Monday, July 31, 2017

Mission Aircrew School at Bakersfield

By 1st Lt Karin Hollerbach, photos as noted

Part of our fleet on the flight line at Meadows Field (Bakersfield airport). Photo by Lt Hollerbach. 
The Incident Commander (IC),
 Maj DeFord. Photo by Capt Sullivan.

The California Wing (CAWG) held its annual Mission Aircrew School (MAS) on 21-23 July at Meadows Field in Bakersfield.   This training weekend was the flight portion of the MAS, following earlier ground school portions held in both Northern California (click here for more information on the ground school held at OAK airport earlier in July) and Southern California.

Maj Kuykendall at general briefing.
 Photo by Capt Sullivan.

Approximately 75 CAP members participated, as well as 18 out of CAWG’s 30 total aircraft.

The year 2017 marks the first time in which California Wing conducted this school at Bakersfield. Many thanks to the Bakersfield Composite Squadron 121 for hosting us and providing outstanding support, facilities, and hospitality.

We did it! Proud participants of the 2017 CAWG MAS. Photo by Capt Sullivan.

I had a great time participating in the MAS, for several reasons:  

One of the daily general briefings. Photo by Lt Hollerbach. 
I got to be the “pre-event Public Information Officer (PIO)”. There’s no such title, really, but I was the PIO before the event and invited several news media outlets to come visit during the exercise, at which point I handed off that responsibility to Lt Col Wetzel, who served as PIO throughout the weekend.  Happily, 2 of the local TV stations (KGET TV-17 and KBAK-CBS 29) sent camera crews and did a fine job of covering the event! 

You can see the article and video from KGET by clicking here.

Base staff providing one of the daily general briefings.
Photo by Lt Roudnev. 
Another reason I had fun was that there was a last minute Mission Pilot Trainee (MP-T) slot available, and I was able go as MP-T.  I had, in fact, just about a week prior to that completed the MP-T program at the National Emergency Services Academy (NESA) in Indiana (more on that in a separate post).  Of course it was fun to go flying again – and it was also nice to compare my experiences at both.

Sharing a laugh in the AOBD's office: from L to R, Capt Brown, Lt Baldwin, Capt Wheeler, Maj Johnson/C.
Photo by Lt Hollerbach.

I can say that there was some fantastic training going on at both versions of the MAS – and, as a proud CAP member within CAWG – that our training standards here in California very much meet the standards set by National.  Well done, everyone who organized and implemented the MAS training!
Aircrew planning a sortie. Photo by Capt Sullivan. 

Participants from Squadron 188 included:
Lt Booth (L) and Lt Roudnev (C) preparing for a sortie,
with their MP Mentor, Maj Christian (R).
Photo by Lt Hollerbach
  • Lt Col Tinnirello – PIO
  • Maj DeFord – IC
  • Maj Johnson/C – Operations Section Chief (OSC)
  • Maj Johnson/K - Air Ops Branch Director (AOBD)
  • Capt Brown – AOBD
  • 2d Lt Campbell – Mission Radio Operator (MRO)
  • Maj Luneau – Mission Pilot (MP) Mentor
  • Maj Blank - MP Mentor
  • 1st Lt Devine - Mission Observer Trainee (MO-T) 
  • 1st Lt Hollerbach – MP Trainee (MP-T) (during the event), PIO (prior to the event)
  • 1st Lt Booth - MP-T
  • 2d Lt Roudnev – MO-T
  • 2d Lt Baldwin - MO-T

Descending en masse on the friendly reception staff at the hotel where most of us stayed. Photo by Lt Hollerbach.

Lt Col Ferguson, CAWG Commander (2nd from R),
speaking at the general briefing. Photo by Lt Roudnev.
Thanks to Maj Luneau, who was originally going to do so, I got to fly one of our planes from LVK to BFL, transporting not only myself and the plane (which was needed for the sorties at BFL) but also Maj Luneau and Lt Baldwin to the event.  We had fun playing with the GX55 (old) GPS system, while I flew south more via pilotage and dead reckoning than anything else.  Yep, it’s nice to know those techniques still work.  We also completed our first training task along the way:  performing a route search, from PXN to AVE.

From L to R: Capt Brown, Capt Nicholson, Maj Johnson/C
and Capt Wheeler. Photo by Lt Roudnev.

Staff members at general briefing.
Photo by Capt Sullivan. 

