147th civil engineers fly with Canadians
By SMSgt Marcus Falleaf, 147th Fighter Wing
/ Published July 12, 2007
MOOSEJAW, SASKATCHEWAN -- Four civil engineers of the 147th Fighter Wing, Ellington Field, Texas, recently swooped over part of the Great Northwest in the CT-155 and CT-156 trainer aircraft while on deployment to the continent's higher latitudes.
Staff Sergeants Cole Martin and Otto Adkins, and Senior Airmen Albert Champion and David Luna received incentive flights with the Canadian Air Force while on a civil engineering Deployment for Training (DFT) to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Three of the four were selected through a random drawing.
"It was the only fair way to do it," said Maj. Matthew Allinson, 147th FW Civil Engineer Squadron commander.
The fourth member, Senior Airman Luna, was chosen based on his untiring work ethic that earned him nicknames such as "Super Luna" and "Tasmanian Devil."
Prior to flying, the members were required to receive a doctor's checkup and undergo two hours of "egress training," which included getting fitted for a helmet and flight suit.
Each had to learn how to enter and exit the cockpit, hook up their hoses and demonstrate both pre-flight and emergency procedures -- "not that you'll need them," said Capt. Derek "Duke" Mosher to Airman Luna, who was sitting inside the Hawk trainer.
"We just want you to be familiar with the cockpit," said Duke, the pilot who was scheduled to fly that afternoon.
Sergeant Martin, a robust six feet, two inches tall and well over 250 pounds, was unable to ride in the Hawk due to the size restrictions of that aircraft. Instead, he flew in the CT-156 Harvard II, a turboprop.
"I didn't get sick" said Sergeant Martin as he pulled out the clean, air sickness bag from his flight suit and held it up for all to see. "We pulled four Gs as we went straight up and over," Martin continued. "I was looking right at the runway upside down," he said with a smile that accentuated the lines left on his face from the oxygen mask.
"Wow! It was awesome," said Airman Champion. "We went straight up until the engine almost stalled and then spiraled toward the ground like we were free falling. "I got a little queasy when we were spinning though."
"I was sure glad when my pilot pulled the nose up," Sergeant Adkins chimed in. "The ground was coming quick."
The 15th Wing of the Canadian Air Force, operates the NATO Flying Training in Canada. The school, an international military pilot training program, has seen pilot trainees from around the globe join their Canadian counterparts in the skies over southern Saskatchewan.