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Gas Prices at 50,000 Feet Just Went Down

Written by on Thursday, January 19th, 2012

With aircraft costing hundreds of millions of dollars, and training programs costing almost as much, keeping costs down in the Air Force can seem like an impossible goal. One of the most expensive training operations is that of the boom operator.

When a mission calls for aerial refueling, an refueling aircraft such as a Stratotanker flies at a steady height and speed while another aircraft slowly approaches it from behind, inching closer and closer to the boom that hangs behind the Stratotanker. It is the job of the boom operator to navigate the boom so that it aligns with the fuel receptacle on the tailing aircraft. Operating a Stratotanker boom is a delicate, precise, and extremely important job.

The problem with training boom operators is that the procedure necessarily requires at least 2 aircraft, thereby dramatically increasing costs. In fact, the cost of deploying a Stratotanker for a day can cost upwards of $50,000, not to mention the cost of the receiver aircraft.

So it’s not surprise antibiotics no prescription that the Air Force was eager to celebrate the installation of the first Boom Operator Weapon System Trainer (BOWST) in McConnell Air Force Base. BOWST can train a boom operator for a mere $600 an hour. By removing the need for the Air Force to pay for the aircraft maintenance, fuel, and flying hours that would normally be required for boom operator training sorties, the Air Force will be able to save millions of dollars each year.

Not only will it save money, but it will also enable the Air Force to train boom operators in a much safer and more controlled environments. The BOWST will enable trainers to simulate emergency situations and irregularities to ensure that boom operators will be prepared for anything.

Air Force officials cut the ribbon at McConnell, and we can expect to see similar ceremonies in air bases across the rest of the U.S., as 9 other bases are currently slated to receive a BOWST.

 

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