SECTION C: AIR FORCE
This section reviews all aspects of U.S. Air Force support of missions used to transport, as passengers, senior United States civilian officials classified as Distinguished Visitor (DV) Codes 1 and 2 (President, Vice President, SecState, SecDef, etc.) as tasked by the White House Military Office (WHMO) or appropriate U.S. Air Force agencies. The section focuses on the 89th Airlift Wing (89 AW), since that organization has the mission of supporting the travel of high government officials. However, other USAF units also are involved in DV Codes 1 and 2 travel. The USAF team visited a representative cross section of these units; the results of those visits and other pertinent material are also reviewed in this section of the report.
C.2 Tasking Policy/Process
C.2.1 In the Executive Branch, the current policy for use of military aircraft is outlined in a White House Chief of Staff Memorandum dated 16 September 1994. The policy states that commercial airline accommodations shall generally be used as the most economic means to conduct official travel. In some cases, military aircraft may be used for official White House support missions if commercial travel is not available or appropriate for the particular mission. The memorandum outlines instances where use of DoD aircraft is appropriate. The travel must be one of the following:
a. Defense related
b. In direct support of the President, Vice President, or First Family
c. Specifically directed by the President
d. Required to meet national security concerns
The memorandum provides guidance on how requests will be reviewed/approved
as well as the rates to be used for instances where agencies must
reimburse the DoD.
C.2.2 In the Department of Defense, policy for using military
aircraft is found in a memorandum from the Deputy Secretary of
Defense dated 1 October 1995, DoD Policy on the Use of Government
Aircraft and Air Travel. This memorandum states "Military
aircraft shall not be used if commercial airline or aircraft (including
charter) service is reasonably available, i.e., able to meet the
traveler's departure and/or arrival requirements within a 24-hour
period, unless highly unusual circumstances present a clear and
present danger, an emergency exists, use of MilAir is more cost-effective
than commercial air, or other compelling operational considerations
make commercial transportation unacceptable." The memorandum
also outlines which travelers are required to use military aircraft
and provides guidance how requests will be handled for other official
travel. Currently, this memorandum is considered the "bible"
when it comes to policy governing use of DoD aircraft for official
C.2.3 The policy for support of travel by members of Congress
is found in DoD Directive 4515.12, Department of Defense Support
for Travel of Members and Employees of the Congress dated
12 December 1964. The directive states "...support
for approved travel of members and employees of the Congress shall
be provided on an economical basis (1) upon request of the Congress
pursuant to law, or (2) where necessary to carry out the duties
and responsibilities of the DoD." The directive outlines
factors which shall be considered when providing DoD support of
Congressional travel, as well as the procedures to follow when
requesting/approving such travel.
C.2.4 Essentially, U.S. Air Force tasking to transport/support
DV Codes 1 and 2 originates from one of three sources: the White
House through the White House Military Office (WHMO), other Executive/Judicial
agencies, and Congress. In the case of Presidential travel, WHMO
tasks the Presidential Pilot Office (PPO) at Andrews AFB, Maryland
directly. At roughly the same time, WHMO tasks the Tanker Airlift
Control Center (TACC) at Headquarters Air Mobility Command (HQ
AMC) for transport of support equipment and personnel. TACC in
turn tasks individual airlift wings (could be AMC, Air Combat
Command (ACC), National Guard (ANG), or Air Force Reserve (AFRES)
wings); depending on load, range, and aircraft availability.
These missions are called "Phoenix Banner" (Presidential
support), "Phoenix Silver" (Vice Presidential support),
and "Phoenix Copper" (Secret Service, non-Presidential/VP
C.2.5 With the exception of the President, the Office of the
Assistant Vice Chief of Staff/Special Air Missions (CVAM) is the
focal point for DV Codes 1 and 2 travel which originates in CONUS.
Presidential-directed travel (e.g. SecState) is tasked from WHMO
directly to CVAM. In the case of travel by Executive/Cabinet
Level DVs, the travel request is reviewed/approved by the Office
of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Executive Secretariat and then
sent to CVAM. The process is similar for Congressional travel
except the request is approved by the OSD Legislative Affairs
Office before it goes to CVAM. Service DVs who are eligible and
approved either through their "required use" status
or appropriate approving authority (e.g. SECAF approves Ass't
SECAF) also make their requests to CVAM. Once CVAM receives a
request, they validate the request and task the appropriate USAF
unit for execution. For DV travel originating overseas (e.g.
the traveler flies commercial to Europe and then uses USAF assets
in theater), the OSD Executive Secretariat requests support from
the Director, Joint Staff, who in turn passes the request to the
appropriate Unified Command.
C.2.6 CVAM tasks 89 AW directly, usually by specific aircraft
tail number. The 89 AW in turn, selects the crews, prepares the
aircraft and flies the mission. In the unlikely event CVAM cannot
support the DV mission with 89 AW assets, they look to other USAF
units (DV configured KC-10, E-4, CINC support aircraft, etc.)
to meet the traveler's requirements. Assuming the MAJCOM/unit
agrees to support the DV mission, CVAM passes the appropriate
information to the selected MAJCOM/unit.
C.2.7 In some cases, CVAM determines that the mission is best
supported by an operational support aircraft (OSA), primarily
C-21 and C-22. (NOTE: A European CT-43 was destroyed on 3 April
1996; the Air Force intends to replace it with a C-9 to become
part of OSA.) Destination, size of party, and communication requirements
are some considerations in making the decision to use OSA. If
OSA is deemed the best option, CVAM will validate the OSA request
and send it to the MAJCOM as noted above. In this case, the appropriate
MAJCOM allocates the mission to a USAF wing. Beginning 1 October
1996, the Joint Operational Support Airlift Center (JOSAC) became
the multi-service single manager for CONUS OSA. Figure 1 outlines
the tasking process from the originating agency to the appropriate
flying unit. NOTE: The tasking process from the wing level down
will be assessed later in this report.
Figure 1: DV Tasking
C.3 Safety Overview/Comparison
C.3.1 While absolute safety is not possible, every mission is
undertaken with a set of known and unknown risks. Primary DV
airlift is provided by 89 AW and PPO at Andrews AFB. It should
be noted that no 89 AW aircraft has ever been damaged or destroyed
in the performance of a presidential mission. Only two aircraft
in 89 AW have been involved in major mishaps; neither was destroyed.
The 89 AW and PPO however, are only able to handle a portion of
the DV airlift requirement. Additional DV airlift comes from
the operational support airlift fleet and from other units with
aircraft capable of supporting DV mission requirements.
C.3.2 As a point of reference, Air Force safety performance can
be compared to the performance of similar aircraft flying comparable
missions in the private sector. Such comparisons are not, however,
precise due to differences in the way safety data is captured
and analyzed by the Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA). While there are similarities in the missions, differences
exist that can have an impact on safety performance. For example,
a large portion of the airlift fleet conducts air refueling and
airdrop operations, but civilian carriers do not. It is also
important to note that, within the Air Force, one mishap may produce
a dramatic change in the system specific mishap rate due to small
fleet size and fewer hours flown.
C.3.3 The Air Force flies a number of military versions of commercial
aircraft in support of DV airlift missions. Figure 2 compares
ten-year accident rates for Air Force passenger carrying aircraft
to rates for their commercial equivalents. Although there is
no commercial equivalent for some USAF passenger carrying aircraft
(C-141, C-130, C-5), mishap data is included for reference. C17
data is not included because of limited history.
C.3.4 We can also compare accident experience by mission flown.
Figure 3 outlines the FAA categories and the USAF aircraft which
have similar roles.
C.3.5 The following figure compares USAF and commercial accident
rates over a ten-year period. When compared by mission type,
USAF DV mishap rates are somewhat higher than large air carriers,
but better than commuter airlines and air taxi carriers.
Figure 4: Accident Rates
C.4 89th Airlift Wing (89 AW)
C.4.1 Background and Safety Record
C.4.1.1 The mission of 89 AW is to "provide Special Air
Mission support for the President and other dignitaries; maintain
readiness and ensure quality support for Global Reach."
The 89 AW is unique in the Air Force--it is the only wing
whose primary mission is the transportation and support of key
U.S. and foreign dignitaries. Because of its unique mission,
89 AW has requirements and programs differing in some ways from
other Air Force operational wings. However, the lion's share
of the way 89 AW does its business is identical to other units
throughout the Air Force. This report certainly identifies and
assesses areas where 89 AW is different--it's also important to
keep in mind that the similarities with "standard" Air
Force operations far outweigh the differences.
Figure 5: Chain of Command
Figure 6: 89 AW Organization
C.4.1.2 The 89 AW chain of command runs from HQ USAF through
HQ AMC and HQ 21st Air Force to 89 AW commander. For the most
part, the wing organization follows the standard USAF objective
wing format with five subordinate groups reporting to the wing
commander. The Presidential Pilot Office (PPO) is a unique organization.
PPO consists of the pilots, other aircrew, and support personnel
engaged in direct support of Presidential travel. Figure 5 shows
the organizational structure above 89 AW; Figure 6 is 89 AW internal
structure to the group level.
C.4.1.3 The 89 AW units having primary responsibility for DV
transportation (1st and 99th Airlift Squadrons (AS), 1st Helicopter
Squadron (HS), and PPO) are selectively manned. The wing also
has a C-21 unit (457 AS) which supports operational support airlift
(OSA) transportation of DVs. Essentially, 457 AS is like other
USAF OSA C-21 units. For this reason, we will address 457 AS
(and other OSA units) in a subsequent section of this report.
C.22.214.171.124 The 89 AW has an enviable safety record. There has
never been a mishap with the President, Vice President, or First
Family on board. The Wing has flown nearly a million hours without
a mishap which destroyed an aircraft or caused a fatality. The
last Class A mishap occurred in 1991 when a VC-137 departed the
runway after an thrust reverser malfunction. There were no serious
injuries. In fact, the mishap was initially classified as a Class
B; but was upgraded to Class A because of the dollar cost of the
C.126.96.36.199 Commanders throughout the wing have a clear understanding
of 89 AW's unique mission and are well aware of the particular
stress the mission places on the wing's personnel. The wing commander's
philosophy is to accomplish the mission, without compromising
safety. Aircraft commanders have the final say whether or not
a mission is launched and/or continued. The wing commander clearly
understands that situations may arise where his personnel are
"encouraged" to go beyond prudent levels of risk. His
policy is very clear--don't press beyond safe limits. Interviews
with wing personnel at all levels indicate the men and women of
89 AW clearly understand that safe transportation is the absolute
first priority. The wing Safety Office is fully manned with trained,
qualified personnel--all have completed the requisite formal training
courses. Their primary challenge is to provide an effective,
far reaching, yet detailed program to meet the requirements of
89 AW's unique mission. The wing is responsible for the safe
and effective operation of six distinct aircraft, and the safety
program is tailored to meet each squadron's specific needs. Throughout
89 AW, commanders are very confident in their people's ability
to perform the mission safely, comfortably, and reliably. The
biggest safety concern is the age of the aircraft fleet. While
commanders, crew members, and maintainers are all confident that
safety is not compromised, they see the need for a comprehensive
modernization plan to replace or modify aircraft, as required.
