YOUNGSTOWN AIR RESERVE STATION, Ohio --
Youngstown Air Reserve Station provided a C-130H Hercules orientation flight for 27 team members of the 910th Airlift Wing and one 911th Airlift Wing member, Aug. 8, 2019. Orientation flights are routinely offered to Reserve Citizen Airmen and civilians who serve at YARS to provide them with a better understanding of the wing’s flying capabilities.
The objective of orientation flights is to familiarize individuals with the air mission they support on the ground. It shows team members the culmination of all their combined efforts, ultimately seeing what their day-to-day duties contribute to.
“It gives the civilians here a look at the other side of why their job is important to the air station,” said Lt. Col. Phillip Townsend, the 757th Airlift Squadron’s assistant director of operations and pilot for the orientation flight. “A lot of times their job might not be related to the flying aspect, but the ultimate goal of everyone here is for us to execute missions with the C-130. They get to go out to see the flying and the operation side of things.”
Participant experience aboard the Hercules aircraft ranged from not at all to a handful of rides. Even after serving at YARS for more than three years, Tech. Sgt. Shelby Perkins, an education and training manager for the 910th AW, fell into the category of first-ever flight on a C-130.
“I’m really excited about it,” said Perkins. “I mean, this is what we do. We put C-130’s in the air. My husband is in maintenance so he gets to do the things that actually put it up there. So I’m excited to be a part of the result of it.”
Perkins may not take to the skies daily, but her job ensures each Airman is receiving the training necessary to be capable and ready to do their part in providing unrivaled tactical airlift, aerial spray and agile combat support.
After take-off, Perkins and the other passengers were able to unbuckle their seat belts, explore the cargo area and spend a few minutes on the flight deck with the pilots and navigator. The aircraft performed a low approach to Burke Lake Front, Ohio, located outside of Cleveland and proceeded along the coastline of Lake Erie reaching as far as Kelleys Island before returning home to YARS.
After aircrew instructed the participants to retake their seats, they harnessed up, tethered in and lowered the aft hatch of the Hercules. Passengers could then take in a true birds-eye view of several points of interest such as downtown Cleveland, FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Cleveland Browns, and Cedar Point amusement park. The entire flight lasted approximately an hour and a half.