Dover AFB readies for arrival of C-17s

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Nicole Langley
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Distinguished visitors from around the state gathered together with members of the Dover Air Force Base community Sept. 11 to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new C-17 training facility and the arrival of C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to Dover.

The ceremony was a celebration of nearly a decade of work coming to fruition, and the beginning of a new era in Dover AFB's strategic airlift capability with the groundbreaking of a new C-17 aircrew training facility.

The $5.6 million state-of-the-art training facility will house the latest fully electrical, full-motion C-17 aircraft simulator from Boeing's St. Louis factory, said Capt. Scott McAuliffe, Air Force project manager for the facility, and will have a modern electronic classroom for effective training on the latest C-17 tactics and procedures.

A loadmaster simulator will also be located in the facility, providing loadmasters the opportunity to simulate and hone their skills during various loading, off-loading, and combat off-loading situations and emergencies.

The groundbreaking of the training facility also marked the introduction of C-17s at Dover.

The first of 13 C-17s is slated for arrival in the summer 2007, said Col. Sam Cox, 436th Airlift Wing commander. Nine of the base's current 27 aircraft in the all-C-5 fleet will be redistributed to accommodate the new C-17s.

Colonel Cox said training is critical, and the new simulator will enable aircrews to practice all C-17 emergency procedures, as well as aerial refueling and instrument procedures.

Having flown the C-17 before coming to Dover, Colonel Cox spoke from experience when he discussed the aircraft's unique abilities.

"The C-17 provides a distinctly different capability. It can operate into austere airfields and land on dirt strips," said the colonel.

With its ability to land on shorter and narrower runways, the C-17 provides access to a larger number of airfields around the world.

Sen. Joseph Biden, just one of the distinguished guests in attendance, spoke highly of the new training facility and its ability to allow Dover AFB members to train here, with reduced time spent away from families to train elsewhere.