Bakersfield was hot!  Density altitude calculations were important. But the flying was great.  As part of the curriculum, we practiced various electronic and visual search patterns, including creeping line, parallel, sector, and other techniques.  
Someone must have said something funny at the
general briefing!  Photo by Capt Sullivan.

One nice thing about California was that we had terrain!  That meant that, unlike at NESA in much flatter Indiana, we were able to also practice contour searches, along steeply rising terrain, a.k.a. mountains.

My aircrew, planning one of our sorties: Lt Saak (L)
and Maj Dineen (R). Photo by Lt Hollerbach. 

Part of the enjoyment for me, besides learning / practicing new techniques and flying in an area I was totally unfamiliar with, was meeting people from other squadrons, including my mentor pilot, Maj Dineen, and my MO-T, 1st Lt Saak. Since aircrews stayed together for all sorties throughout the training, we got to work together well by the end of the weekend.  

Marshallers working the flight line.
Photo by Capt Sullivan.

On the ground, I didn’t have much contact with the Ground Team trainees, but I did really appreciate those members, mostly cadets from the hosting squadron, that practiced their marshaling skills when all of our aircraft came back “home”, safely guiding us to the correct parking spot – fortunately, I remembered my marshaling signals well enough to know what they wanted me to do at each step!  Thank you, cadets and senior members, for keeping everyone safe while taxiing and shutting down.

Staff members and air crew at general briefing.
Photo by Capt Sullivan.

Aircrew planning their sorties.
Photo by Capt Sullivan. 

An aircrew getting briefed, right before heading out on
their sortie. Photo by Capt Sullivan. 

Finally, a big thank you to the very welcoming and helpful air traffic controllers at Bakersfield airport! 

All in all, this was a fantastic event. I would encourage any California-based CAP members interested in furthering their aircrew training - or, for that matter, their base staff or ground training - to consider attending and/or helping to organize next year's MAS! 

Monday, July 24, 2017

July 2017 All Hands Meeting

By 1st Lt Karin Hollerbach, photos by 1st Lt Alexei Roudnev

Squadron members at the all hands meeting, from L to R:
Capt Eichelberger, Capt Stevulak, 1st Lt Adams, Maj Wang
Due to the 4th of July holiday, this month’s All Hands meeting was held on the second Tuesday, i.e., the 11th.

Welcome new member, Dana Fogle!   

Monthly Recap

June was another busy month for our squadron, including:

10-14 Jun: Missing aircraft search in Columbia with Maj Blank, Maj DeFord, Maj Fridell, Maj Johnson/C, Maj Michelogiannakis, Capt Brown, Capt Hayes, Capt Perreira, Capt Rivas, Capt Stevulak, 1st Lt Choate, 1st Lt Hollerbach, 1st Lt Roberts, 1st Lt Rugroden, 1st Lt Spears, and 2d Lt Baldwin participating from our squadron.

More information on this search can be found by clicking here

15 Jun: ELT mission in the Visalia area, with Maj DeFord acting as IC2.

26-30 Jun: Drone debris mission, with Maj Michelogiannakis, Capt Hayes and Lt Hollerbach participating.  (Unfortunately, we did not get very far, as we had to ground the plane due to a maintenance issue – better to be safe than sorry!) 

1-2 Jun: Other June squadron events included the MAS NorCal Ground School held at OAK, which included participation from:
Lt Baldwin
  • Maj Blank (instructor)
  • Maj Luneau (instructor)
  • Capt Hayes (project officer and instructor) 
  • 1st Lt Devine (MO trainee)
  • 1st Lt Spears (MO trainee)
  • 2d Lt Baldwin (MO trainee)
  • 2d Lt Booth (MP trainee)
  • 2d Lt Campbell (MO trainee)
  • 2d Lt Roudnev (MO trainee)
  • SM Sharma (MO trainee)
More information on the MAS Ground School can be found by clicking here

Capt Hayes

16-18 Jun: Capt Hayes participated in an international HF radio exercise with UK Air Cadets.

Thanks to Lt Roudnev for ferrying the van to/from CAWG Encampment!

