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Cunningham Field Cadets Fly C-130, Live To Tell About It

Cunningham Cadets Fly C-130J Simulator
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C/A1C Bethany Riley, Command Pilot. Photo by: Lt Col Dan Ellis
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Cunningham Cadets Fly Simulator At Cherry Point


Cadets and senior members of the Cunningham Field Composite Squadron spent the evening of 09 August in what might be considered the “world’s most expensive video game.” Led by Maj Madison Crum, CAP, the members trained in the C-130J simulator aboard MCAS Cherry Point, the squadron’s home base. The simulator is part of the Aircrew Training Unit (ATU) at MCAS Cherry Point, where Maj. Crum is an instructor. 

The mission of the ATU is twofold. Headed by LtCol Steve Treichel, USMC, the ATU trains initial replacement pilots for service in the fleet Marine Forces. The ATU also trains experienced aircrew for combat missions in locales throughout the world. These missions include aerial refueling, low-level navigation, aerial delivery and assault landing zone operations. 

The ATU uses the 2F199 Weapons System Trainer. This is a full-motion simulator that contains an exact replica of the KC-130J model cockpit with 180 degree wrap-around visuals. It has the capability to simulate any weather, and numerous emergency and standard flying procedures. 

In the words of Maj (CH) Ed Fleagle, CAP, an instrument rated private pilot, the C-130J simulator makes instrument approaches “intuitive, and much easier than approaches in aircraft with basic instrumentation.” Maj. Fleagle logged five instrument approaches and said each one was easier and smoother than the previous one. Capt. Stewart Sibert, who is Ensign Sibert, USCG, during work hours, became the first squadron member to take the simulator acrobatic, performing a successful barrel roll at 3000’. 

Cadets and the younger senior members trained in basic flight maneuvers. Senior members Kelsey Weber and Alicia Koylu hope to fly jets for the USAF. Will the regular dates that the squadron keeps with the C-130J simulator change their minds about their aircraft of choice? “Maybe!” they stated. The squadron cadets are becoming more and more familiar with the C-130 cockpit, and welcome the challenges of flying the aircraft right down to the ground. 

Maj. Madison Crum of Cunningham Field, is a retired Marine with 3000+ flight hours. He has flown the T-34, T-2, TA-4, OV-10 and the venerable KC-130. He has worked at the ATU since its inception in 2005. Prior to that, Maj. Crum taught History at Havelock High School and was an instructor in the previous KC-130R model simulator.