C.4.2.1 The 89 AW follows the standard USAF command structure--the
wing commander is a brigadier general; subordinate groups are
commanded by colonels. The wing commander, operations group
commander and subordinate commanders/operations officers are experienced
aviators; many have served in 89 AW previously. Figure 7 contains
an outline of the experience of key leaders in 89 AW flying operation.
|Position||Months in 89 AW||Tours in 89 AW|
|Ops Gp Commander|
|Ops Gp Deputy|
|Commander, 1 AS|
|Ops Officer, 1 AS|
|Commander, 99 AS|
|Ops Officer, 99 AS|
|Commander, 1 HS|
|Ops Officer, 1 HS|
C.4.2.2 As noted, DV tasking for other than the President comes
to the wing from the Office of the Vice Chief of Staff/Special
Air Missions (CVAM). The wing assesses the operational feasibility
of the mission, schedules the aircrews, prepares the aircraft,
and has responsibility for operational execution. For Presidential
missions, the overall process is similar, but tasking flows from
the White House Military Office (WHMO) directly to PPO.
C.188.8.131.52 All flying operations in 89 AW fall under the 89th
Operations Group (89 OG) or PPO. The 89 OG consists of four flying
squadrons. The 1 AS has nine assigned crews and flies five C137
and two C-135 (Boeing 707) aircraft to meet long range, high capacity
(5,000 nm/60 passengers) requirements. The 99 AS has six
crews flying three C-9 (McDonnell Douglas DC-9) aircraft to meet
medium range, medium capacity (2,100 nm/42 passengers) requirements.
In addition, the squadron has 20 crews flying 10 C-20 (Gulfstream
III/IV) aircraft for low capacity (3,500 nm/12 passengers) missions.
Primary missions for both squadrons include Presidential backup,
First Lady and Vice Presidential travel, and support to other
senior government officials. As previously noted, 457 AS flies
C-21 (Lear 35) aircraft in the OSA role. This squadron will be
addressed in a subsequent section with other OSA units. The 1
HS has 26 crews flying 21 UH-1 "Huey" helicopters.
The unit maintains alert commitments and provides support of VIP
airlift missions in the Washington, D.C. area.
C.184.108.40.206 PPO is organized under 89 AW but is separate from 89
OG. PPO's mission is to provide safe, responsive Presidential
airlift worldwide. PPO has two crews flying two VC-25A (Boeing
747) aircraft (6,000 nm range). These are the primary Presidential
crews and aircraft. Additionally, each PPO pilot is qualified
in another 89 AW aircraft. The pilots maintain dual qualification
for occasions when the President travels on an aircraft other
than the VC-25. A PPO pilot will always fly in command of the
aircraft carrying the President.
C.220.127.116.11 The 89 AW is a selectively-manned organization. As
such, 89 AW chooses aircrew personnel only after a rigorous screening
process. When openings are projected in either 1 AS (C-137) or
99 AS (C-9/C-20), the wing solicits volunteers throughout the
Air Force. The minimum qualifications are 2,000 hours flying
time (2,500 hours desired), previous instructor experience, and
demonstrated leadership abilities. After an initial personnel
screening, prospective candidates are invited to 89 AW where they
are interviewed by a board comprised of the operations group commander
and deputy, squadron commanders and operations officers, and the
chiefs of standardization and training. This process has been
effective in insuring a highly qualified and experienced crew
force--currently, the average flying hours per pilot in 1 AS and
99 AS is over 3,750 hours.
C.18.104.22.168 Hiring procedures in 1 HS are similar to those in 1
AS and 99 AS. All candidates are volunteers, but there is no
interview process. The Air Force Personnel Center screens each
volunteer's personnel record and forwards the information to the
squadron commander. After review, the squadron commander selects
the best candidates. Additionally, there are no minimum experience
requirements, though most aircraft commanders are experienced
from previous assignments. Even so, the relatively small number
of Air Force helicopter units requires 1 AS to hire some pilots
directly from undergraduate flying training. The flying experience
of 1 HS pilots averages 2,100 hours.
C.22.214.171.124 PPO selects presidential crew members from 89 OG squadrons,
initially as PPO augmentees. All candidates are instructors in
their respective aircraft. PPO screens each candidate's records,
choosing the best for interviews. The presidential pilot makes
the final decision. Augmentees remain assigned to 89 OG, and
fly with PPO when needed on missions. When a permanently-assigned
position in PPO opens, the presidential pilot selects the replacement
from among PPO augmentees. Personnel assigned full time to PPO
serve on assignments of an indefinite length at the presidential
pilot's discretion (i.e. permanent assignments).
The 89 AW currently has no problem recruiting highly qualified
aircrew personnel, both officer and enlisted, for any squadron,
including PPO. The Air Force Personnel Center assigns personnel
to the wing on four-year tours and keeps all 89 AW flying organizations
fully manned. Additionally, the wing's experience level remains
higher than other Air Force wings because many personnel return
for second and third assignments. However, airline hiring increases,
anticipated to occur in the late 1990s, could impact 89 AW experience
levels. The wing's pilots, experienced and qualified in large
commercial derivative aircraft, are especially attractive to commercial
C.126.96.36.199 Aircrew training includes initial qualification, recurring,
and upgrade training. All training is administered at the squadron
level and in PPO. Requirements are tracked administratively by
the 89th Operations Support Squadron (89 OSS) for all aircrew
members (including PPO). Training requirements for 89 AW meet
Air Force and AMC standards. For example, frequency of recurring
training is identical to other AMC units.
C.188.8.131.52 Initial flying training is accomplished using 89 AW
aircraft; each squadron has an approved syllabus for initial qualification
training. All syllabus courses start with academic classes covering
aircraft systems and procedures. Concurrent with the academic
phase, pilots receive simulator training that includes Cockpit
Resource Management (CRM) training. For
1 AS, initial academic classes for the C137 are taught at
Andrews AFB by instructor flight engineers. These ground school
lessons last for two weeks and concentrate on checklist procedures
and aircraft systems knowledge. After completing the initial
academic phase, 89 AW instructor pilots conduct one week of combined
academic and simulator training at the Pan Am simulator facility
in Miami, Florida. At this point, the pilot returns to Andrews
AFB for flying training which consists of six flights in squadron
aircraft with 89 AW instructor pilots, followed by a qualification
check ride. Inflight Passenger Service Specialist (IPSS) candidates
assigned to 1 AS (C-137) attend a five-day TWA ground course focusing
on aircraft evacuation procedures and emergency equipment. After
successfully completing the TWA course, they return to Andrews
AFB for ten more days of egress and emergency equipment training.
Actual hands-on aircraft sessions reinforce academic knowledge.
The final IPSS evaluation includes written and oral examinations
stressing emergency procedures. The subsequent flight evaluation
covers equipment preflight, equipment knowledge, normal IPSS duties,
and hypothetical emergency situations. Passing this initial evaluation
qualifies the crew member as a Second IPSS. A Second IPSS flies
operational missions under the supervision of a First IPSS. The
99 AS (C9C) IPSS training is similar to 1 AS, but accomplished
in the squadron.
C.184.108.40.206 The 99 AS C-9 and C-20 initial pilot qualification
is similar to the 1 AS program, but Flight Safety International
conducts all academic and simulator instruction. C-9 training
is conducted in St. Louis, Missouri while C-20 training occurs
in Savannah, Georgia. The Flight Safety International program
lasts 3 weeks--evenly divided between systems academics and simulator
training. As in all simulator training, students fly mission
profiles stressing CRM, complicated by a wide variety of simulated
malfunctions. After completing the
contractor-provided ground school, C-9 pilots report for flight
training/initial aircrew qualification at Scott AFB, Illinois;
followed by qualification in the C-9C at Andrews AFB. After completing
simulator training, C-20 pilots return to Andrews AFB for additional
academic training designed to familiarize them with the unique
features of 89 AW's Gulfstream IIIs and IVs. Training in the
aircraft is conducted by 89 AW instructors and consists of seven
flights followed by a qualification check. Flight training profiles
emphasize such mission-specific training as small airfields operations
(5,000 ft of runway), limited navigation aid approaches, and short
C.220.127.116.11 Unless previously UH-1 qualified, 1 HS pilots attend
UH-1 qualification training at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. After
2 weeks of systems academics, 4 weeks of flying training, and
a successful flight evaluation, the students are fully qualified
in the aircraft. At Andrews AFB, newly assigned pilots complete
eight more hours of academics covering the Washington, D.C. area
route structure. Flying training consists of three local-area
orientation flights. Pilots are fully mission qualified after
successfully completing 11 mission training flights and a comprehensive
mission flight evaluation.
C.18.104.22.168 As previously mentioned, PPO crew members are selected
from the already fullymission qualified PPO augmentees.
Those selected to augment PPO attend VC-25 (Boeing-747) contract
academic and simulator training at the United Airlines facility
in Denver, Colorado. The three-week training program leads to
an airline captain-level type rating. Detailed systems training
and ten simulator sessions precede a full ground and simulator
evaluation. The training course provides an excellent cross flow
of information, including CRM, between United Airlines captains
and Air Force VC-25 crew members. Basic flight training in the
VC-25 consists of four local training sorties followed by a First
Pilot (copilot) evaluation. The next phase is mission qualification.
It consists of flying an overseas operational mission under the
supervision of an instructor.
C.22.214.171.124 Recurring (continuation) training within the wing and
PPO uses the same resources as initial qualification training.
Annual academic refresher courses are taught by 89 AW instructors
and include the Instrument Refresher Course (IRC), CRM training,
and classes covering Jeppesen flight publications and Terminal
Instrument Procedures (TERPS). The Instrument Refresher Courses
consist of six hours of intensive instruction tailored to specific
aircraft missions. The VC-25, C137, C-9C, and C-20B/H course
is weighed heavily toward international instrument flying procedures
and regulations, while the UH-1 version focuses on helicopter
procedures found within the United States. In the mandatory 4-hour
89 AW instructors address leadership, crew dynamics, and techniques
to safely conduct flight operations in emergency situations.
All 89 AW flying squadrons emphasize CRM. The wing training section
maintains a close interface with commercial aviation experts to
constantly incorporate the latest information possible. Recurring
simulator training is contractor provided and occurs semi-annually
for the C137s and annually for all other aircraft. Because
all PPO crew members are dual-qualified, pilots and flight engineers
(VC-25, C-137) receive two recurring simulators per year--one
for each aircraft. The Air Force Aircrew Training Instruction
(MCI 10-202) identifies the number and type of events (i.e. takeoff,
precision and non-precision approaches, landings, etc.). Crew
members must complete semi-annually. Each squadron and PPO determine
required training levels for all assigned crew members, the same
process as is used throughout the Air Force. The quarterly wing
Training Review Panel chaired by the operations group commander
assesses crew training trends. The review includes an examination
of currency completion rates and crew member readiness for upgrade.
All crew members complete yearly refresher training covering
life support, emergency equipment, and egress procedures.
