New 'bird' finds home with 76th AS
The first C-37A stationed on Ramstein Air Base, Germany sits on the flightline, Dec. 13, 2010. The aircraft was introduced to team Ramstein to increase the flying capabilities of the distinguished visitor mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brea Miller)
by Senior Airman Scott Saldukas
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
12/15/2010 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- A C-37A was introduced to team Ramstein and the 76th Airlift Squadron Dec. 7 to help increase the flying capabilities of the distinguished visitor mission here.
The new aircraft is the military version of the Gulfstream V ultra-long-range-business aircraft and is the first C-37A to be stationed here.
The C-37A bed down program was led by U.S. Air Forces in Europe A8Z, and culminated with the aircraft arriving on Dec 7 from the Gulfstream Service Center in Savannah, Georgia.
"It has been a busy year for our squadron, and we are honored to have been chosen to receive the aircraft and have our own crew fly it in," said Lt. Col. Tony Schenk, 76 AS commander.
According to Lt. Col. Tom Dowdle, 76 AS standards and evaluations chief, the squadron is the largest and most diverse operational support aircraft squadron in the Air Force, and the C-37A will enable them to excel with the high operations tempo they encounter here.
"It greatly expands our capabilities for DV travel," Colonel Dowdle said. "We currently cannot meet the demand with our aircraft inventory, and this new addition will be a great help."
The C-37A is operated by a five person crew and offers unrivaled range, speed and communication capability. It can fly as high as 51,000 feet, has a maximum speed of Mach 0.885 and has a range of 6,000 miles.
"Our government and military's senior leaders can fly non-stop from Ramstein to San Francisco, Stuttgart to Johannesburg, or Frankfurt to Beijing," Colonel Dowdle said.
While airborne, a communication system operator will be able to ensure DVs stay connected with everything going on throughout the flight. With high tech broadband capability, key decision makers never lose contact with their chain of command.
"The aircraft offers a communication suite for DVs that will allow them to be reachable at any time," Colonel Schenk said. "Essentially, this offers everything they would have in their office - while airborne."
Aside from the upgraded communication systems and increased range, the aircraft also has an Enhanced Vision System that enhances the pilots' effectiveness in flight.
"EVS allows the pilot to 'see' through the clouds," Colonel Dowdle said. "The infrared image captured by the EVS is displayed on a head-up display, so the pilot can see both the flight instruments and the EVS picture simultaneously. With these two technologies, the C-37A can safely operate in much lower visibility conditions than nearly any other Air Force aircraft."
With the addition of the new aircraft comes the need to train personnel. The simulator training, which is conducted in Georgia, lasts approximately one month. Upon return, crewmembers then finish their training in the aircraft.
"Unlike most squadrons that are transitioning to a new aircraft, our unit is also deployed," Colonel Schenk said. "It's been challenging to simultaneously deploy and train our aircrew for the C-37A. It's a testament to the resolve and commitment of the men and women of the 76th that we have succeeded in both endeavors."
With the most recent aircraft addition, the 110 person squadron now operates C-21A, C-20H, C-37A and C-40B aircraft.