News: VMAQT-1 trains to teach
Story by Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Training Squadron 1 continued its transition from operational to fleet replacement squadron by training its instructors-to-be in the art of landing on expeditionary airfields at Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue July 8–12.
Squadron pilots are currently training to become instructors to teach new pilots how to fly EA-6B Prowlers.
Landing on aircraft carriers and expeditionary airfields is not a skill Prowler pilots use often but is a necessary skill replacement pilots must master.
“The pilots and electronic warfare officers who were doing this throughout the week will be instructors at the fleet replacement squadron,” said Capt. Jill L. Stephenson, the aviation safety officer of the squadron. “We’re conducting training to sharpen our skills and take a look at how this is going to be as part of the syllabus when we have students. For a lot of us, it has been a long time since we’ve done anything like this, so it’s knocking the rust off and getting our skills honed again.”
Expeditionary airfield and aircraft carrier landings are one of the hardest landings a pilot can make. Shorter airfields require arresting gear to safely land.
“It is a skill set that forces them to become good pilots,” said Maj. Nathaniel A. Baker, the maintenance officer of the squadron. “It forces them to have a quick scan, it forces them to hold the airplane at the correct angle of attack at the correct airspeed at the correct altitude at all times in order to facilitate landing. By training them to do that, the student pilots can then go anywhere in the world that has arresting gear, execute arrested landings and operate from short-field runways.”
Baker said expeditionary airfields are typically 5,000 feet or less. The minimum distance in feet for a Prowler to safely use a runway is 5,000 feet, and that is only in the case of an emergency.
Since being designated as a training squadron in June, the pilots have focused on training to become instructors so they can pass critical skills on to the next generation of Prowler pilots.