Pilots and flight enginners navigate the skies behind the screens of a flight simulator

Pilots Capt. Mike Jacoby, 1st Lt. Scott Duguay along with flight engineer SSgt. Jason Beaudry (foreground), all members of the 103rd Airlift Wing, navigate the skies of Burlington, Vermont, from a flight simulator at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. The Flying Yankees are just the third Air National Guard unit to acquire the Multi-Mission Crew Trainer. (Photo by Senior Airman Emmanuel Santiago, 103rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

A Connecticut Air National flight crew took flight over the skies of Burlington, Vermont on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015; doing so without ever leaving the ramp at the 103rd Airlift Wing’s Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby, Connecticut.

Capt. Mike Jacoby and 1st Lt. Scott Duguay, both pilots with the 118th Airlift Squadron, along with flight engineer, Staff Sgt. Jason Beaudry, “flew” a training mission aboard a recently-acquired flight simulator.

The Flying Yankees took yet another step toward a complete conversion to the C-130H Hercules mission when they started training on a state-of-the-art non-motion flight simulator that was built, delivered and installed by a company called QuantaDyn out of Virginia. Still in its infancy, the multi-mission crew trainer (MMCT) gives aircrew the opportunity to simulate various types of emergency procedures and missions utilizing the C-130H. In the future, the software will have the capability to link up with Guard bases across the country to carry out missions together—virtually. Eventually, the program will also allow pilots to travel to different parts of the world to carry out simulated scenarios.

“It’s a great tool for us to use,” said Duguay. “Our guys can get the training they need without ever having to fire up an aircraft.”

To get the simulator up and running, Senior Master Sgt. Frank Mason, a flight engineer with the 118th, initiates the Integrated Operating systems (IOS) from a work station just behind the cockpit. At Mason’s fingertips, he can control just about anything in the simulation including the weather conditions. Once he goes through his checklist and the software is fully running, the crew can begin their preflight checklist and take to the skies, just as they would in a real C-130H.

“We can be sharper in our mission goals by constantly training on this, so we’re better out there,” Mason said.

The 103rd Airlift Wing is just the third Guard base to acquire the MMCT, behind only the Air National Guard units in St. Joseph, Missouri and Mansfield, Ohio. Eventually, every Guard base will house an MMCT which, according to Mason, will allow for incredible training opportunities for not just the Flying Yankees, but for all like-missioned Guard units.