Over 30 aircrew from Delaware Air Guard to fly a five aircraft C-130 formation mission nearly 700 miles over four states and Md.-Del. coastal areas Saturday June 7

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Delaware Air National Guard
Headquarters, 166th Airlift Wing
2600 Spruance Drive
New Castle, DE 19720-1615 

Unique training mission fulfills Air Force requirements

Contact: Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey
Public Affairs Specialist, 166th Airlift Wing, Delaware Air National Guard
Office 302-323-3369, or cell 302-593-2126
E-mail: Benjamin.Matwey@denewc.ang.af.mil
Release No. 2008-6-003, June 6, 2008


NEW CASTLE - The Delaware Air National Guard is scheduled to complete a unique training mission Saturday June 7, 2008 with more than 30 aircrew flying aboard a five-ship formation of C-130 transport aircraft.

The formation will fly over four states, the Chesapeake Bay, the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay, and end with a heavy equipment airdrop over Coyle Field in the Pine Barrens of N.J. before returning to home station in New Castle.

Civilians who might observe the formation in flight will see a normal training mission, just larger than most missions.

A basic aircrew of 30 Airmen will be supplemented with numerous evaluators and instructor aircrew on the flight. The basic aircrew includes 10 pilots, five navigators, five flight engineers and 10 loadmasters.

In addition, dozens of ground personnel from various maintenance and mission support shops in the 166th Airlift Wing will prepare the aircraft, heavy equipment loads and parachute rigging needed for the airdrops.

"This mission is a large undertaking. The flight planning began weeks ago. The ground planning is a culmination of literally months of hard work by our maintenance personnel ensuring the readiness of our aircraft," said Col. Jonathan Groff, wing commander, 166th Airlift Wing. "It is an example of the peacetime training requirements our military unit must measure up to so we remain prepared to execute a variety of combat or humanitarian relief missions."

The five-ship formation will fly one of the unit's normal training patterns, taking the aircraft over parts of the beach areas of Maryland and Delaware. The aircraft should be clearly visible to the naked eye from shore.

The Air Force requires Air National Guard units to regularly fly large formation missions as part of our war fighting skills. The last large formation flight of the unit was in July, 2003 when six unit C-130 aircraft returned to Delaware from initial combat flying missions in Southwest Asia in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The mission will involve five of the Delaware Air Guard's eight C-130 transport aircraft.

In addition, all aircrew in the 142nd Airlift Squadron must be heavy equipment airdrop certified, and numerous aircrew members will have the opportunity to achieve this certification Saturday.

All part-time and full-time unit members will train together this Saturday and Sunday, June 6-7, during the Delaware Air Guard's monthly training period, with enough squadron aircrew available to conduct the large formation mission.

"The wing has been very active in wartime missions for several years, and this weekend presents a good opportunity to conduct large formation flying," said Col. Groff.

Flight facts:

Total distance to be flown: About 700 miles

Aircraft airspeed in flight: About 250 m.p.h. (220 knots)

Flight time: About three hours

Scheduled itinerary and timeline:

Date: Saturday June 7, 2008

11:00 a.m. - Takeoff from New Castle Airport, Delaware

11:46 a.m. -- Overhead Richmond, Virginia

12:45 p.m. - Overhead Ocean City Airport, Maryland

12:57 p.m. - Overhead Fenwick Island Lighthouse, Delaware

1:00 p.m. -- Overhead Bethany Beach Training Site, Delaware (Delaware National Guard facility).

1:13 p.m. - Overhead Cape Henlopen, Delaware

1:45 p.m. - Over Coyle Field Drop Zone, New Jersey

2:00 p.m. -- Approximate landing at home station, New Castle Airport, Delaware

Flight overview:

The formation will fly south from New Castle towards Maryland, crossing over the Chesapeake Bay south of Taylor Island, over Patuxent Naval Air Station, and then to Richmond, Va.

Upon reaching Richmond, the formation will head back north and cross over the Virginia-Maryland state border near Nomini Bay on the Potomac River, cross over Leonardtown, Md., cross over the Patuxent River and then over Broomes Island and turn northeast.

The formation will then fly over the Chesapeake Bay, to Oxford, Md. on the Eastern Shore. The mission then heads east and will cross over the Md.-Del. state border in Sussex County, turn south over Bridgeville, Del., cross over Laurel, Del. and turn southeast. The flight will then cross over the Del.-Md. state border to the southern end of Ocean City, Md.

The formation will then turn north and hug the coastline heading to the Md.-Del. state line. The aircraft will fly nearly half-a-mile from shore, at an altitude of 500 feet over water, with aircraft about 2,000 feet apart in a straight line.

Formation will fly east of Ocean City, Md. and continue north near Fenwick Island and Bethany Beach. The formation will then turn west and follow a racetrack path inland around the Bethany Beach Training Site, head back south and then head back east and over the Atlantic Ocean just south of Fenwick Island. The formation will head north again, past Fenwick Island, Rehoboth Beach and Cape Henlopen. The formation will then cross over the mouth of the Delaware Bay to Cape May Point, N.J. and head north for the drop zone at Coyle Field in the Pine Barrens of N.J., then head home.

Weather forecast for Noon on Saturday June 7:

90 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny for New Castle, DE

83 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny for Ocean City, MD

The Delaware Air National Guard is a reserve component of the U.S. Air Force with 1,100 positions under Command of the Governor of Delaware, or the President of the United States when mobilized. The Delaware ANG has been serving Delaware and the United States of America since 1946.

This release is in the public domain, and any part may be used as written.

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