C.126.96.36.199 Due to the higher level of experience in 89 AW, the
wing is able to raise the minimum requirements for upgrade to
aircraft commander, instructor, and flight examiner. For example,
USAF minimum requirement to upgrade to aircraft commander in the
C-9 is 200 hours in type with 1,700 hours total flying time.
However, 89 AW requirement for C9 upgrade is 100 hours
in the aircraft with 2,500 hours total. Until aircraft commander
upgrade is complete, pilots fly all operational missions under
the supervision of an instructor. Further upgrade to instructor
pilot requires six months minimum time as an aircraft commander.
Other crew positions in 89 AW also have more stringent requirements
for upgrade than their USAF counterparts. Upgrade to aircraft
commander in the VC-25 requires a minimum 100 hours in the aircraft
and 3,000 hours total flying time. Instructor upgrade candidates
require an additional 100 hours and six months VC25 aircraft
commander time before entering the upgrade program. A second
IPSS flies with a First IPSS or Instructor IPSSs for 15 to 18
months gaining experience before upgrading to a First IPSS. Due
to limited crew size, only a First or Instructor IPSS is assigned
to C-20 missions. First IPSS upgrade requires ground training,
written examinations, and flight evaluations.
C.188.8.131.52 The Air Force requires crew members to demonstrate
knowledge of aircraft systems, procedures, and governing directives
through recurring flight evaluations. The 89 OG standardization/evaluation
(stan/eval) program is consistent with Air Force standards and
includes a pyramid evaluation system. The pyramid system ensures
impartial evaluations and promotes safety and standardization.
Under a pyramid evaluation system, each level is examined by
the next above. For example, line fliers assigned to the squadron
are checked by a squadron evaluator; an evaluator at group checks
the squadron evaluators; the group evaluator is checked by the
numbered air force (NAF) evaluator. Within 89 OG, the pyramid
system mirrors the AMC approved system. Above the wing, 21 AF
is now recruiting C137, C9, and C20 pilot evaluators
to complete the pyramid structure. Although
not in the organizational pyramid, an operations group pilot evaluator
administers VC-25 flight evaluations to an evaluator in PPO who,
in turn, checks other PPO fliers. Recently, AMC directed the
Presidential Pilot to receive annual evaluations from an FAA examiner
to better meet the intent of the pyramid evaluation system. In
addition to administering flight and ground evaluations, the stan/eval
section ensures that applicable flight publications are current,
validates local operating procedures, provides subject matter
expertise, and advises wing leadership on the "health"
of the crew force.
C.184.108.40.206 All 89 AW pilots (except C-21 and UH-1), VC-25 and
C-137 navigators and flight engineers, and C-9C and C-20B/H flight
mechanics receive their flight evaluations on a 12month
versus the standard Air Force 17-month check cycle outlined in
Air Force Instruction 11-408, Aircrew Standardization/Evaluation
Program Organization and Administration. The wing senior
leadership decided the more stringent 12-month cycle is warranted
due to the criticality of the wing's mission. C-21, UH-1 pilots,
and IPSS crew members are evaluated on the standard Air Force
17-month evaluation cycle. Flight evaluations in the VC-25, C137,
C-9C, and C20B/H aircraft are deliberately made more demanding
than the average Air Force flight check because of crew members'
experience level and the distinguished visitors carried by the
unit. All crew positions receive an extensive oral evaluation
on aircraft systems, performance, and directives. Additionally,
during the inflight evaluation, a less than satisfactory grade
in any sub-area results in failure of the entire evaluation.
The inflight evaluation is conducted at multiple airfields and
requires crews to demonstrate safe operations during various simulated
emergencies. The 89 OG meets the Air Force standard for "no-notice"
flight evaluations, which means at least 15 percent of evaluations
occur without prior notice. However, we found no record of no-notice
evaluations administered to any PPO pilots since their assignment
to that organization.
C.220.127.116.11 AFI 11-408 directs NAFs to evaluate unit stan/eval
programs within their chain of command. Further, this AFI directs
NAFs to conduct periodic reviews to ensure the goals of the air
crew evaluation program are reached. According to the 89 OG Chief
of Stan/Eval, PPO was not involved during the last 21 AF periodic
visit to 89 AW in February 1995. When the 21 AF, Director
of Operations was questioned regarding this situation, he responded
that it was "understood that there would be no contact with
." On further inquiry, he said "we were given
guidance on PPO from 89 AW leadership and did not question the
." Investigating further, the Air Force team
found the PPO navigator and some enlisted crew specialty flight
records had been randomly reviewed during 21 AF's visit, but no
pilot records were reviewed. Further, the Air Force team found
no other documentation showing PPO involvement (e.g. emergency
procedures testing, etc.). It is their understanding that 21 AF
intends to include the PPO in future reviews.
C.4.3.6 Tasking & Mission Execution
C.18.104.22.168 As mentioned previously, CVAM often tasks 89 AW directly
by specific tail number for DV missions in the C-137, C-9 and
C-20. They select specific aircraft based on passenger load,
distance, destination, required communications support, and DV
preference. CVAM and 89 OG coordinate daily on aircraft
availability. Upon notification of a potential tasking, 89 OG's
Mission Operations section begins a feasibility study. This study
examines all mission details, including routing, airfield suitability,
operating hours, performance limits, enroute refueling requirements,
obstacles, and runway length. After determining feasibility,
CVAM loads potential mission details into an 89 AW-developed custom
software program (SAMMS). The Current Operations section runs
a "change history" to the SAMMS data base every hour
and notifies the appropriate squadron of a tasking.
C.22.214.171.124 Once the mission "confirms," the crew finalizes
routing, obtains an intelligence briefing for overseas destinations,
sends their routing message and requests diplomatic clearances
if needed. Mission planning for all 89 AW operational missions
is in accordance with AMC Instruction 11202, Volume I,
89th Airlift Wing Distinguished Visitor and Special Airlift Mission
(Airlift Operations), and the local 89 AW supplement. As
part of mission planning, crews regularly view airfield information
video tapes, study instrument approach procedures, and review
previous crew reports for planned destinations prior to departing
home station. As with many commercial air carriers, 89 AW crews
use Jeppeson Flight Planning Service flight plans for the mission.
Mission execution is virtually identical for 1 AS (C137)
and 99 AS (C-9, C-20) aircrews.
C.126.96.36.199 After the mission departs home station, the aircraft
commander coordinates enroute mission details with the DV party's
designated point of contact and updates 89 AW Command Post with
mission progress. DV missions often require itinerary changes
enroute. The aircraft commander relays mission change requests
to 89 AW Current Operations and CVAM. CVAM must approve all mission
changes to avoid aircraft or mission scheduling conflicts. When
CVAM approves the change, Current Operations coordinates with
Mission Operations for any support the crew requests (i.e. new
diplomatic clearances, flight plans, airport information, etc.).
C.188.8.131.52 For Presidential travel, taskings originate in WHMO
and by-pass the wing and operations group, going directly to PPO.
PPO performs all mission planning functions internally, including
coordination for diplomatic clearances. All changes required
after a Presidential mission departs are also coordinated directly
between WHMO and the Presidential crew. Mission changes are planned
internally by the crew.
C.4.3.7 Crew Rest
A common problem for 89 AW crews is that short-notice pre-departure
and enroute mission changes often interrupt crew rest. An 89
OG survey designed to improve operating procedures found 45 percent
of assigned crews experienced crew rest interruptions due to changes
requested by the DV party. However, no crew members reported
flying a mission without enough crew rest to ensure safe aircraft
operation. In an effort to mitigate the problem, 89 AW is building
a program to include a mission coordinator on C-137 overseas missions.
This officer will work mission changes for the aircraft commander.
While the C-137's passenger capacity allows for the extra crew
member, the limited seating capacity of the C-9 (approximately
22 seats on overseas missions) and C-20 (12 seats) does not.
Another initiative to facilitate crew rest is having 89 AW Mission
Operations section coordinate flight plan and clearance changes
for the aircraft commander during crew rest periods or when the
aircraft commander requests assistance. With just under 30 percent
of the C20 missions going to overseas locations, this option
provides a workable solution when the wing is unable to put a
mission coordinator on board. PPO did not report similar crew
rest problems as those noted by the 89 OG squadrons. Presidential
missions flown by PPO are less susceptible to enroute changes.
Further, the WHMO contacts are very knowledgeable about the crew's
schedules and avoid crew rest interruptions.
C.4.3.8 FAA/Air Force Qualifications and Standards
C.184.108.40.206 FAA standards are considered by many to be the benchmark
for experience, qualification, and safety in flight operations.
While the FAA and the Air Force both strive for the common goal
of safe aviation, a general comparison between the two systems
reveals some significant differences. One obvious difference
is the fact it is not unusual for a commercial pilot to have more
total hours than an Air Force pilot performing the same or a similar
mission. For example, the FAA Air Transport Pilot (ATP) rating
requires a minimum of 1,500 hours total flight time. On the other
hand, a USAF C-9 pilot needs about half as much time to upgrade
to aircraft commander. These differences are possible because
the FAA and the Air Force have distinctly different systems to
produce the "proficient aviator." Generally speaking,
the FAA relies upon flying experience to gauge proficiency for
a particular rating (private pilot, commercial pilot, ATP etc.).
The FAA mandates broad categories of standards, but there is
little day-to-day oversight of individual pilots. A similar situation
exists in civilian aircrew training. The FAA sets standards,
certifies that a particular training operation meets the standards,
and checks the results through both written examinations and flight
evaluations. However, the FAA does not have a "hands on"
role in the system which produces the individual pilot,
and has little impact on that pilot's daily activities. In a
nutshell, any candidate with the requisite flight time and required
physical may (after successful completion of the appropriate exam/flight
check) be awarded an FAA license. This process has been successful;
in fact it has produced the world's safest commercial aviation
C.220.127.116.11 The Air Force faces a different set of challenges.
First, it must recruit most of its pilots "off the street"
and then prepare them for worldwide flight operations--including
combat. For these reasons, the Air Force takes a different approach
to producing its "proficient pilot." Compared to the
civilian sector, the Air Force places a great deal more emphasis
on the system that trains/certifies its aviators. Formal training
courses are very structured and standardized, with definite objectives
and frequent evaluations. Qualification standards are high and
uniform, minimizing the difference in proficiency among graduating
pilots. Follow-on training is also structured. Mandated specific
maneuvers must be completed within a certain period of time in
order for the pilot to retain qualification. Training and performance
are frequently reviewed at all levels of the operational chain
of command, and supervisors are actively involved in day-to-day
decisions such as crew composition, mission assigned, and rest/relaxation.
In fact, the FAA recognizes the quality of Air Force (and other
military) flight training by permitting pilot training graduates
to obtain a commercial pilot license/instrument rating simply
by completing a competency exam. No FAA flight evaluation is
C.18.104.22.168 An example will illustrate the differences between
the civilian and the Air Force systems. An FAAcertified
pilot with an ATP rating flying a DC-9 for a commercial carrier
needs to accomplish six takeoffs and landings every 180 days to
maintain currency per Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR 121.441).
This requirement may be accomplished in an
FAA-approved simulator. No other events are mandatory, although
most civilian pilots exceed these minimums to varying degrees.
