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Simulator instructors gain more teaching time after CPI event

By Robert Goetz | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | April 3, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —

Countermeasures developed during an Air Force Continuous Process Improvement event last September at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph are allowing 12th Training Squadron civilian simulator instructors to devote more time to their teaching duties.

The CPI event, a combined effort of the 12th Flying Training Wing at JBSA-Randolph and the 149th Fighter Wing, an Air National Guard unit at JBSA-Lackland, produced countermeasures that addressed the problem of CSIs losing instructional time as a result of their supplemental duties as range control officers at the 149th FW’s Yankee Range in McMullen County, a facility that provides fighter pilots with air-to-ground weapons deployment training.

RCOs are tasked with duties such as ensuring the range is properly manned and personnel are adequately prepared, trained and equipped to perform their duties; ensuring the highest degree of safety in both ground operations and air-to-ground bombing events while operating the range; and ensuring all range operations are conducted in compliance with service directives.

A previous CPI event conducted by the 149th FW in 2014 reduced the number of days 435th Fighter Training Squadron Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals CSIs were assigned as RCOs from 240 days per year to 50 days, and the CPI event in September further reduced it to 10 days, said David Bernacki, 12th TRS IFF simulator/academic instructor supervisor.

“Prior to the 2014 CPI event, we had to supply one IFF CSI for RCO duties every day, so we’d lose that CSI to two simulator training sessions or seven hours of academic instruction each day,” he said. “We have 10 CSIs, so it would go down to nine every day. With the first CPI event we were able to save 1,900 man-hours, and with the second one we saved an additional 400 man-hours.”

The time CSIs lost to their everyday duties with the 12th TRS was especially significant because much of the day they devoted to their RCO duties was spent traveling to and from the bombing range, said Bernacki, who was the CPI event facilitator.

“The problem for the 435th FTS is that it’s about a three-hour drive to get there, so it adds up to a 10- to 13-hour day for the RCO,” he said.

From Sept. 10-13, a 13-member team led by CPI event champion Col. John Ludington III, 12th Operations Group commander, identified 12 countermeasures.

Lt. Col. Peter Duffy, 12th TRS commander, discussed one of the most effective countermeasures.

“Level-loading the workload of 149th Fighter Wing Det. 1 RCOs during the 182nd Fighter Training Squadron’s night flying is the best countermeasure,” said Duffy, who was one of the CPI event’s process owners. “IFF CSIs do not need to accomplish RCO duties during 149th Fighter Wing night flying.”

The 182nd FTS is a unit of the 149th FW.

This countermeasure balanced the work of the 149th FW Det. 1 RCOs during night flying, Bernacki said.

“So instead of scheduling two 149th Fighter Wing Detachment 1 RCOs during night flying, they schedule one RCO during the day and one for the nights, which balanced their workload,” he said. “With two RCOs for night flying, there was too much redundancy. Also, data indicated that a fighter wing RCO rarely dropped out during night flying, which limited their daytime RCO coverage. Now they cover on all-night flying, meaning we do not need to do RCO duties unless one of them drops out.”

Another significant countermeasure was conducting IFF CSI RCO evaluations in the weapon systems trainers at JBSA-Randolph rather than at the bombing range, Duffy said.

“That eliminated the necessity of CSIs driving to the range for that purpose,” he said. “Now we can utilize open WSTs to accomplish evaluations. That saves 200 man-hours per year as well as vehicle costs like gasoline and maintenance.”

The 12th FTW has benefited from other CPI events in the past, including sessions that have boosted the number of sorties flown by the wing’s two T-38C flying squadrons and streamlined IFF academic classes so 435th FTS students can devote more time to other squadron training activities.

Formerly known as Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century, the CPI initiative uses an eight-step approach to identify waste, focus activities on eliminating it and maximize resources to satisfy other requirements.

The RCO Utilization CPI event led to enhanced simulator and academic training, Duffy said.

“IFF CSIs are available for a greater amount of sims and are spending more time with students for better training,” he said. “It’s a boost in morale for IFF CSIs since they can spend more time training students versus spending six hours driving to and from the range.”

Bernacki called it a successful collaborative effort.

“It demonstrated leadership’s commitment to the CPI process and great teamwork among the 149th Fighter Wing, 12th Flying Training Wing, 435th Fighter Training Squadron, 12th Training Squadron and 39th Flying Training Squadron,” he said.