JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. –
U.S. Air Force F-22 pilots at Joint
Base Langley-Eustis work closely with U.S. Air Force T-38 Talon pilots, who
pose as adversary air, to improve their war-fighter capabilities.
However, before pilots can perform
their duties, they must sharpen their skills and ensure they have proper
documentation before they fly. T-38 pilots assigned to the 71st Fighter
Training Squadron rely on a 3-person team, known as the squadron aviation
resource managers, who ensure they are “good-to-go” when it comes to being
legally qualified to fly.
“We track all of the pilots’ training
to make sure they’re good to fly,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Erica
Mathiesen, 71st FTS NCO in charge of ARM. “The pilots are busy, so we are to
here to monitor and let them know when they have stuff due.”
To ensure the best assistance is
provided to approximately 38 pilots, the SARMs fill out and double check each
member’s flight authorizations before they step out to the flightline.
“Flight authorizations are the
forms we fill out once we’ve checked all of
their training—it pretty much says they are legal to fly,” said Mathiesen. “If
you’re working the desk (before the first flight of the day), you’ll come in,
pull up the flight authorizations we’ve done and recheck their documentation to
make sure they are good-to-go.”
The SARMs’ responsibilities does
not stop at tracking each pilot’s training. They also coordinate with several
other offices to ensure a smooth transition from the ground to the air and vice
“When the pilots come to land, they
call us over the radio to give us their codes, which I information on if the
jet’s good or if there are any issues (for us to pass on to maintenance) to let
them know the status of the jets,” said Mathiesen. “We also coordinate with
weather to have them come out to give the pilots a weather briefing if need be.
Additionally, we also coordinate with base operations (to let them know) what
flying routes the pilots are taking.”
In addition to keeping track of the
pilots training and working with exterior organization, the SARMs also assist
with the familiarization and incentive flights where non-flyers get to fly in
the back seat of the T-38 Talons.
“Once a person gets approved, for
the Familiarization and Incentive Flight program (and) they’ve accomplished all
of their training, they bring their documentation over and we’ll make sure they’ve
completed everything required and have their approval letters,” said Mathiesen.
“We then direct them to scheduling, so they can be scheduled to fly.”
Despite having to track the records
of multiple members and programs, the SARMs acknowledge the importance of their
duties, which drives their passion to get the job done.
According to Airman 1st Class Kevin
O’Hara II, 71st FTS ARM journeyman, SARMs are essential to making the flight
process as smooth as possible for each pilot.
“Our job is important because
without us they won’t know if they can actually fly or some of them may not get
flight pay if their (documentation) is not correct or not put in on time,” he
said. “If we don’t input their training they may not get their currencies, (which
they need) to continue flying.”
The SARMs actions help ensure aircrew members are equipped and ready to facilitate
mission success. They are a vital asset to ensuring adversary air is trained
and ready to fly to contest the F-22 pilots stationed at JBLE.