An Air Force C-9 (USAF equivalent of the DC-9) aircraft commander
must accomplish these events over the same 180-day period: 18
takeoffs and landings, 2 practice engine failure takeoffs, 3 practice
single engine go arounds, 2 practice single engine approach/landings,
and 20 instrument approaches. Except for approaches, none of
these events may be accomplished in the simulator (MCI 10-202).
C.22.214.171.124 A second example: A civilian crew flying a commercial
airliner from New York to Chicago will be selected based upon
seniority and qualification. Few other considerations go into
the crewing decision. A similar Air Force crew will likely not
have the same experience as their commercial counterparts. However,
they will be selected based upon a "hands on" decision
by a supervisor charged with knowing their suitability for this
specific mission. In selecting the crew, the supervisor is also
expected to consider issues such as demonstrated ability, communication
skills, and recent experience.
C.126.96.36.199 In summation, the FAA and USAF systems are different
because they accommodate different sets of conditions. The Air
Force relies on structured and rigorous training; careful and
comprehensive continuous supervision; and aggressive standardization/evaluation
programs. The FAA meets essentially the same qualification levels
through experience mandates--flying experience washes out anomalies
in training and supervision. Both systems produce a safe, capable,
"proficient" pilot--they merely use different paths
to arrive at the same end.
Safe reliable aircraft are provided by 89 AW maintenance personnel.
The on-time departure rate is outstanding: 99.7 percent in FY95;
99.3 percent in FY96. In addition, aircraft availability rates
meet or exceed AMC standards. Figure 8 is 89 AW aircraft mission
capability rates for FY95 and FY96. NOTE: The mission capable
rate is the percentage of time aircraft are available to perform
the assigned mission.
The 89th Logistics Group (LG) Commander has direct oversight over
all maintenance performed on C-137, C-135, C-9, C-20, and 89 AW
C-21 aircraft. Within 89 LG, the 89th Aircraft Generation Squadron
(89 AGS), 89th Maintenance Squadron (89 MXS), and the 89th Logistics
Support Squadron (89 LSS) directly support aircraft maintenance.
The 89 AGS is responsible for all flightline on-equipment maintenance
for C-137, C-135, C-9, and C-20 aircraft. The 89 MXS is responsible
for off-equipment, back shop maintenance support. The 89 LSS
is responsible for the Logistics Group's maintenance staff functions,
policy and management. Also assigned to 89 AW, but not aligned
under 89 LG, are the maintenance personnel assigned to the
Presidential Pilot Office and 1 HS. PPO maintenance personnel
work directly for the presidential pilot and are responsible for
both VC-25 aircraft. Maintenance personnel in 1 HS are assigned
to that squadron commander and are responsible for 21 UH-1N helicopters.
C.188.8.131.52 The 89 LG is currently manned at 103 percent of authorizations.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between 89 AW and the Air
Force Personnel Center to man the Group at 100 percent is the
primary reason for the healthy manpower situation. Additionally,
89 LG is a selectively-manned unit with supervisors having "veto"
power over any candidate for assignment. Personnel are assigned
for a four-year controlled tour with an option for longer. In
fact, many individuals remain at Andrews AFB for an extended period
of time, while others often return for subsequent tours of duty.
Supervisors at all levels indicate the work is challenging and
the hours are often long, but due to the high priority of the
passengers, the duty is also very rewarding. The combined result
is an experienced, well trained senior group of maintainers with
exceptional skills. The Presidential Pilot Maintenance Section
(PPM) draws its replacements from the already highly qualified
personnel in 89 LG. PPM maintains a list of augmentees who support
VC-25 operations during peak maintenance periods. The augmentee
system gives the PPM an opportunity to evaluate candidates' performance
under actual conditions and provides a pool of qualified augmentees
to fill PPM vacancies.
C.184.108.40.206 Equipment and facilities within 89 LG are adequate
for the job. Flightline equipment for 89 LG is maintained by
Air Force personnel assigned to 89 MXS. Flightline equipment
for PPM is maintained under a Contractor Logistics Support (CLS)
contract with Boeing Corporation. The 89 LG facilities are adequate
for safe and efficient operations. All facilities are well maintained
with numerous self-help projects evident.
C.4.4.3 Maintenance Policy and Procedures
C.220.127.116.11 Although aircraft operated by the military are exempt
from Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) maintenance requirements,
Air Force policy (AFI 21-107, Maintaining Commercial Derivative
Aircraft) is to maintain its commercial derivative aircraft
to FAA-approved civilian airworthiness standards. The 89 AW complies
with this policy. The Air Force uses the respective FAA-approved
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Maintenance Planning Document
(MPD) as the cornerstone for building each program maintenance
plan. The Air Force then institutes maintenance procedures tailored
to meet FAA certification specifications as closely as possible.
For example, the Air Force uses FAAapproved technical manuals
from the OEM to meet commercial airworthiness standards. In many
cases Air Force maintainers use the actual commercial technical
manual. These aircraft also continue to use the original OEM
for depot level engineering services and FAA-approved repair stations
to accomplish overhaul/heavy maintenance requirements. The majority
of Air Force generated modifications on commercial derivative
aircraft have been certified by the FAA as meeting airworthiness
standards. Some military-specific modifications (e.g., E-4 and
VC-25 air refueling systems) have been exempted. When the civilian
maintenance manuals change, the OEM and Air Force engineering/technical
staffs work together to ensure the new requirements are appropriately
reflected in Air Force guidance. As commercial MPD updates are
issued and modifications are installed, the Air Force updates
its weapon system maintenance plan in accordance with FAA policy.
C.18.104.22.168 The 89 AW follows AMC standards on maintenance quality
assurance programs. AMC maintenance units use a Total Quality
Management (TQM) based Process Improvement Program (PIP) to verify
maintenance quality. This program focuses attention on the process
used to train personnel, manage programs, and repair aircraft.
Assessments of processes, including actual maintenance inspection
and repair actions, are conducted by peer and supervisory personnel.
If problems are discovered, immediate attention is placed on
correcting the process which led to the problem. Both maintenance
squadrons have Process Improvement (PI) functions; 89 LG/PI section
provides oversight and direction for subordinate units. PPO and
the 1 HS have their own organic maintenance and perform PI functions
internally without oversight from 89 LG.
C.22.214.171.124 Comprehensive aircraft management programs, normally
accomplished at the major command level, are also done at 89 AW.
The 89 LG Phoenix Star section assigns program managers for each
wing aircraft to manage modification, configuration, and depot
programs. The result is a more flexible and responsive process
that better meets user requirements.
C.126.96.36.199. Within the Air Force, aircraft maintenance training
follows a building block process. Shortly before enlistment,
each person is administered an Air Force Qualification Test to
assess their aptitude for different career fields. A high score
on mechanical aptitude is required to be selected for aircraft
maintenance. Once training begins, the philosophy is to first
train the individual as a generalist, then follow up with more
detailed training tailored to a specific aircraft and/or system.
Initially, aircraft maintenance personnel undergo rigorous general
academic and hands-on maintenance training at Air Force technical
schools. The apprentice mechanic then transitions into aircraft
specific training through Air Force or commercial technical courses.
More system-specific training is provided through on-the-job-training
(OJT) and the Maintenance Qualification Training Program (MQTP).
The end product is a "journeyman" mechanic, qualified
to perform maintenance without direct supervision. This process
requires approximately 24 months of training and experience.
However to be qualified to perform and supervise maintenance on
both engines and airframe systems normally requires an additional
24-30 months of training and experience. Maintenance personnel
annually attend recurring training to hone and revalidate their
skills. Recertification of critical skills such as running
engines, servicing oxygen and fuel, and aircraft towing are but
a few tasks which must be evaluated annually. Recertification
normally requires passing of a written examination and a practical
C.188.8.131.52 Mechanics working on civil aircraft must undergo a
training and certification process conducted under FAA guidelines.
Only a certified mechanic or supervised repairman may perform
maintenance on civil aircraft. The FAA identifies two basic types
of mechanic rating certificates: Airframe and Powerplant (A&P).
The basic eligibility requirements are: the person must be at
least 18 years of age, and able to read, write, speak, and understand
the English language. Prior to taking the appropriate test and
receiving the certificate, the candidate must meet certain experience,
knowledge, and skill requirements. Experience requirements may
be satisfied by presenting proof of graduation/completion from
a certified aviation maintenance technician school or by some
other proof of practical experience. At least 18 months practical
experience is required for a single rating (airframe or powerplant);
30 months experience is needed to qualify for both ratings at
the same time. In addition to the minimum experience requirements,
the mechanic must pass a written test covering the aircraft, operating
regulations, preventive maintenance, and alterations. Finally,
the mechanic must also demonstrate hands-on skill by successfully
completing a practical test for the rating. The mechanic is awarded
his/her certificate after satisfactorily completing all experience,
knowledge, and skill requirements.
C.184.108.40.206 Though somewhat different than the civilian system,
Air Force maintenance training and procedures produce a maintenance
capability comparing favorably to FAA-approved programs. In fact,
the training and experience Air Force maintenance personnel receive
is accepted by the FAA for credit towards airframe and powerplant
C.220.127.116.11 The 89 LG administers the maintenance training program
through the Logistics Training Flight (LTF) under 89 LSS. The
LTF provides oversight of all logistics training activities and
is the functional manager for all aircraft maintenance training.
The LTF is also tasked to manage the wing's critical task certification.
The LTF accomplishes these tasks for 89 LG organizations
but not for PPM and 1 HS. These organizations perform the training
management function internally without oversight from 89 LG.
C.4.5.1 Overview of 89 AW Resources
The 89 AW is currently assigned 27 fixed and 21 rotary wing aircraft,
ranging in age from 38 years to less than 1 year. Many of the
wing's aircraft are no longer in production. Spare parts for
older aircraft are becoming difficult to obtain. The shortage
is due to production line shut down, depleted vendor sources,
and limited commercial aircraft in service. The time and effort
to keep the aircraft mission capable is also increasing with age.
Engines used on the older aircraft are less efficient and are
becoming increasingly costly to operate and maintain. Additionally,
only the VC25 and the C-20H meet FAA Stage III noise criteria;
a situation that often limits airports in which 89 AW can operate.
Figure 9 outlines the age and average flying time of 89 AW aircraft.
|Type Aircraft||Role||Avg Aircraft Hours|
|VC-137 (B-707)||Long range, high volume||28,521|
|C-135E (B-707)||Long range, med volume||20,400|
|C-9 (DC-9)||Med range, med volume||11,708|
|C-20B (Gulfstream G3)||Med range, low volume||6,474|
|C-20H (Gulfstream G4)||Long range, low volume||905|
|UH-1N||Short range, low volume||7,772|
C.4.5.2 Safety Equipment
89 AW aircraft used to transport DV Codes 1 and 2 have safety
equipment similar to their civilian counterparts. The equipment
includes fire/smoke detectors, strip lighting and escape systems.
