News: The Gophers and the Flying Vikings conduct eight-ship interfly
Story by Tech. Sgt. Amy Lovgren
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The 133rd Airlift Wing “Gophers” participated in an eight-ship C-130 Hercules interfly training mission with the 934th Airlift Wing “Flying Vikings” in St. Paul, Minn., March 14, 2014.
An interfly mission happens when two or more wings or different types of aircraft fly together.
“It is not often that we have this many aircraft available for use,” said Capt. Denny Paulsen, 109th Airlift Squadron.
The evening started with a joint mission brief hosted at the 133rd Airlift Wing. Aircrews received the latest information on the taxi plan, where each aircraft would be placed in the large formation, and what to do if there was bad weather.
“Flying in a large multi-element formation, such as tonight’s, offers some unique challenges and far more factors to consider when planning and executing vs. the standard two aircraft training mission that we are accustomed to,” said Paulsen.
In order to make the mission a success, airmen from each wing’s maintenance groups, logistic readiness squadrons and small air terminal sections had to increase their staffing levels to meet the demands of the tasking. In addition, Maj. Marcus West, mission commander, had to coordinate with civilian air traffic control to receive the proper airspace needed for eight aircraft to take off and land all consecutively.
In flight, aircrews where given simulated combat conditions scenarios, which covered tactics and techniques in adverse weather conditions and wearing night-vision goggles in a low-level flying environment. These scenarios forced the aircrews to use and practice secure radio procedures and utilize their threat detection, avoidance and reaction procedures.
“Tonight’s mission was a huge success,” said Paulsen. “A lot of great training was covered and everyone seemed to have a good time as well. Could not have gone much better!”