A unique training center in Altenstadt, one of a kind in Europe

The Commander of the Air Transport Command, Andreas Schick, presented the award to the Head of the Air Landing and Air Transport School, Udo Frank.

© Oliver Somer

Altenstadt – It has now been more than half a century since the first person made by a satellite set foot on Earth. A trip to the moon would not have been possible without logistics. And even today much depends, especially military operations rely on supplies and supplies from the air. It also depends on the men and women on Earth. In order to improve this cooperation, often between different countries, there is the Air Traffic Training Center of the European Air Transport Command. The Automotive and Enginering Center in Altenstadt was honored for its training as one of two locations.

The European Air Transport Command EATC, established ten years ago, aims to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of military air mobility, including transport, air refueling and aeromedical evacuation within Europe and the seven member states. In addition to Germany, the EATC also includes Belgium, France, and Italy as well as Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Spain; EATC is headquartered in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, with two training sites in Villafranca in Italy and Altenstadt. Since 2013, according to Major General Andreas Schick, current commander of the Air Transport Command, the focus has increasingly been on coordinating cooperation between member states.

The Major General came to the Altenstadt exercise site for the award ceremony and handed the certificate himself. In particular, the quality of the training is recognized, and Schick praised the work at Altenstadt and its leader, Lieutenant-Colonel Udo Frank. As with the lunar landing, according to General Schick, a lot depends on the people in the background. It is that everyone has the same knowledge and the same training. Since 2015, there has been a guideline for ground handling, i.e. handling passengers and cargo at the airport. An extension of these guidelines is the Training Center, where ACATT courses are conducted regularly. Course participants train operations at the airport by handling cargo and passengers and practice loading modern freight machines such as American Hercules or Airbus as well as freight helicopters operating in Europe and NATO. The general said he thanked the trainers. But the award is above all a recognition of multinationality, the fact that different countries and partners such as Lithuania can train here and the unified basics in air handling and transportation are imparted. Training in an international environment is a prerequisite for optimal interaction and standardization of methods of member states. He thanked everyone involved, and Schick concluded by saying that their dedication has made Air Mobility an international success.

Among other things, more than 200 experts participate in order to achieve quality training and the best results. While air landing school training is quite straightforward with regular skydiving and payload parachuting, ground handling training takes place in somewhat inconspicuous halls. In addition to the models of the most common types of cargo aircraft, on which loading and unloading can be practiced, all relevant operations can be simulated on a computer and virtual reality can be created with the help of virtual reality glasses. Where operations can be simulated at the airport without the need to interfere with sensitive air traffic. “We can simulate an entire airport in the simulation centre,” says Captain Roßdeutscher. Reserve and Economist devised, designed and implemented the program that makes all this possible in two years. “Of course, the virtual space is not a substitute for hands-on training. But it is a value addition. Through the digital training environment, we have created a compromise in which we can train effectively and efficiently.” A variety of scenarios can then be generated and questions answered, such as how best to load different freight machines with pallets and vehicles. Or what to consider if the setup status of a helicopter has changed. What are the implications for transporting passengers and materials or transporting the wounded?

Training is of a high standard, says the Barracks in Altenstadt and “our infrastructure is regularly mentioned internationally as a beacon facility.” This means that the Altenstadt, now recognized as the first training center, is an important component in the implementation of other steps in European air transport such as aerial refueling, the integrated Belgian-Luxembourg A400M unit and the German-French C130 unit, working with the American Hercules. Major General Andreas Schick said this confirms EATC’s role in air transport and evacuating the wounded.

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Frank Mccarthy

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