Figure 10 outlines equipment the FAA requires aboard commercial
air carriers, and shows how USAF DV passenger carrying aircraft
|Cabin Smoke Detection Equipment|
|Fire Fighting Equipment|
|First Aid Equipment|
|Interior Evacuation Placards|
|Exterior Evacuation Markings|
|Fire Retarding Interior Materials|
|Overwater Survival Equipment|
|Uninhabited Survival Equipment|
* Applies to all DV equipped C-135s
** The C-21/C-20 do not require escape slides; the escape paths used to exit these aircraft are less than six feet above the ground and egress is easily accomplished without the use of slides.
*** The C-21 cabin is small with no enclosed lavatory so any smoke is easily detectable by the crew. For the same reason, a public announcement system is not needed.Figure 10: Safety Equipment
C.4.5.3 Avionics Upgrades
C.18.104.22.168 The Air Force fleet tasked to transport civilian DV
Codes 1 and 2 is undergoing numerous avionics modifications to
improve safety, enhance mission accomplishment, and reduce crew
workload. In June 1996, the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff,
Plans and Operations (AF/XO) asked HQ AMC to host a multi-command/service
conference to develop a baseline requirement for navigation and
safety equipment on DoD passenger carrying aircraft. The conference
submitted its report to AF/XO in July 1996. AF/XO approved the
baseline in August 1996 and, in a joint Deputy Chief of Staff,
Plans and Operations-Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Acquisition
(SAF/AQ) letter in September 1996, directed the major Air Force
commands to plan and program to meet the baseline equipment list.
Once these modifications are complete, USAF aircraft will have
Navigation/Safety equipment comparable to their civilian counterparts.
C.22.214.171.124 The VC-25, C-137, C-9C, and C-20 aircraft are currently
programmed to receive Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System
(TCAS), wind shear detection, and integrated GPS. The C-32A (Boeing
757-200), with two deliveries in January 1998 and two in October
1998, will be equipped with all baseline items.
C.126.96.36.199 Figure 11 outlines the Air Force plan to install navigation/safety
equipment aboard its passenger-carrying aircraft.
* Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition) and Deputy Chief of Staff (DCS) Plans and Operations letter 9 Sep 96: "MAJCOMS are directed to refine their respective portions of this master plan into fully executable programs." Air Force Material Command (AFMC) "shall expedite contract awards and maximize accomplishments prior to the end of FY96."
** Applies to all DV equipped C-135s
GPS: Global Positioning System GPWS: Ground Proximity Warning System
TCAS: Traffic Collision Avoidance System WS: Wind shear Detection Equipment
FDR: Flight Data
Figure 11: Navigation/Safety Equipment
In 1989, Congress directed a review of 89 AW aircraft and a plan
for the procurement of modern aircraft to replace the aging fleet.
In 1990, this master plan recommended the seven C137s
be replaced with modern long range aircraft. In 1991, AMC produced
a formal Statement of Operational Need (SON) to replace the aging
C-137 fleet with new long range aircraft. A subsequent Cost and
Operational Effectiveness Assessment (COEA) looked at 89 AW's
special air mission and concluded a Boeing 767-200ER was best
suited based on size, performance, and cost. In 1995, Congress
approved procurement of six aircraft. Aircraft deliveries (the
new aircraft was designated the C-32A) were programmed for 1998.
Initial contractor proposals were over budget, so the Air Force
re-looked the requirements and determined a modified Boeing 757
would meet all requirements at significantly less cost. Four
C-32A (Boeing 757) were funded and will be delivered in January
(2 aircraft) and October (2 aircraft) 1998. The Air Force is
looking to purchase two smaller aircraft (designated C-37) that,
when combined with the four
C-32s, will replace the capability lost by the retiring C-137s.
Source selection for the C-37 aircraft has not yet been completed.
C.4.5.5 Aging Aircraft
C.188.8.131.52 A major concern within both the civil and military
aviation communities is the degradation of structural integrity
caused by uncontrolled corrosion and other forms of deterioration
(e.g. fatigue) that could cause major aircraft damage with possible
catastrophic results. Aging aircraft, a relatively new term in
aviation, is an evolving process intended to keep structural problems
in check as aircraft service life continues to extend.
C.184.108.40.206 In the commercial aviation community, the aging aircraft
program currently in effect is based on National Transportation
Safety Board (NTSB) accident findings/recommendations, FAA, private
sector, and commercial data. The FAA has directed manufacturers
of commercial aircraft to implement specific aging aircraft programs
as a condition for continued airworthiness certification. Many
of the actions required to meet FAA compliance, which had previously
been issued as optional customer service bulletins or as manufacturer
advisories, are now mandatory. These requirements, along with
new service bulletins and inspections, constitute the aging aircraft
program for each respective aircraft. Within FAA and Air Force
System Program Director (SPD) purview, aging aircraft programs
begin when the aircraft is first delivered from production and
continue for its entire life. There is no particular "yardstick"
(e.g. years, flying hours etc.) used to categorize an aircraft
as "aging." Aging aircraft programs are completely
integrated into the overall maintenance plan for each particular
C.220.127.116.11 Essentially, the Air Force has two different, though
similar, programs for aging aircraft. The differences are due
mainly to the different ways in which commercial derivative and
military-specific aircraft are procured and supported. Commercial
derivative aircraft in the USAF DV fleet (VC-25, C137 etc.)
were procured and are maintained to FAA approved commercial standards.
The basic airframes, structures, avionics, and systems meet original
equipment manufacturers design specifications. Post production
modifications, system upgrades, and FAA Airworthiness Directives
(AD) are incorporated to ensure commercial airworthiness standards
are met. The majority of Air Force-generated modifications are
accomplished in accordance with commercial/FAA standards and have
been certified by the FAA. Occasionally, modification standards
are exempted or waived by the Air Force and/or the FAA (example:
E-4 and VC25 air refueling systems). These DV aircraft
continue to use the OEM for required engineering services and
FAA-approved repair stations to accomplish overhaul and heavy
maintenance. The commercial derivatives have aging aircraft programs
included in their maintenance plans. USAF commercial derivative
DV aircraft are currently in compliance with applicable FAA aging
C.18.104.22.168 Both the civilian sector and the Air Force have effective
programs to deal with aging aircraft. The commercial programs
are overseen by the respective manufacturers and the FAA. In
the Air Force, the individual SPDs provide implementation authority
regardless of whether it's a commercial derivative or military
specific aircraft. The aging aircraft program developed for the
C-137 provides an example.
C.22.214.171.124 The FAA issued a number of Airworthiness Directives
(AD) to owners/operators of Boeing 707 aircraft providing requirements
to retain airworthiness certification. When the Air Force received
the ADs, the SPD instituted an inspection/modernization program
to comply with the FAA requirements. Air Force C-137s had undergone
rigorous periodic depot maintenance since delivery from the manufacturer
in the 1960s; however, subsequent specialized aging aircraft inspections
found major corrosion in the fuselage skin panels and in certain
structural members. At SPD direction, depot down times were extended
(average: 312 days vs. 118 days programmed), and repair costs
increased, but all inspections and repairs have been completed
to both Air Force and FAA standards for four of the seven aircraft.
One is currently in depot and two were retired about two years
early to avoid excessive repair costs and schedule impacts.
C.4.6 Presidential Pilot's Office (PPO)
C.4.6.1 Per the AF Organizational Planning Document, the PPO
is aligned directly under the wing commander. Within 89 AW, it
is the only squadron-level flying unit that does not report through
the operations group to the wing commander. For administrative
purposes, people in the PPO are assigned to 89 OSS. The other
supervisory functions provided by 89 OSS and operations group
(training, standardization, current operations, etc.) to other
wing flying units are provided to PPO, but are not directive.
Similarly, maintenance support to PPO is provided by the maintenance
unit integral to it. Some specialist support is provided by 89
LG when requested (e.g. sheet metal, secure communications).
However, those supervisory and oversight functions normally accomplished
by the logistics group for C137, C-9, and C-20 operations
(e.g. quality assurance, training) are available but not directive
on PPO. Based on the team's conversations with HQ AMC, the command
intends to better define the relationship between PPO and the
89th Operations and Logistics Groups and to initiate
annual AMC staff assistance visits to the unit.
C.4.6.2 With regard to operational direction, taskings flow directly
from the WHMO to PPO. It would appear that this alignment has
evolved to streamline the tasking process, and enhance flexibility
and responsiveness. However, this direct path excludes the Service
and functional leadership and oversight normally provided above
the tactical unit level. In contrast, tasking for vice presidential
travel comes from WHMO to CVAM to 89 AW; tasking for other DVs
follows a similar path. Thus the tasking flow for our most senior
DVs, save one, permits Service and wing leadership visibility
C.4.6.3 Although unusual for line units, personnel evaluations
for members of PPO follow operational vice traditional service
lines. Annual fitness evaluations for both officers and enlisted
members, other than the Presidential Pilot, are prepared within
PPO and forwarded to the Director, WHMO for final endorsement.
The Presidential Pilot's evaluation is completed by the President.
For officers eligible for promotion, promotion recommendation
forms summarizing their performance and potential for serving
in the next higher grade are prepared by Director, WHMO. Because
the number of WHMO promotion eligibles for any given board is
small, the actual promotion recommendation (i.e., definitely promote,
promote, do not promote) is awarded by the AF Assistant Vice Chief
of Staff. In each case, the 89 AW Commander is by-passed and
therefore does not have the opportunity to comment on the performance
of people assigned to his command.
C.4.6.4 The current wing commander, as well as several who have
preceded him, expressed significant frustration in dealing with
the existing PPO alignment. The commander understands he is legally
responsible and accountable for PPO activities, but believes he
lacks commensurate oversight.
C.5 Other Air Force Assets
C.5.1.1 In the previous section of this report, the role of 89
AW and the practices and procedures used by the wing to safely
and reliably transport DV Codes 1 and 2 travelers were discussed.
This section, we will discuss first the other forces often called
upon to provide DV Code 2 travel in the Continental United States
(CONUS) and overseas; and second, the airlift forces that are
used to move support personnel and equipment and the media concomitant
to DV Codes 1 and 2 travel here and abroad. By and large, the
practices and procedures used by the forces addressed in this
section are the same as used by 89 AW. Differences, where they
exist, will be highlighted but similarities will not be repeated.
C.5.1.2 By way of background, this section begins with a review
of recent mishaps involving DV Codes 1 and 2 primary and support
aircraft and a discussion of the safety programs that support
C.5.1.3 Mishap Summary and Analysis
Following is a summary of mishaps related to the aircraft that
fly senior executive support missions:
Date/Location: 17 April 95, Alexander City, Alabama
Type Aircraft: C-21
Synopsis: Aircraft crashed into flat wooded terrain while attempting an emergency visual approach to Alexander City airport. The aircraft was destroyed and all personnel on board were fatally injured.
Major Contributing Factors
Date/Location: 5 April 96, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Type Aircraft: CT-43
Synopsis: Aircraft impacted high terrain while attempting a non-precision instrument approach in instrument conditions. The aircraft was destroyed and all personnel on board were fatally injured.
Major Contributing Factors
Date/Location: 20 Jun 96, Quantico Marine Corps Aviation Facility, Virginia
Type Aircraft: C-130
Synopsis: Aircraft's wingtip and number one prop struck the runway during landing. There were no injuries, but the aircraft sustained Class B damage (greater than $10,000 but less than $200,000).
