Suppose your organization is tasked with training 1,500 special mission aviation students a year, from multiple major commands, to perform their operational functions. Their academic phase of training needs to be realistic, and it should not tie up the limited number of flyable aircraft available to train aviators who are in the flight phase of training. In addition, the training must produce maximum value from a relatively minimal investment.
That’s one challenge facing the 58th Training Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. The squadron’s fabrication flight – a team of eight mechanics and technicians – does its part to answer the challenge. Since 2008, they’ve repurposed retired aircraft into, or in some cases, created from scratch, more than two dozen ground-based aircrew training devices. The equipment is housed in a World War II hangar on the base’s west side known as “The Monster Garage.”