Delaware Air National Guard Airmen and aircraft fleet surpass milestone of 170,000 safe flying hours

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  • By 040211
On January 20 of this year the Delaware Air National Guard reached another flying milestone when the unit surpassed 170,000 accident-free flying hours without a Class A, B or C flying mishap since 1963.

The milestone covers the 47-year period when the unit has flown three models of aircraft - the C-97, the C-130A, and today the C-130H model transport aircraft, and has performed nearly 20 continuous years of flying in Southwest Asia with significant periods of combat flying in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.

The 166th Airlift Wing has eight C-130 transport aircraft flying from home station in New Castle. Six of those aircraft with over 200 unit Airmen will depart Delaware the first half of March for a combat deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Colonel Jonathan H. Groff, commander of the 166th Airlift Wing, said, "Achieving this notable flying milestone is a tribute to the inspired work of hundreds and hundreds of unit Airmen who keep our aircraft well maintained, combined with aircrew who expertly navigate and fly our aircraft. For over five decades our people have successfully carried forward the attitude towards safety so profoundly believed in and expertly communicated by retired Brig. Gen. William W. Spruance, our top leader from a half century ago who passed away last month.

"We've been extremely busy completing a number of inspections this winter and now preparing for an upcoming large deployment to Afghanistan. For several months Delaware citizens from New Castle south to Middletown have witnessed a lot of daytime and evening flying from our C-130 aircraft as our aircrews complete mandatory proficiency training. This training is essential before we enter the combat zone in March when six of our aircraft will be on duty over the skies of Afghanistan."

Previous accident-free flying milestones at 10,000 hour increments, starting at 100,000 hours, by year:

160,000 hours - 2007

150,000 hours - 2004

140,000 hours - 2001

130,000 hours - 1998

120,000 hours - 1995

110,000 hours - 1992

100,000 hours - 1990

Note to editors: Several high-resolution photos of unit C-130 aircraft are available for download on, the public website of the 166th Airlift Wing, Delaware Air National Guard; type "C-130" in the search box to locate various images.

The Delaware ANG has 1,100 members, and continually deploys personnel and subordinate units around the globe. This release is in the public domain, and any part may be used as written.
Delaware Air National Guard: Celebrating 65 years of Citizen-Airman service to our state and nation, 1946-2011.

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