Major Contributing Factors:
Date/Location: 18 Aug 96, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Type Aircraft/Mission: C-130
Synopsis: Aircraft impacted high terrain shortly after takeoff during night departure. The aircraft was destroyed and all personnel on board were fatally injured.
Major Contributing Factors: Investigation in progress; the following information came from releasable sections of the Mishap Report:
Besides aircrew error caused by a breakdown in crew coordination,
there is no common thread throughout all four of these mishaps.
However, we did note crew inexperience was a factor in both of
the mishaps involving Phoenix Banner missions.
C.5.1.4 Unit Safety Programs
C.126.96.36.199 All units visited had solid safety programs. Unit
safety staffs manage the mishap prevention program and report
directly to the appropriate commander. Safety offices maintain
a library of applicable guidance and other appropriate safety
literature and serve as the focus for all safety efforts. There
is an annual program of inspections, evaluations, and assessments
to provide regular oversight and suggestions for improvement.
C.188.8.131.52 All safety programs comply with AF guidelines for manning
and training. As a minimum, all wings hold quarterly safety meetings
and individual flying units meet monthly. Minutes from the meetings
are published and made mandatory reading for those unable to attend.
Briefing topics vary, but all units brief recent AF safety mishaps
that are relevant. Seasonal topics and special interest items
such as cold weather procedures, Bird Aircraft Strike Hazards
(BASH), crew rest strategies to combat fatigue, aging aircraft,
etc., are also briefed.
C.5.2 Other DV Carriers
While the 89 AW provides virtually all DV Codes 1 and the majority
of DV Code 2 travel for U.S. government civilian officials, CINC-support
and operational support airlift (OSA) forces are sometimes used
as well. Within this group, OSA aircraft, particularly the C-21,
are used most often. The OSA fleet has two primary missions; first,
the wartime movement of priority cargo and personnel, and in peacetime,
pilot seasoning. In peacetime, C-21s provide senior executive
travel essentially as a by-product of required training. DV travel
is the most visible task these crews perform. The primary OSA
aircraft for DV movement are the C-21 and the C-22. According
to CVAM, and data provided by TACC, the C-21 flew 151 sorties
in support of civilian DV Codes 2 in 1996, the C-22 flew 37.
C.5.2.1 C-21 Organization
The C-21 (Gates LearJet 35) fleet is dispersed throughout the
Air Force and consists of 73 active duty and 4 Air National Guard
aircraft stationed at 14 worldwide locations. Major Command ownership
and operating locations are listed below.
AMC is designated as the lead command for the C-21 fleet in accordance
with Air Force Policy Document 10-9. As lead command, AMC has
primary responsibility for the Multi-Command Instruction (MCI
11-221), that governs the operation of the C-21 fleet. AMC has
a dedicated OSA action officer on the headquarters staff.
C.5.2.2 C-21 Experience and Training
C.184.108.40.206 As a seasoning vehicle, the pilots in a C-21 unit fall
into one of three categories: Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT)
graduates, prior qualified pilots, and unit leadership. In a
typical C-21 squadron, 75 percent of the line pilots are in their
first flying assignment. Twenty-five percent are pilots previously
qualified in another aircraft. Pilot training graduates have
about 300 hours total flying time upon arrival at their unit.
The prior qualified pilots, depending on the number of years
flying, have between 1,000-2,000 hours. Unit leadership consists
of a commander and a director of operations, typically lieutenant
colonels and majors. In addition to being more senior in grade,
these officers typically have 2,000-3,000 flying hours and previous
instructor and examiner experience.
C.220.127.116.11 C-21 training requirements are governed by Multi-Command
10-202, Vol 1 and Vol 2, Aircrew Training Program. C-21
initial academic and simulator training is done by SimuFlite in
Dallas, Texas, under contract to the Air Force. Flight training
takes place at Keesler AFB, Mississippi. These programs were
just reviewed by HQ AMC and now include a revamped crew resource
C.18.104.22.168 Continuation training provides Air Force crew members
with the correct volume and frequency of training to remain qualified
and proficient in the unit's mission. Continuation training consists
of ground and flying training events. C-21 training requirements
are accomplished in the aircraft. The pilots attend annual simulator
training concentrating on emergency procedures and crew resource
management. The seasoning mission of the C21 is extremely
cost-effective. During a typical three-year assignment, a C-21
pilot flies 1,500-2,000 hours (45-50/month) and upgrades to instructor
or flight examiner. This compares to 1,200 hours (25-30/month)
flown by pilots in other airlift aircraft over the same period.
C.22.214.171.124 The C-21 standardization/evaluation program is similar
to other stan/eval programs throughout the Air Force. There are
flight examiners at each level of command from the flight to the
MAJCOM. Crew members in these units receive flight evaluations
on the normal Air Force 17 month cycle.
C.5.2.3 C-21 DV Code 2 Mission Tasking and Execution
C.126.96.36.199 During the validation and tasking process, CVAM may
conclude that a non-89 AW asset is more efficient and operationally
acceptable, e.g., small DV party (six or less), minimal enroute
communication requirements, medium range destination. If the
DV concurs, CVAM may send the requirement to the newly formed
Joint Operational Support Airlift Center (JOSAC) at US Transportation
Command (TRANSCOM), Scott AFB, Illinois. JOSAC validates and
assigns the request to a Service. If the mission is a CONUS mission
to be supported by an Air Force C-21, the validated request is
turned over to the TACC. If the mission is overseas, the mission
is sent to the appropriate overseas Air Operations Center. The
TACC or the Air Operations Center in turn notifies the individual
C.188.8.131.52 The TACC/Air Operations Center handles all communications
and retains command and control responsibilities for OSA DV missions.
The unit determines if they can fly the mission. Unit leadership
is responsible for aircrew selection, mission planning oversight,
proper scheduling, and compliance with crew duty day and crew
rest requirements. No written direction requiring specific aircrew
qualification or experience levels for DV missions could be found.
During interviews with wing and squadron leadership as well as
crew members, all agreed that supervisors tried to match crews
with missions, but it was not always possible. Due to crew availability,
short-notice alert launches, and mission diverts, supervisors
could not always maximize the experience level on DV missions.
C.5.2.4 C-21 Maintenance
C.184.108.40.206 Aircraft maintenance for the active duty C-21 fleet
is provided through contractor logistics support (CLS); the ANG
C-21s at Andrews AFB use organic AF maintenance. Overall management
for the C-21 is the responsibility of the Systems Program Director
(SPD) at Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center. The SPD coordinates
FAA-mandated airworthiness directives and service actions with
using commands and directs actions to comply with requirements.
Annually, the SPD hosts a Program Management Review (PMR) to
provide an overview of program status to include safety, modifications,
program issues, and user concerns.
C.220.127.116.11 The current C-21 contractor, Raytheon Corporation, provides supply and aircraft maintenance support at each operating location. The Air Force uses Quality Assurance Representatives (QAR) at each unit to monitor contract compliance and ensure the contractor supports the mission in accordance with the CLS contract statement of work. All QAR personnel receive initial academic training from Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and aircraft familiarization training from the contractor. Two maintenance performance indicators are mission capability rate (the percentage of time an aircraft is available for mission tasking) and departure reliability rate (the percentage of on time departures). For the past 12 months the C-21 fleet has exceeded contract requirements for mission ready aircraft and has produced a departure reliability rate exceeding 99 percent.
Figure 13: Maintenance Indicators
C.5.2.5 Functional Management Review
On 1 July 1996, the Air Force Inspector General released the results of a comprehensive Functional Management Review (FMR) entitled, Quality of Contract Aircraft Maintenance. The FMR identified opportunities for improving C-21 contract maintenance in the following areas: contractor requirements in the C-21 CLS statement of work, contractor response to deficiencies, and QAR training. The Air Force is taking steps to correct deficiencies identified by the FMR.
C.5.2.6 Other DV Airlift Assets
C.18.104.22.168 Other DV Airlift Organizations
There are 14 aircraft dedicated to Commander-in-Chief (CINC) support
missions and 3 Air National Guard C-22s that provide team travel.
On occasion, these aircraft may be used for civilian DV Code
2 transportation. In FY96, these aircraft supported 46 missions.
Location, owning command, number and type of aircraft, are indicated
AFMC--Air Force Material Command USAFE--USAF Europe
AFSOC--Air Force Special Operations Command ACC--Air Combat Command
ANG--Air National Guard PACAF--Pacific Air Forces
AMC--Air Mobility CommandFigure 14: Other Aircraft Used
for DV Support
In addition to OSA and other DV aircraft, the Air Force maintains
two Commander Joint Task Force Command and Control Modules (CJTFC2).
A modified "travel trailer," the CJTFC2 provides secure
voice and data capability and has been used to transport SecDef,
SecState, and Director, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The
CJTFC2 can be loaded on specially modified KC-10s, C-17s, or any
C.22.214.171.124 Experience and Training
C.126.96.36.199.1 Pilots flying CINC support aircraft are specially
selected from highly qualified and experienced instructor crew
members. The DV C-135/137 variants hire only previously qualified
EC/KC/RC-135 pilots. The C-20 and CT-43 are manned only with
instructor-qualified in large aircraft who have at least 2,500
hours. The C-9 unit at Cheivres, Belgium hires only previous
C-9 instructors and flight examiners. The C-22 ANG team travel
personnel are hired in accordance with standard Guard hiring regulations
and procedures. The average C-22 pilot has approximately 5,500
hours; many are civilian airline pilots.
C.188.8.131.52.2 Training requirements for all these aircraft are
governed by MCI 10-202 Vol 1, Aircrew Training Program.
Specific training requirements unique to individual aircraft
are in MCI 10-202 Vols 2-9. The C-135/137 variants, C-20,
and C-9 training programs mirror the 89 AW's. The CT-43
utilizes contractor and Air Force training. After completing
Air Force training, each unit has a training program to bring
new crew members up to mission ready status. C-22 initial training
is completed totally in-unit. C-22 recurrent simulator training
(to include crew resource management) is conducted at the Pan
Am Academy's simulator facility. All of these units use the standard
Air Force 17-month periodic evaluation requirement.
Maintenance support for CINC aircraft, C-20, C-22, C-9, and the
CJFTC2 is provided by standard AF aircraft maintenance organizations
according to established aircraft policies and procedures. Quality
assurance oversight, training management, and maintenance practices
are consistent with those found in 89 AW aircraft maintenance
organizations which were discussed earlier. The particular method
of maintenance and supply support for these assets is selected
by the owning MAJCOM in concert with the supporting SPD.
C.5.3 Senior Executive Support
Presidential and vice presidential travel often generates concurrent
requirements to move support personnel, equipment, and the media.
These missions are flown by Air Force airlift aircraft, e.g.
C-5, C-17, C-141, and C-130. Individual missions are tasked as
Phoenix Banner (Presidential support), Phoenix Silver (vice presidential
support), and Phoenix Copper (Secret Service and others). For
the purpose of this review, these missions will be referred to
as senior executive support missions. This section focuses on
organization, command and control, experience, training, tasking
and maintenance for these forces.
