FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --
Keeping Fairchild’s KC-135 Stratotankers mission capable and safe is not an easy job and requires an immense amount of training. While the Air Force puts maintenance Airmen through a generalized technical school, the brunt of training comes from a specialized program here.
The 92nd Maintenance Group Maintenance Qualification Training Program trains and qualifies Fairchild’s incoming maintainers on their job and has been innovating classes to help keep tankers in the air.
“This is qualification training. They go through tech school and get a brief idea of what the job entails, but they don’t get officially signed off on job training tasks,” said Tech Sgt. Cassandra Bucklin 92nd Maintenance Group MQTP instructor supervisor. “When they come through training, they are actually getting qualified and will be able to go to the flightline after completion and start work immediately.”
The 92nd MQTP has been creating their own training videos to go along with hands on classroom teaching methods, to increase understanding for maintainers that are enrolled in the program.
The MQTP separates Airmen training into two separate phases. Phase one training, or general aircraft maintenance training, takes 24 duty days, and phase two varies in length depending on the Air Force Specialty Code of the student.
Aircraft maintenance jobs that go through the MQTP for phases one and two at Fairchild, are crew chiefs, communication navigation mission systems, instrument flight controls, aircraft electrical and environmental systems, aircraft hydraulics systems, and engine propulsion technicians.
Instructors make training more personalized with courses designed to make the students feel competent and comfortable taking on the tasks of their job when they graduate.
“This school is a lot more hands-on and one-on-one with the students,” said Staff Sgt. Benjamin Wolford, 92nd MXG MQTP instructor. “Here we want to take time and actually go at the pace of the slowest learner to ensure that they know their job when they leave this school.”
MQTP has 16 instructors currently teaching the phase courses as well as ancillary training such as Human Factors training, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation training, and Self-Aid Buddy Care training for annual qualifications.
The instructors were recently awarded video equipment, by pitching it at Team Fairchild’s Spark Tank competition for the purpose of creating Airmen focus training videos to add to their curriculum.
“Air Force Headquarters reached out to us and they gave us a [video] kit and we’ve been taking this video equipment, going out to the flightline and creating training videos,” Bucklin said. “We did a spark tank pitch to get $20,000 for three additional kits and we won, so now we can not only create videos for maintenance, but people within the wing can reach out and can check out the equipment from us and create their own training videos for whatever tasks they’re trying to teach within their units.”
Most recently, they lead the way and created a KC-135 Stratotanker coronavirus disease 2019 decontamination video for AMC’s five tanker wings which can be viewed on Mil Tube, a Department of Defense accessible website where training videos can be shared for all DoD personnel to utilize.
“This is our way of propelling the 92nd Air Refueling Wing into the 21st century,” said Bucklin. “Especially with COVID-19 happening, we had to change training and change the way we were conducting classes. Having these videos made it to where we could show them how to do a task without having to go out there as much and risk not doing physical distancing.
“It’s more convenient and it’s a higher level of training, our team motto this year has been innovation,” Bucklin added. “Every week we discussed how we can be more innovative, what we can change and what we can do better. So we’re not only improving training, but were saving time and were getting people back out to the flightline.”
Team Fairchild’s MQTP is innovating their classes and better equipping the next generation of maintainers, propelling the KC-135 mission forward so we can continue to fly fight and win.