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Orientation flight gives members of YARS a bird’s eye view

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 Air Reserve Technicians and civilians who serve at YARS to provide them with a better understanding of the Wing’s flying capabilities.

Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Marino, the chief loadmaster for the 757th Airlift Squadron, and Master Sgt. Richard Demchuk, a loadmaster for the 757th AS, view Lake Erie from the open ramp of a C-130H Hercules, 8 Aug., 2019. Marino and Demchuk lowered the ramp so that participants of an orientation flight could experience a birds-eye view of Cleveland and the coastline of Lake Erie. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christina Russo)

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 Air Reserve Technicians and civilians who serve at YARS to provide them with a better understanding of the Wing’s flying capabilities.

Airman 1st Class Carissa White, an aerospace maintenance technicians with the 910th Maintenance Squadron, takes photos with her mobile phone while peering out a window of a C-130H Hercules, 8 Aug., 2019, somewhere over Cleveland. White was a participant of an orientation flight designed to give team members who normally have duties on the ground time in the air. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Grossi)

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 Air Reserve Technicians and civilians who serve at YARS to provide them with a better understanding of the Wing’s flying capabilities.

Lt. Col. Phillip Townsend, the 757th Airlift Squadron’s assistant director of operations, begins to perform a low approach over Cleveland in a C-130H Hercules during an orientation flight, 8 Aug., 2019. Orientation flights are routinely offered to Air Reserve Technicians and civilians who serve at Youngstown Air Reserve Station to provide them with a better understanding of the Wing’s flying capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christina Russo)

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 Air Reserve Technicians and civilians who serve at YARS to provide them with a better understanding of the Wing’s flying capabilities.

Tech. Sgt. Shelby Perkins, an education and training manager for the 910th Airlift Wing, spends a few moments in the flight deck of a C-130H Hercules during an orientation flight, 8 Aug., 2019, somewhere over Cleveland. After more than three years of serving at Youngstown Perkins was finally able to take her very first flight in Hercules. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Grossi)

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 Air Reserve Technicians and civilians who serve at YARS to provide them with a better understanding of the Wing’s flying capabilities.

Master Sgt. Richard Demchuk, a loadmaster for the 757th Airlift Squadron, ensures the safety of his passengers during an orientation flight on a C-130H Hercules, 8 Aug., 2019. Passengers were able to unbuckle their seat belts and explore the cargo area while passing over the Cleveland area and Lake Erie coastline. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Grossi)

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 Air Reserve Technicians and civilians who serve at YARS to provide them with a better understanding of the Wing’s flying capabilities.

Senior Airman Anna Kuhn, an aircraft fuels system technician from the 910th Maintenance Group, takes a moment to enjoy the open hatch of a C-130H Hercules during an orientation flight, 8 Aug., 2019, somewhere over Cleveland. The objective of orientation flights is to familiarize individuals who have duties on the ground but support the mission in the air. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Grossi)

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 Air Reserve Technicians and civilians who serve at YARS to provide them with a better understanding of the Wing’s flying capabilities.

Devin Egbert, a weapon safety manager from the 910th Airlift Wing, and Jay De Leonibus, a contract specialist from the 911th Airlift Wing, gaze out an open aft ramp of a C-130H Hercules, 8 Aug., 2019, somewhere over Cleveland. The objective of orientation flights is to familiarize individuals who have duties on the ground but support the mission in the air. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Grossi)

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 Air Reserve Technicians and civilians who serve at YARS to provide them with a better understanding of the Wing’s flying capabilities.

Participants of an orientation flight pose for a photo, 8 Aug., 2019, on Youngstown Air Reserve Station's flightline. The objective of orientation flights is to familiarize individuals who have duties on the ground but support the mission in the air. It shows team members the culmination of all their combined efforts, ultimately seeing what their day to day duties contribute to. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Grossi)

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.