New Ratings, Promotions and Professional Development

Congratulations to the following members for their new / renewed ES ratings:
  • Maj Ironfield: renewed F5
  • Capt Brown: initial F5 - congratulations! (we now have 15 active pilots in our squadron!)
  • Capt Stevulak: renewed MO 
  • Capt Perreira: renewed MO
  • 1st Lt Choate: appointed Tow Pilot Trainer - well done!
  • 1st Lt Hollerbach: renewed CD
Congratulations, Lt Cambell (C)! 
And congratulations to Capt Brown for investing time and energy into her professional development and: 
  • completing the SENIOR level in the Aerospace Education specialty track
  • being appointed Group 2 Emergency Services Officer 
We now have 12 Squadron 188 members with 14 Group jobs. Thanks to all squadron members that have stepped up to the additional level of responsibility - keep up the great work! 

Other promotions and awards include:
Maj Wang (R) receives the 15 year Red Service Ribbon
from Capt Rivas (L)
  • SM Chris Devine was promoted to 1st Lt 
  • SM Robert Campbell was promoted to 2d Lt
  • Capt Brown: Level III Grover C Loening Award 
  • Maj Wang: 15 year Red Service Ribbon (3 bronze clasps) 
  • SM Mello: Membership Ribbon for completion of Level I
Congratulations – well done!

Upcoming Events
Maj Blank and other members/guests

13 Jul 13: G1000 IFR class @ OAK 5-8pm, led by Maj Michelogiannakis

21-23 Jul: CAWG MAS flight school @ KBFL (IC Maj DeFord)

8-15 Jul: NESA @ Camp Atterbury in Indiana - Maj DeFord, Capt Brown and Lt Hollerbach, attending for Advanced (DeFord) and Intermediate (Brown and Hollerbach) MP training

Capt Gast setting up this month's safety presentation
1 Aug: Change of Command ceremony – please attend this important meeting – come show your support for your outgoing and new squadron commanders! 

Safety Update

Capt Gast talked about how ADS-B works and what it means for pilots, and did a demonstration for electronic flight bag users to show traffic in the area of the Oakland airport. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

2017 NorCal Ground School for MAS

By 1st Lt Karin Hollerbach, photos by 2d Lt Alexei Roudnev

Welcome to this Year's MAS! 

Squadron 188 hosted the NorCal Ground School portion of CAWG’s 2017 MAS (Mission Aircrew School) on the weekend of July 1-2 at our squadron headquarters at OAK.
Entrance to our Squadron Headquarters

The course included 2 days of training in topics such as:

  • CRM (Crew Resource Management)
  • Preparing for and flying sorties – for Mission Pilots (MP) and Mission Observers (MS) 
  • Search patterns
  • ELTs 
  • Altitude considerations
  • Other key topics 

This prepares students for the flight portion of the MAS, which will occur in Southern California later in July. Graduates of the entire program can then look forward to achieving their MO and/or MP ratings – with the latter still requiring a checkride after the MAS.

This year’s Ground School had 15 MO candidates and 4 MP candidates attending.

Inside Squadron 188's Classroom

Capt Hayes

Course instructors from Groups 2 and 5 included:

Capt Heldt
  • Lt Col Peterson (MP, Group 5)
  • Maj Blank (MP, Squadron 188 OAK)
  • Maj Ettlin (MP, Squadron 157 STS)
  • Maj Luneau (MP, Squadron 188 OAK)
  • Capt Hayes (MO, Squadron 188 OAK)
  • Capt Heldt (MP, Squadron 80 RHV)
  • Capt Nicholson (MP, Squadron 23 DVO)
  • 1st Lt Gross (MP, Squadron 10 PAO)

Thanks to Project Officer, Capt Hayes, for organizing yet another fantastic event!

Participants Signing in for the Class

To attend the upcoming air portion of the MAS, you have to have attended either the NorCal or its SoCal equivalent of the Ground School weekends.  However, there may still be openings for base staff and/or ground team training opportunities.

Lt Col Peterson

Lt Gross

Several members from our squadron are involved in organizing that event as well:

  • Maj DeFord, Incident Commander (IC)
  • Maj Johnson/C, Operations Section Chief (OSC)
  • Maj Johnson/K, Air Ops Branch Director (AOBD)
  • Graduates Receiving their Certificates from Capt Hayes
  • Capt Brown, AOBD

Capt Nicholson 

If you would like to see whether you can still register for the MAS, or for other information, please contact Maj Wallace, Commander San Diego Diego Senior Squadron 57.

Maj Luneau (L), 1st Lt Devine (C),  Maj Blank (R)

The 2017 Oakland Ground School Class