Often the first to arrive during operations, Air Force 37 Squadron is also now the first to comply with new Defense-wide training regulations.
All Defense Flying Units are required to revise the training of their technicians in accordance with the new Defense Aviation Safety Regulations (DASR) 66/147 guidelines, which are closely aligned with internationally recognized standards.
Over the past two years, 37 Squadron has revised the courseware it uses to train technicians to work on the C-130J Hercules transport aircraft.
In November 2021, 37 Squadron was the first defense flying unit to be marked as DASR 66/147 compliant by the Defense Aviation and Safety Authority (DASA).
37 Squadron Wing Commander Anthony Kay said it was a great achievement for the squadron’s technical training flight.
“The introduction of DASR 66/147 compliance means we are producing graduates who are much more advanced in their skills when released to the squadron,” Wing Commander Kay said.
“This will further enhance an already very successful maintenance system, resulting in increased aircraft maintainability and improved airworthiness assurance that maintains safe results.
“The transition to the new courseware was also made while maintaining 37 Squadron’s training schedule, without additional funding or personnel, and during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
No. 37 Squadron has operated a fleet of 12 C-130J Hercules from RAAF Base Richmond since 1999 and provides air support around the world.
“The squadron is relatively unique in that it conducts its technical training with uniformed personnel for all maintenance personnel,” Wing Commander Kay said.
“While the Hercules is a well-established platform for the squadron, Defense relies on us to support operations away from home, often on short notice and for extended periods of time.
“Our off-base operations require a particularly skilled technical workforce, which this new courseware will help us secure, for a long time to come.”
No. 37 Squadron’s Technical Training Flight instructs avionics technicians and aircraft technicians who graduate from the RAAF Technical Training School.
Avionics technicians take a 13-week course to work on the C-130J Hercules, instructing them on the aircraft’s electrical, avionics and defensive systems.
Aircraft technicians take a 10-week course that qualifies them on C-130J engines, hydraulics and associated systems.
Prior to DASR 66/147 compliance, 37 Squadron courseware was entirely theoretical, with students completing practical elements as part of “on-the-job” training after graduation.
The new DASR 66/147 guidelines required that the revised courseware contain at least 50% “practical on the course” elements.
Warrant Officer Wayne Francis, commander of 37 Squadron Technical Training Flight Sections, said the revised courseware now included 70% of all practical elements and used innovative new methods to improve the scope of technical training.
“The changes also necessitated the creation of local instructions and processes to meet new regulations,” said Warrant Officer Francis.
“We were able to include more practical elements in our school training by using 3D printing to create a wider range of training aids.”
DASR 66/147 also requires technicians to be licensed to work on their respective aircraft type, bringing them closer to international aircraft licensing standards.
“The Air Force didn’t have that before – you were just cleared by Defense to work on that specific type of aircraft – whereas now there’s a licensing requirement for us to work on those aircraft,” he said. said Warrant Officer Francis.
After graduating, new technicians are required to complete a workbook that records their experience of actual maintenance tasks.
Warrant Officer Francis said there has been a lot of hard work to get the new courseware delivered without interrupting classes over the past two years.
“Part of being first is setting the standard for other units to follow, and now we’ll be seeing other Defense units to show how we’ve made that transition,” said Warrant Officer Francis .
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