Afghan C-27 maintenance cadre begins building towards the future
The initial cadre of Afghan Air Force C-27 maintenance trainers recently began teaching a second group of C-27 maintainers at the Afghan Air Force Base in Kabul Feb 9.
The development of Afghan C-27 maintenance instructors further propels the "year of the Afghan trainer" initiative being highlighted by NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan officials.
“The C-27 is the first western aircraft in Afghanistan and learning a western aircraft has been a challenge for AAF maintainers”, said Tech. Sgt. Charles McCollum, the crew chief mentor for the 440th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron. “The systems are different and so are the technical manuals. The initial cadre of C-27 AAF maintainers have worked hard over the last year. That hard work is now paying dividends as they share their knowledge with the next group.”
With many of the second generation of C-27 maintainers being transplants from older aircraft such as the Antonov-32 transport aircraft, there has been a greater reliance on younger mechanics who have only known the C-27 during their maintenance career for training and leadership. This has created a greater sense of professional hierarchy, where ability dictates responsibility, in place of a cultural hierarchy, said McCollum.
Yet regardless of who is teaching who, the AAF maintainers are focused on what they believe is most important.
“We are eager to learn because we are bringing safety and stability to the Afghan Air Force and its aircraft through what we do,” said AAF Sgt. Sultan Wazir Sultani, a C-27 maintainer in training.
Just as important as a new wave of C-27 maintainers is the initial wave of Afghan C-27 maintenance day-to-day trainers.
“Our goal is to help these guys do it by themselves,” said McCollum. “By teaching other Afghans how to properly care for an aircraft, the AAF is proving that it has competent mechanics and maintainers in its force.”
Article by Vladimir Potapenko, 438th Air Expeditionary Wing