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Qualified in 24 days: it used to take aeromedical evacuation technicians and flight nurses up to six months to complete initial qualification training. Now, a new 4th AF program has them ...

With the development of the Aircrew Initial qualification course, Air Force Reserve Command aeromedical evacuation crew members have improved the way the command initially trains its flight nurses and aeromedical evacuation technicians, greatly reducing the amount of time it takes nurses and technicians to become qualified as basic air crew members.

"Basically, we have built a program to train flight nurses and aeromedical evacuation technicians to become qualified in approximately 24 days," said Col. John Starzyk, 4th Air Force chief of aeromedical evacuation operations, March Air Reserve Base, Calif. "Before this course, initial qualification training was accomplished at home station and normally took anywhere from three to six months.

"These are the Airmen who provide care to our wounded warriors on the C-130, C-17 and KC-135 aircraft, and they are very much in demand. It's critical that we get their initial training and qualification accomplished as soon as possible."

The first AIQ course was conducted at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., home of the Reserve's 440th Airlift Wing, Aug. 5-29. Four flight nurses and six AETs completed the class. A second class, comprised of two flight nurses and four AETs, received training at Pope Sept. 8 through Oct. 2.

"Training is conducted in four phases," Colonel Starzyk said. The first phase consists of lectures, online computer-based training and some tabletop exercises held in a classroom.

The second phase consists of hands-on training conducted on static aircraft at Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C. (KC-135), and Charleston AFB, S.C. (C-17), as well as the C-130 fuselage trainer at Pope. During the second phase, students are instructed on egress systems and configuration for all three aircraft.

The third phase consists of actual flight training. For the initial class, the third phase took place on a cross-country mission aboard a 440th AW C-130 that flew from Pope to Scott AFB, Ill., to Peterson AFB, Colo., to Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz, and back to Pope. The 10 students were divided into two separate crews.

"While one crew trained on each leg of the flight, the other crew served as patients, logging secondary time," Colonel Starzyk said. "Each flight nurse got seat time as the medical crew director, and each AET got seat time in the charge medical technician position."

For the second class, the six students flew as one crew on a cross-country flight divided into five sorties.

The fourth phase consists of emergency procedures evaluation testing and flight evaluation.

"There were some challenges with these first two classes, but all of the students remained motivated and eagerly participated in all phases of the training," Colonel Starzyk said. "The majority of comments and ratings we received were highly supportive of the training."

In addition to reducing training time, Colonel Starzyk said the program also saves the command money by consolidating flight training at one location.

"The economy of scale the initial qualification course provides cannot be overemphasized," Colonel Starzyk said. "We're able to accomplish more than 1,000 ground training and more than 100 flying training events in about 24 days and about 17 flying hours. Qualification training conducted at home station or in conjunction with a major command exercise requires a significantly higher number of training days and flying hours."
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Publication:Citizen Airman
Date:Feb 1, 2009
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