The senior executive support mission aircraft are not sourced
from a single, dedicated wing like 89 AW. Rather, these missions
are tasked to the individual major commands whose aircraft routinely
accomplish cargo missions worldwide in support of numerous users,
including the warfighting commanders. AMC manages the C-5, C-17,
and C-141 fleet, and ACC manages CONUS C-130. OCONUS C-130 are
managed by their respective theater air component commander.
C.5.3.2 Tasking and Command and Control (C2)
C.184.108.40.206 The White House Military Office (WHMO) Airlift Operations
Office validates requests and forwards requirements to TACC.
For AMC assets, TACC tasks an appropriate airlift wing and issues
a Mission Operations Directive (MOD). For CONUS C-130 taskings,
TACC coordinates with ACC to determine which C-130 wing will fly
the mission. TACC then contacts the tasked unit and coordinates
mission details. On rare occasions a C-130 is used OCONUS. In
this instance, TACC contacts the theater Air Operations Center,
who in turn tasks an appropriate unit.
C.220.127.116.11 AMC and ACC provide the lion's share of the assets for senior executive support. TACC exercises operational control of all missions for strategic airlift aircraft (C-5, C-17,
C-141) worldwide and for theater airlift aircraft (C-130) in CONUS.
C-130 aircraft on these missions overseas are under the operational
control of their respective theater air component commander.
When the President or Vice President travel, CVAM dispatches officers,
called presidential advance agents, to coordinate activities related
to a presidential/vice-presidential visit. Normally, the aircrew
will make direct contact with the advance agent and will notify
the agent of mechanical difficulties, load problems, or scheduling
changes. In this way, CVAM as well as the C2 agency, is kept
C.5.3.3 Experience and Training
C.18.104.22.168 Air Force airlift units have no unique recruiting procedures
outside the normal AF assignment system. Pilots may be assigned
directly to airlift units from pilot training, OSA, or other aircraft.
With time, they gain experience and upgrade to first pilot, aircraft
commander, instructor, and examiner. Examples of normal upgrade
phase points are 1,000 hours total, 800 in type for a C-130 aircraft
commander, and 1,400 hours total, 600 in type for a C-5 aircraft
commander. For active duty units, the personnel system, with
command oversight, attempts to manage experience levels among
units and aircraft types to ensure an appropriate balance is maintained.
We found that aircraft commander experience levels, measured
by flying hours, were reasonably consistent between units flying
like aircraft. For example, the C130 aircraft commander
flying hour average at Pope AFB, North Carolina is 2,222 hours
while at Moody AFB, Georgia it is 2,179 hours. In Air Force Reserve
and Air National Guard units, the experience levels are higher.
The Reserve C-5 aircraft commander flying hour average at Dover
AFB, Delaware is 4,609 flying hours while active duty C-5 aircraft
commanders there average 2,691 flying hours.
C.22.214.171.124 Training requirements in the C-141, C-5, and C-17 are
governed by MCI 10-202, Vol 1, Aircrew Training Program.
C-130 aircrew training is governed by MCI 11C130.
Although some units have incorporated training for Phoenix Banner,
Silver, and Copper missions into their local training plans, none
of these regulations specifically addresses this training.
C.126.96.36.199 By way of comparison, missions that move nuclear weapons
are similar to these support operations in that, except for the
cargo, they are both benign and basic air-land operations. However,
for both, the visibility and consequences of a mishap are great.
Yet for nuclear missions, command directives (MCR 55-18, Nuclear
Airlift Operations) require very specific ground and flight
training and evaluations.
C.188.8.131.52 The Air Force maintenance activities surveyed are organized,
trained, and equipped to ensure safe and reliable aircraft and
adhere to the same basic, standard policies and procedures discussed
in previous sections regarding 89 AW.
C.184.108.40.206 In this review, the team looked for guidance maintenance
supervisors could use to select and prepare aircraft for Phoenix
Banner, Silver, and Copper missions. According to logistics managers
at the units they contacted, maintenance personnel select the
best aircraft available based on a combination of appearance and
reliability history when tasked for a DV support mission, but
no specific guidance exists. Again, by way of comparison, it
was noted the command directives governing movement of nuclear
weapons require aircraft to meet higher standards. For example,
permissible tire wear and other maintenance tolerances are cut
in half. Additionally, senior wing maintenance personnel must
inspect the aircraft and review its records prior to clearing
it for flight.
C.220.127.116.11 The team found that the maintenance organizations supporting
senior executive travel are manned with sufficient trained personnel
to support tasked missions. As previously described, aircraft
mechanics undergo a rigorous, comprehensive training program to
ensure they have the necessary skills to accomplish safe maintenance
actions. Commanders and key supervisors indicated their equipment
and facilities are adequate for safe and efficient operations.
Additionally, each command conducts an annual Commander's Facility
Assessment (CFA) to determine facility condition and program action
to fix noted deficiencies.
C.18.104.22.168 All maintenance units use a Total Quality Management
(TQM) based program to verify the quality of maintenance activities.
These programs include assessments of maintenance processes,
over-the-shoulder reviews of ongoing maintenance inspection and
repair actions, and follow-up inspections of completed maintenance.
C.5.4 Aging Aircraft
C.5.4.1 As discussed previously, both the civil and military
aviation communities are concerned about degradation in structural
integrity caused by uncontrolled corrosion and other forms of
C.5.4.2 The Air Force has two different, though similar programs
for aging aircraft--the commercial derivative aging aircraft program
discussed earlier, and the program for non-commercial derivatives
(C17, C5, C141, C130, C135). Non-commercial
derivative aircraft were originally engineered, designed, and
manufactured specifically under government contract, and are maintained
in accordance with DoD and Air Force policy. The engineering
design, manufacture, airworthiness, and acceptance criteria were
determined by the Air Force using military specifications. Aircraft
surveillance and inspection programs are implemented at the onset
of each aircraft acquisition. Technical orders and maintenance
plans for these aircraft are also developed utilizing military
standards and specifications. These maintenance plans, commonly
referred to as the aircraft -6 series technical orders (TOs),
include all aspects of organizational and depot level maintenance.
These TOs are maintained and revised on a routine basis. Aging
aircraft inspection requirements are included in the -6 series
TOs. Some inspections may be accomplished locally while others
are depot level requirements. Generally, depot level repair is
completed at an Air Force Air Logistics Center.
C.5.4.3 The maintenance inspection and modification programs
covering aging aircraft are managed by the system program director
(SPD) for each type/series aircraft as a function of his/her total
aircraft management responsibility. The SPD transfers functional
responsibility for daily management, maintenance, and revision
of the aging aircraft program to his/her engineering and technical
organization. This process is similar to that used by an original
equipment manufacturer. The SPD receives regularly scheduled
reviews/updates to ensure the program is progressing. Potential
problems are identified through several different programs: the
aircraft structural integrity program, the corrosion prevention
advisory board, and the analytical condition inspection program.
These programs are required for all DoD organic aircraft. If
problems are discovered, the SPD implements fleet-wide corrective
actions prior to the deficiency becoming a safety issue.
C.5.4.4 One example of how the Air Force is handling aging aircraft
is the C-135 CORAL REACH Program. This is an extensive program
under SPD direction to create a "Grand Strategy" to
extend the life of the C-135 fleet until planned retirement.
The SPD is taking proactive steps to review data from commercial,
in-service, field, depot, Air Force contractors, and internal
engineering sources. This data is integrated with technology
to develop an Aircraft Sustainment Master Plan. The CORAL REACH
Program closely approximates civil aviation efforts to combat
the effects of aircraft aging.
C.5.4.5 As noted, Air Force aging aircraft programs are managed
by the respective SPDs. The DoD however, has no single clearing
house for technology or cross-flow of information pertinent to
the rest of the fleet as does the civil aviation industry with
oversight provided by the FAA. While outside the scope of this
study, we believe a process should be instituted to improve the
cross-flow of information among the DoD SPDs.
C.5.5 Safety Equipment
C.5.5.1 The aircraft transporting and supporting civilian DV
Codes 1 and 2 are well equipped for emergency and evacuation situations.
Loadmasters, boom operators, and inflight passenger service specialists
receive thorough training on all aircraft safety equipment and
evacuation procedures. They receive extensive inflight evaluations
ensuring qualifications are maintained. Crew members receive
annual refresher training on the use of all safety equipment.
C.5.5.2 The Air Force aircraft supporting these missions are
equipped with emergency lighting, escape slides (when required),
smoke detection and fire fighting equipment. Figure 15 shows
the status of civilian DV Codes 1 and 2 aircraft safety equipment
when compared to FAA requirements.
|Cabin Smoke Detection Equipment|
|Fire Fighting Equipment|
|First Aid Equipment|
|Interior Evacuation Placards|
|Exterior Evacuation Markings|
|Fire Retardant Interior Materials|
|Overwater Survival Equipment|
|Uninhabited Survival Equipment|
* Applies to all DV equipped C-135s
** C-20/21 escape paths used to exit these aircraft are less than six feet above the ground and egress is easily accomplished without the use of slides.
*** The C-21 cabin is small with no enclosed lavatory so any smoke is easily detectable by the crew. Public announcement system is not needed. The C-135 does not have a smoke detection system installed.Figure 15: Safety Equipment
C.5.6.1 Aircrew Management
C.22.214.171.124 The multi-command regulation governing senior executive
support missions (MCR 5589) tasks commanders at all
levels to ensure their units are fully aware of the importance
and sensitivity of presidential and vice presidential support
missions. The regulation states "...only highly qualified
crew members should be assigned to these missions." In this
review, the team talked to MAJCOM, wing and squadron leadership,
analyzed recent mishap experience, and gathered data from a number
of units. However, the team was unable to confirm that units
are consistently using "highly qualified" crew members
for these missions. They asked seven active duty C-5, C-141,
and C-130 units to provide data on qualifications and experience
levels for aircraft commanders who flew recent Banner missions.
With the exception of C-141, they found that those flying Banner
missions had fewer hours than the average unit aircraft commander
(C-5: 2,398 vs. 2,636; C-141: 2,810 vs. 2,701; C-130: 1,871 vs.
2,066). Further, a review of two recent C130 Phoenix Banner
mishaps indicates crew member inexperience was a factor in both.
C.126.96.36.199 In discussions with MAJCOM, wing, and squadron leadership,
the team found a consensus that although senior executive support
missions carry the highest peacetime priority, 1A1, they are usually
basic and routine airland missions. By comparison, aerial refueling,
special operations, formation, and air drop missions require more
skill to fly, instruct, and evaluate. Commanders, faced with
availability limitations in their more experienced crews leaned
toward scheduling these experienced crews against tactical missions
and allowing lesser experienced crews to fly the senior executive
support missions. While understandable, this logic fails to adequately
consider the critical nature of senior executive support missions
and the negative media coverage with resulting loss of public
confidence when a mishap occurs. (Note: In this review, the
team found one strategic airlift wing that requires each crew
position for senior executive support missions be manned by an
instructor or flight examiner; waivers must be approved by the
operations group commander. Based on this survey, this is the
exception and not the rule.)
