HomeNewsArticle Display

Kansas Guard Airman innovates superior training method

Neidhardt designed and built a faux floor of a KC-135 to use as a cargo loading training simulator.

Master Sgt. Nathan Neidhardt, 190th Air Refueling Wing boom operator instructor, tightens tie-down straps to secure the MC 7 Air Compressor to the floor simulator at Forbes Field Air National Guard Base, Kan., January 18, 2019. Neidhardt designed and built a faux floor of a KC-135 Stratotanker to use as a cargo loading training simulator. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Emily Amyotte)

TOPEKA, Kansas (AFNS) -- With a high deployment tempo and limited aircraft, finding the aircraft available for boom operators to practice tying down cargo to the floor of the jet was almost always a problem.

Master Sgt. Nathan Neidhardt, 190th Operations Group aircrew training noncommissioned officer in charge, solved this problem by creating a fully-functioning cargo loading training simulator which checks all the boxes for improving safety, utilization of man-hours and logistics of cargo loading training.

What first sparked the idea to create a simulated KC-135 Stratotanker floor was the issues Neidhardt would continuously run into when trying to schedule a jet for training.

“It came up from a lack of aircraft since we’re so busy deploying,” he said. “Trying to schedule a cargo loading class with an actual aircraft was just hard. So the next best thing is to create a mock floor and use it.”

Previously, boom operators required an operational jet to perform this training. This caused hurdles and inconveniences for different entities around the base.

“While we were on the jet trying to train, the aircrew had to sit and twiddle their thumbs wasting valuable training time,” Neidhardt said. “Whereas with this simulator, it’s on our own time. We don’t need anybody there, it’s just the booms.”

In addition to wasted time, the previous method of training inside a KC-135 was often a safety hazard to Airmen and the aircraft. The indoor simulator also addresses these issues.

“We’re not in the jet where it’s dark, cold, wet and everything else,” he said. “It’s a controlled room where people can walk around and see different areas. It’s a better learning environment that allows them to make mistakes without the fear of damaging the floor.”

The plywood simulator perfectly resembles the floor of a KC-135, minus the materials used to construct it. Using references from his cargo loading handbook and knowledge of the jets he works with on a daily basis, Neidhardt was able to create a blueprint for the floor simulation, illustrating support beams and tie-down points in a grid-like pattern.

After one weekend and just under $3,000 in supplies, Neidhardt, his son and another Airman from the 190th Operations Group, Maj. Westley Broxterman had built a collapsible, indoor training simulator that would eliminate the need for a jet during cargo loading training.

This is helpful because it provides boom operators at the 190 Air Refueling Wing with more adequate training and ensures the safety of Airmen and valuable equipment on board the jet.

“At the end of the day, the boom operator is in charge of loading the cargo safely,” Neidhardt said. “If the cargo doesn’t get loaded safely, then there's a chance of that airplane being damaged or crashing. So it’s up to our booms to load cargo safely and properly because if he doesn’t, it affects the whole crew.”

Neidhardt believes that the cargo loading simulator has been a valuable investment for the Wing and the boom operators who will receive enhanced, innovative training.

“As an instructor and training NCOIC, my goal is to make every boom operator better than me,” he explained. “I want each boom operator to not settle for ‘just good’, but ‘the best.’ So when I train, I push them and I want them to be better than me because its a legacy thing. I did it for the booms and future booms.”

Engage

Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: Every inch, quart, and pound matters to the @grandslamwing EMXS Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory flight! The enti…
Twitter
.@USAF_ACC & @PACAF Airmen are practicing dynamic force employment ops during Exercise Pacific Iron. This training… https://t.co/tVThyHIDh2
Twitter
An F-16 Fighting Falcon received an in-flight software update during an Advanced Battle Management System demo at… https://t.co/PNPrxVTntf
Twitter
.@AFResearchLab is building an advanced high-power microwave weapon system to defend against increasing threats of… https://t.co/EoVbWbTIR4
Twitter
RT @Travis60AMW: Smoke on the water... or flight line... or whatever Deep Purple said 🎸 Yes, it does look this cool every time. 😎 https:/…
Twitter
The Department of the Air Force’s Chief Architect Office integrated commercial technologies to achieve decision sup… https://t.co/ddoCJB8fRF
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: Using Agile Combat Employment concepts, the @147thAttackWing transported MQ-9 aircraft/equipment over 450 miles from Hous…
Twitter
Juniper Falcon has ended. This in-person opportunity for U.S. military personnel and Israel Defense Forces to test… https://t.co/Enx1S0rI9X
Twitter
C-130 Hercules crews @374AirliftWing, Japan, helped @USArmy soldiers and @JASDF_PAO members drop from the sky durin… https://t.co/bHIdKk7yJv
Twitter
RT @GeorgiaGuard: #ICYMI: Members of the @165thAW had the opportunity to be a part of taking cadets from the Georgia Wing, Civil Air Patro…
Twitter
#ICYMI - Following guidance issued by the @CDCgov, the @DeptofDefense has directed employees working in areas of hi… https://t.co/3RUlbWvMNS
Twitter
Defenders at @EielsonAirForce Base, AK, are in a new weapons qualification course for defenders, rookies and vetera… https://t.co/jcahFIcT8J
Twitter
Excellence in all we do! https://t.co/Cp9gZucoz3
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: Accelerate, Change, or Lose: @GenCQBrownJr's call to action for the service and how Airmen can play a key role in #innovation
Twitter
Dover AFB Airmen transported 2 CH-47F Chinook helicopters to Royal Australian Air Force Base, Townsville, Australia… https://t.co/yc1fOZc3Lr
Twitter
A Cyber Operations Specialty Training and Requirements Team conference was held recently at @81trwKeeslerAFB, Miss.… https://t.co/kXMAUz5xGd
Twitter
.@HQ_AFMC released an additional $5M in support of "The AFMC We Need" initiative, empowering #Airmen to be a drivin… https://t.co/yFRwx625C5
Twitter
RT @NORADCommand: #BTF deployments are an integral part of our globally integrated defense operations that provide left-of-launch #Deterren
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: SecAF Kendall’s message to #Airmen & #Guardians on our collective responsibility to overcome COVID-19 ⬇️ For resources…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Good enough today will fail tomorrow. #acceleratechangeorlose https://t.co/5dAU3Q9Ouy
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,355,497
Follow Us