438th Air Expeditionary Wing
KABUL, Afghanistan – Air advisors from the 442nd Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, recently began teaching the first on-site certified maintenance fundamentals course.
Normally taught in Kabul at Pohantoon-e-Hawayee, the Afghan Air Force’s “Big Air School,” the class was established in Kandahar to help alleviate a back log of students waiting to attend. Before starting their instruction, advisors were charged with setting up a class room for instruction and hands-on training for the first 18 AAF students enrolled in the 45-day course.
“Teaching this course here in Kandahar helps the students that were waiting for a seat to open up in Kabul,” said Maj. Jose Martinez, 442nd AEAS maintenance operations officer. “Our main goal in teaching the course is to ensure all students have a grasp on what aerospace maintenance is all about, from knowing the differences between a wrench and a ratchet, to understanding how a jet engine works.”
The course’s unique instructional design is group paced and trains AAF personnel the fundamentals needed to prepare them for their follow-on attendance of aircraft-specific training explained experts.
“The course benefits the AAF by teaching its technicians the basics of aircraft maintenance, they are developing the foundation necessary to build the skills of highly qualified aviation mechanics,” said Master Sgt. Todd Dimock, 442nd AEAS quality assurance advisor and course instructor deployed from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. “It’s great to have the opportunity to watch them learn each day. I’m amazed by how they can have so much technical knowledge but still be totally unaware of what we consider basic skills and ideas.”
Instructors said the course’s curriculum includes aircraft maintenance fundamentals, ground support equipment familiarity, how to track aircraft maintenance records, basic aircraft systems operation, inspections safety standards, foreign object damage control, aerospace ground equipment, ground safety risks and operational risk management.
The advisor’s have had some difficulties to overcome.
“There are challenges associated with teaching the course, the main one is communication,” said Tech. Sgt. Greg Truelove, a 442nd AEAS jet engine maintenance advisor and instructor deployed from Seymour Johnson, Air Force Base, N.C. “All of the lessons are taught through an interpreter and because Dari lacks a lot of the technical terms used in the maintenance world, many times what I said does not translate correctly, if at all.”
Upon course completion, students will be ready to attend the second portion of their training such as engine/body mechanic, avionics, radios or structural repair said instructors.
“All in all, the course is going well and as we treat these dealing with these challenges just like in any part of the world,” said Truelove.
Having now attended the course for more than three weeks thus far, students attending the course took time out to explain why the class is important to them as they move forward in their career.
“I like this class because I can improve my skills, the instructor’s positive attitudes are motivating and helping us to learn the best way to learn maintenance and the more we learn the better it will make our future. My instructors impact will be in my memory for the rest of my life,” said AAF Sgt. Ghulam Rasool.
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