C.5.6.2 Aircraft Modernization
The Air Force possesses a number of different aircraft that provide
transportation and support to civilian DV Codes 1 and 2. Aircraft
range in age from less than 1 year (C-17/C-130H still in production)
to almost 40 years for the C-135. Figure 16 outlines the role,
age, and average flying time of the fleet supporting DV Codes
1 and 2 travel.
|Type Aircraft||Avg Airframe Hours|
|C-5A/B||Senior Executive Support||11,600|
|C-17||Senior Executive Support
|C-130 E/H/J||Senior Executive Support||12,342|
|C-141||Senior Executive Support
|C-135 (DV)||DV Transport||22,800|
C.188.8.131.52 Stage 3 Noise Compliance
FAA and international regulations require compliance with Stage
3 in FY00. Air Force aircraft are not required to be Stage 3
compliant, however they can be denied access to airports requiring
aircraft to meet Stage 3 requirements. This limitation could
hamper the DV's ability to access airports needed to conduct business.
A program is underway to "Stage 3" these three spare
89 AW C9Cs and two C-9As in Europe that support DV
travel. The "hush kits" will bring the C9 into
Stage 3 compliance starting in FY98. Other aircraft that support
civilian DV Codes 1 and 2 which are stage 3 compliant are: the
KC-10, C-17, E-4B, C-21, and C-130. The C-141, C-5, C20A,
T43, C-22, and C135 aircraft do not meet stage 3 guidelines
and no programs are underway to make them compliant.
C.184.108.40.206 Avionics Upgrades
As noted in a previous section, the Air Force fleet charged with
civilian DV Codes 1 and 2 support is being upgraded with new aircraft
and avionics modifications to enhance mission accomplishment and
reduce crew workload. Figure 17 gives an overview of the current
avionics upgrade status of the DV Codes 1 and 2 support fleet:
* Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition) and Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations letter 9 Sep 96: "MAJCOMs are directed to refine their respective portions of this master plan into fully executable programs." Air Force Material Command (AFMC) "shall expedite contract awards and maximize accomplishments prior to the end of FY96.
** C-22 scheduled to retire in FY00.
*** C-17 and C-130H still in production.
GPS: Global Positioning System. TCAS: Traffic Collision Avoidance System
FDR: Flight Data Recorder CVR: Cockpit Voice Recorder
GPWS: Ground Proximity Warning System WS: Wind Shear Detection System
ELT: Emergency Locator
Transponder Figure 17: Avionics Upgrades
C.6 Air Force Conclusions and Recommendations
C.6.1 The Secretary of Defense asked this review to "determine
the facts that underlie all aspects of the operation and maintenance
of DoD Executive Support Aircraft and make findings and recommendations
that are warranted by the facts." Further, he asked that
the review "... examine relevant practices and procedures
affecting reliability and safety at every level of training, operation,
and maintenance of executive air transportation by DoD."
Given the time allocated, the Air Force team has completed as
extensive a review as was possible and is able to offer some conclusions
and recommendations regarding Air Force forces.
C.6.2 First, the executive support airlift provided by the Air
Force meets, and often exceeds, the reliability, safety, and performance
of air carriers using similar equipment in the civilian sector.
Due to variations in mishap categories and mission requirements,
direct safety comparisons with civilian carriers are difficult
but some insights can be gleaned. Analysis reveals that, in the
aggregate, the mishap rates for Air Force passenger aircraft are
comparable to major carriers, better than commuter airlines, and
significantly better than air taxi operations. Such performance
reflects the solid operations and maintenance programs found in
the organizations that the team surveyed.
C.6.3 In this review, the team took a hard look at flying operations
and training across the DV fleet. First, the team dissected the
process used to request and validate DV airlift from the executive,
judicial and legislative branches through OSD, HQ AF, the MAJCOMs
and down to the wing level. The process varies according to the
DV and his/her organization but provides sound review and validation.
Within the wings, the team found adequate direction and oversight
in crew qualification, mission planning and execution, and maintenance,
but believe several changes should be made to improve the process
particularly in regard to aircraft selection and preparation,
and crew training for DV support missions; crew selection for
certain OSA missions; and oversight for Presidential missions.
C.6.4 For high-priority DV support missions (i.e., Phoenix Banner,
Phoenix Silver, Phoenix Copper), no Air Force-wide direction exists
regarding aircraft selection and preparation. Although the team
found several units in which local maintenance managers had implemented
tighter standards, there was no consistency across the force.
As discussed earlier, there are similarities between these missions
and those that transport nuclear weapons; the command direction
governing aircraft preparation for nuclear movements may provide
an excellent starting point for developing preparation guidelines
for DV support aircraft.
Recommendation: The Air Force should develop guidelines
for aircraft selection and preparation for DV support missions.
The requirements for nuclear weapons airlift contained in MCR 55-18
Nuclear Airlift Operations, may provide an appropriate
C.6.5 Similarly, the team found no consistent Air Force-wide
guidance requiring specific aircrew training for Phoenix Banner,
Silver, and Copper missions. Interviews with unit commanders
revealed a belief that these missions were not particularly unique.
However, the priority of these missions and the small margin
for error mandates some additional crew sensitivity and training.
Recommendation: The Air Force should develop a specific
training and certification program for all crew members prior
to their performing Phoenix Banner, Silver, and Copper missions.
C.6.6 Regarding crew selection for Phoenix Banner, Silver, and
Copper missions, command guidance directs the use of "highly
qualified" aircrews. However, the team found no clear definition
of "highly qualified," nor could they verify that unit
commanders were consistently selecting their more experienced
crews for these missions despite their criticality and high visibility.
In fact, the data they collected and our analysis of several
recent mishaps revealed these missions are often assigned to crew
members with average to below average experience levels.
Recommendation: For Phoenix Banner, Silver, and Copper
missions, the requirement to select "highly qualified"
aircrews should be more precisely defined--crew experience and
qualification requirements should be explicitly stated. Recommend
the Air Force require an instructor pilot be in command and that
the navigator, if assigned, have at least 500 hours in the aircraft
since initial mission qualification. The team recognizes there
may be periods of high optempo when assigning an instructor pilot
to every Banner, Silver, and Copper may not be possible; during
such periods unit commanders should assign their most experienced
aircraft commanders to these missions.
C.6.7 The team is also concerned with the process used in C-21
units to select crews for senior DV (i.e., DV Code 2) support.
The OSA fleet, particularly the C-21, has two primary missions:
first, the wartime movement of priority cargo and personnel, and
in peacetime, pilot seasoning. In peacetime, C-21s provide senior
executive travel essentially as a by-product of required training.
In the typical OSA unit, about three-quarters of the pilots are
assigned directly from initial pilot training. The remaining
one fourth have been previously qualified in another aircraft
and provide leadership, supervision, and a core of experience.
Commanders at all levels expressed great confidence in unit leadership
and the ability of C-21 crews to operate safely and effectively.
However, the mission priority, special needs of high ranking
officials (DV Code 2), and the serious consequences of an incident
or mishap with such a DV on board militates for more careful crew
selection. Yet, the team found no Air Force-wide guidance or
consistent process used by unit commanders to insure more experienced
crews were chosen for these missions.
Recommendation: The Air Force should review its policies
regarding passenger movement on C21s with an eye toward
establishing minimum crew experience requirements when carrying
senior DVs (i.e., DV-2). Understanding that mandating high crew
qualification levels for DV missions could run counter to the
mission of OSA. Further, the team recognizes that given the existing
C-21 concept of operations, it would not be possible to assign
highly experienced pilots (e.g. instructors) to all missions in
order to cover potential mission diverts and alert launches for
a possible DV Code 2. However, given the relative infrequency
of such DV travel on C21s, prescribing more crew experience
on planned missions could be accommodated within the existing
manning constraints. C21 missions with a DV Code 2 on board
should be planned to have an instructor pilot in command. In
cases when little or no notice precludes having an instructor
pilot in command, the unit commander should decide whether to
accept or decline the mission based on actual crew experience,
urgency of the mission, etc.
C.6.8 With regard to aircrew training and evaluation, the team
found sound guidance and processes for aircrew recruiting in selectively
manned units coupled with comprehensive training programs at all
levels had produced crew members well qualified to safely and
efficiently perform their assigned missions. Moreover, standardization
and evaluation programs were being administered according to Air
Force and command directives and were effective in providing commanders
with an assessment of aircrew competence. The team applauds recent
NAF and local efforts to correct anomalies in the stan/eval programs
affecting the Presidential Pilot's Office.
C.6.9 Maintenance leadership, training, oversight, and practices
are providing safe and reliable aircraft, especially in those
units with an AF organic maintenance organization. As this report
was being written, the team reviewed the results of an Air Force
Inspector General Functional Management Review (FMR) on the quality
of contract maintenance, including OSA. This FMR, conducted between
October 1995 and February 1996, is a far more detailed review
of contract aircraft maintenance than our assessment permitted.
The team was pleased to see the Service is on course toward an
effective solution to the problems the FMR discovered. Similarly,
the team applauds Air Force efforts to deal with the issues associated
with aging aircraft especially the older VC137s and C-135s,
and to modernize the aging DV fleet through aircraft replacement
and equipment modification programs.
Recommendation: To maintain the momentum, the Air Force
should prepare a DV airlift roadmap to address aircraft modernization
requirements for not only 89th AW but for CINC support and OSA
fleets as well. Realistic milestones and funding should be earmarked
in the next available AF POM submission.
C.6.10 As noted earlier in this section, the team found anomalies
in the Presidential Pilot's Office (PPO). The team believes these
stem from the way in which operational taskings flow for Presidential
airlift and the organizational alignment of PPO within the wing.
First, operational requirements are levied by the White House
Military Office directly to PPO. This process may have been intended
to enhance flexibility and responsiveness, but with no mission
visibility beyond PPO, normal wing, NAF, MAJCOM and AF oversight
is excluded from this top priority mission. The team also noted
a similar path for personnel evaluations. Fitness reports for
PPO members are unusual in that they not only follow tasking vice
service lines from rater to final endorsement, but they totally
by-pass the wing commander, precluding him/her from commenting
C.6.11 The team also found PPO's organizational alignment inhibits
the wing from providing traditional "train and equip"
service functions. PPO, unlike the other flying units in 89 AW,
is not part of the operations group. Essential leadership, oversight,
and staff services that are "directive" for subordinate
flying units in the traditional AF wing are offered, and usually
accepted, but certain important exceptions exist. Implementation
of the command standardization program provides several examples:
PPO was essentially excused from the most recent 21 AF periodic
inspection, and PPO does not fully participate in the command's
no-notice flight evaluation program.
C.6.12 PPO and 89 AW have a flawless record of support to the
President, and the team was mindful of the adage "don't fix
what ain't broke." Nonetheless, the team believes the existing
organizational alignment has worked as well as it has primarily
due to the extraordinary expertise and strong leadership of the
people involved. The team believes a more traditional organizational
alignment would institutionalize improved oversight without compromising
flexibility and responsiveness.
Recommendation: PPO should be realigned under the 89th