Delaware Air Guard C-130 aircraft reaches 10,000 hour flying milestone

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey
  • 166th Airlift Wing, Delaware Air National Guard
At mid-day June 5, 2008, a C-130 transport aircraft of the 142nd Airlift Squadron, part of the 166th Airlift Wing of the Delaware Air National Guard, flew a training proficiency flight resulting in the aircraft reaching and breaking 10,000 flying hours. This was a new milestone for C-130H aircraft flown by the unit for the last 23 years.

Before the flight, C-130 aircraft tail # 213 had 9,998.8 hours of flying time, and was 1.2 hours short of the 10,000 flying hour mark. The flight took off at 10:45 a.m. and landed at 1:12 p.m., making the flight duration 2.5 hours, and reaching the mark of 10,001.3 total flying hours.

According to Col. Daniel Van Wyk, commander, 166th Maintenance Group, aircraft # 213 has seen duty in all theaters of combat (including the Pacific Ocean, Africa, Central and South America, the Middle East and Southwest Asia to include Iraq), and was shot up with ground fire in Afghanistan and repaired in Portugal over a period of several months. The aircraft has seen combat duty in 1991 in Operation Desert Storm, and from 2003 until now in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. These operations are in addition to normal training and operational missions flying all over the world. When a tornado struck the New Castle air base in September 2004, aircraft # 213 was in Afghanistan being flown by aircrew in combat.

The crew chief for the aircraft is Tech. Sgt. Scott Nybakken, who has worked on C-130 aircraft for 25 years. He has been crew chief on this particular aircraft, tail number # 840213 (commonly referred to as #213), since 2000. The crew chief is responsible for every aspect of maintenance and performance of the aircraft, and is the last person to see the aircraft before take off when he salutes the aircraft commander, and also the first person to greet the aircrew at the landing.

Upon landing, Sgt. Nybakken worked with loadmaster Senior Airman Philip Harris to place chalks against the tires to secure the aircraft. While performing the post-flight inspection of the aircraft, Sgt. Nybakken commented on the milestone reached by the aircraft he is responsible for, and said, "It's a great feeling."

Sergeant Nybakken has been crew chief for the aircraft on numerous missions throughout Southwest Asia from 2003 forward.

"This milestone highlights the excellent maintenance work performed on these aircraft, and the proficiency and professionalism of the aircrew that have flown them for over two decades," said Col. Jonathan Groff, commander, 166th Airlift Wing.

One Airman working on the ground in base flight operations to monitor the flight remarked of the aircraft reaching 10,000 hours. He said, "It's a good deal of aluminum, and a great many hours."

The Delaware Air Guard unit has gone 45 years without a flight mishap, and in June 2007 surpassed 160,000 accident-free flight hours, operating two different aircraft: the C-97 Stratofreighter until retirement in 1985, and the currently assigned C-130 Hercules. The wing has completed 17 years of combat airlift operations in Southwest Asia and has an operations tempo that currently logs an average one million miles a year between its eight assigned aircraft.

The Delaware Air Guard has eight C-130 aircraft built by the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Georgia. Seven aircraft were built in a production line that began in 1984 and finished in 1986, and delivered fresh from the factory to the New Castle unit in 1985 through 1986. Six aircraft were delivered in 1985; these are aircraft tail numbers 207 through 212. Aircraft #213 was delivered in January 1986.

Fleet flying hours for the eight C-130 aircraft of the Delaware ANG 142nd Airlift Squadron:

Aircraft # -- current hours (for all eight unit C-130 aircraft) as of June 4, 2008:

207 -- 9,640.4 hours
208 -- 8,815.5 hours
209 -- 9,803.4 hours
210 -- 9,939.8 hours
212 -- 9,976.2 hours
213 -- 9,998.8 hours (reached 10,001.3 hours on June 5, 2008)
1057 -- 6,419.3 hours (1990 MODEL)

Key Airmen involved in 10,000 hour milestone flight:

One crew chief -- Tech. Sgt. Scott Nybakken, a resident of Wilmington, Del.

The five aircrew:

Aircraft commander and pilot - Maj. Tim Casey, a resident of Bear, Del.

Pilot -- Col. Jonathan Groff, commander, 166th Airlift Wing, a resident of Downingtown, Pa.

Navigator - Capt. Mark Linzmeier, a resident of Middletown, Del.

Flight engineer - Tech. Sgt. John DeFrancesco, a resident of Norwood, Pa.

Loadmaster - Senior Airman Philip Harris, a resident of Dover, Del.