A-10 simulators train pilots for the Thunderbolt - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

A-10 simulators train pilots for the Thunderbolt

August 7, 2007

Valdosta  --  For Air Force pilots, making a mistake could be deadly. But Moody Air Force Base is now utilizing a new technology that allows airmen to train in a dangerous war zone without ever leaving the comfort of the base.

Only an elite few get to enjoy the view from the coveted cockpit of an A-10 Thunderbolt. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. But even I can enjoy the view from the A-10 Simulator now at Moody Air Force Base.

"The FMT can do anything the airplane does except burn gas and pull G's,"  says A-10 Trainer Instructor Steven Callich.

This "virtual hog," as the pilots refer to the simulator, is one of three operational A-10 Simulators in the Air Force, and with more pilots than planes, this system allows airmen to train on the ground before getting their wings.

"Now they can come in here and keep current with all the weapons systems and all the platforms viruses having to wait," said Callich.

And just a flip of a switch can have them flying missions in real world hotspots. These simulators can load the virtual environment of a combat zone, allowing airmen to train in that area before they ever deploy.

 "We put them in the database here and when they finally went, they were like, I've seen this before!"

Meaning pilots are better trained and better prepared for a war time scenario.

"The more time I get sitting in the airplane, working the switches, working the weapons system, the more proficient I get, the more proficient my wing man gets," said A-10 Pilot Capt. Nick Dicapua.

More simulators will soon be up and running at other Air Force bases, allowing these pilots to link up and train with other airmen not only around the country but around the world.

Moody expects to house three more A-10 Simulator and an HC-130 tanker simulator in the next two and a half years.

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