johnson AFB, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. The first training course started in late August 2021 with four additional classes scheduled for pilots, boom operators, and aircraft commanders.

“Bringing the (formal training unit) (main operating base) students into our FTU is important because we can consolidate and standardize the training that they achieve and make sure the standards are met from the MOBs,” said Maj. Derek St. John, 56th ARS assistant director of operations. “Having a common understanding of Air Force technical regulations, instructions and manuals is of the utmost importance. Teaching those standards here is how we give back to the (Mobility Air Force) students.”

There are three different phases of aircrew training: phase one is computer-based training, phase two is simulator training and phase three is flight line training. For pilots, this includes eight flights and a check ride, and for boom operators five flights and a check ride to become fully certified in their respective positions.

“This opportunity stands out because it makes you an overall better system navigator and operator for the aircraft,” said Maj. Shaun Hibshman, 78th Air Refueling Squadron KC-46 student pilot. “It makes you a better fuel receiver pilot and gives you the ability to be a net increase to the situational awareness of the battlespace.”

Each Class will have roughly 20 students from installations across the Air Force. The goal of these courses is for the students training here to all graduate the same way regardless of where they received training in the past.

“The training standards should be the same all the way across the board,” said St. John. “We're hoping to standardize all the units from the MAF, whether it be Guard, Reserve, or active duty. As always, our goal is to produce the most qualified Airmen possible.”

The initial standup for qualified KC-46 aircrew across the Air Force is handled by a contractor, but they have not been able to acquire enough instructors to teach the number of aircrew the service needs. This is where Mobility’s Hometown has come in to augment the buildup phase for the KC-46 enterprise.

“It's going to test our boundaries with the current pilot team we have,” said St. John. “There's not a whole lot of downtime for them, so making sure the students are constantly engaged with an instructor is one of the biggest challenges we're going to have throughout this phase. Right now, we're going to have 14 pilots on the flight line, which is the most we've ever had. Come October, we're ramping up to approximately 24 to 26, that’s really going to test our ability to execute the mission while meeting all the other day-to-day needs of the office.”

Dress and Appearance
Awards and Decorations
Air Force Promotions
Fitness Program
AF Demographics