24 April 2006
This was prepared (as noted in the report) in response to the 1996 death of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown in a plane crash and two other crashes -- in Wyoming and Orlando, FL:
On April 3, 1996, while on an official trade mission, the Air Force CT-43 (a modified Boeing 737) carrying Brown and 34 other people, including New York Times Frankfurt Bureau chief Nathaniel C. Nash, crashed in Croatia, killing everyone onboard. TSgt Shelly Kelly initially survived the crash only to die from her wounds hours later while being transported off the mountain. Speculations as to the circumstances surrounding the plane crash that caused Brown's death include many government cover-up and conspiracy theories, largely based on Brown having been under investigation by independent counsel for corruption and, apparently, having prepared to negotiate plea bargains implicating President Clinton at the time of the crash.
The official Air Force accident investigation board report noted several reasons that led to the CT-43, formerly a training aircraft that had been converted to distinguished visitor travel, to crash. Chief among the findings was a "failure of command, aircrew error and an improperly designed instrument approach procedure". Notably the inclement weather was not deemed a substantial contributing factor in the crash.
Related: Special Air Missions: A Path to the 21st Century
October 18, 1996
MEMORANDUM FOR SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, DR. WILLIAM PERRY
FROM: VADM Donald D. Engen USN (ret)
Principal Member, DoD Executive Air Fleet Review
SUBJECT: Review of DoD Executive Support Air Fleet
1. You tasked me to determine the facts that underlie all aspects of the operations and maintenance of DoD executive support aircraft, and to make findings and recommendations to ensure safe and effective flight operations. Major General Walter S. Hogle, Jr., USAF and Brigadier General Robert Magnus, USMC joined me in this task and fielded respective teams to conduct the review.
2. In the short 30 days available, we assessed the abilities of those military dedicated White House Executive airlift support units and the capabilities of other military airlift general support units, and looked in sufficient depth to provide you with our evaluation of DoD Executive airlift.
3. The Executive Airfleet Review report is in three parts; Part I - Narrative, Part II - Documentary Exhibits, and Part III - Interviews. Part I is general, and Part II contains a great amount of detail along with respective service views. Part III contains summaries of interviews and is unwieldy. We provide five additional copies of Part III for distribution as you see fit. Parts I and II can stand alone as the report.
4. It has been a pleasure to see the confidence, professionalism, and dedication of the officers, men and women who provide White House Executive airlift in those organizations we reviewed. Without a doubt, the opportunity to see this is just reward for the time and effort expended.
DONALD D. ENGEN, VADM, USN (ret)
DoD Executive Air Fleet Review
Updated: 15 Jun 1998
The Secretary of Defense convened a DoD Executive Air Fleet Review to determine the facts that underlie all aspects of the operation and maintenance of DoD executive airlift general support aircraft dedicated to the White House. A report with findings and recommendations was to be made within 30 days.
The Review Team looked at White House dedicated assets in the Air Force (USAF) and Marine Corps (USMC), and at White House Executive airlift general support furnished by tactical units in the USAF. The review briefly focused on Executive airlift in the Army and the Navy but found these efforts to be principally dedicated to the airlift of Service civilian and military or naval VIPs and some Congressional Delegations. There is minimal White House involvement.
Tasking from the three principal sources of White House, Congress, and the Executive Cabinet was reviewed as that tasking "flowed" through offices and commands to the dedicated Executive airlift units in the USAF and USMC. In the case of the USAF, the review looked further at Executive airlift general support provided by USAF tactical units.
The Executive airlift tasking system functions well and executive airlift is responsive to the needs of the President and others. The dedicated USAF and USMC units maintain high degrees of safety when compared to civil fleets and other military fleets of aircraft. The degree of safety is not as high once Executive airlift is passed to general support airlift forces in the field. This is not to say that this is unsafe, it is not. But, different training, operations, maintenance, and experience criteria apply in those combat related and combat support organizations designed to fight wars.
Findings and recommendations are made.
Cover Letter (Transmittal)
Executive Summary i
Table of Contents ii
PART I - Narrative
1.0 Introduction 1
2.0 Background 2
3.0 Review 3
3.1 Policy 3
3.2 Tasking 3
3.3 Command Relationships 4
3.4 Safety 4
3.5 Operations and Training 5
3.6 Maintenance 8
4.0 Recommendations 9
PART II - Documentary Exhibits
A. Terms of Reference 10
B. Proceedings 16
C. USAF Review 21
C.1 Introduction 21
C.2 Tasking Policy/Process 21
C.3 Safety Overview/Comparison 23
C.4 89th Airlift Wing 25
C.5 Other 45
C.6 Conclusions and Recommendations 59
D. USMC Review 67
D.1 Introduction 67
D.2 Background and Process of Review 68
D.3 Marine Helicopter Squadron - One 70
D.4 Command Matters 78
D.5 Operations and Training 83
D.6 Maintenance 89
D.7 Resources 99
D.8 Other USMC 110
E. Review Personnel 119
PART III - Interviews [Not provided with this document.]
(Listed in Alphabetical Order; this section is under a separate cover)
1.1 The Secretary of Defense was asked by the White House Chief of Staff on 6 September 1996 to review, within 30 days, the operational aspects of DoD's executive support air fleet to ensure the safest possible transportation. On 10 September 1996, Vice Admiral Donald D. Engen USN(ret), current Director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, was tasked by the Secretary of Defense to conduct such a review to begin as soon as possible. The Secretary of Defense also tasked the Secretaries of the Navy and Air Force to provide the necessary technical and administrative support, and asked his General Counsel to provide additional guidance for the conduct of the review. This additional guidance was provided in memorandum form on 13 September 1996.
1.2 Lieutenant Colonel Joy Shasteen, an Air Force logistics officer in the J-4 Logistics Directorate of the Joint Chief of Staff was assigned to function as Chief of Staff. On 11 September 1996, Major General Walter S. Hogle, Jr., Director of Plans, Headquarters Air Mobility Command and Brigadier General Robert Magnus, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Aviation, Headquarters US Marine Corps were assigned by their Services to assist in the review. Additional United States Marine Corps (USMC) and United States Air Force (USAF) personnel were also assigned and these names are contained in Part II, E. There followed detailed discussions with those tasking offices and principal support commands from the White House Military Office through staffs and intervening commands down to the dedicated executive airlift commands in the USAF and USMC, the 89th Airlift Wing (89 AW), and Marine Helicopter Squadron-One (HMX-1). The proceedings are contained in Part II, B.
1.3 Because of emphasis on a timely examination and the enormity of possible US worldwide assets available for Distinguished Visitor airlift, the review team set parameters to examine and compare safety aspects of the most critical elements, the dedicated Distinguished Visitors Code 1 (DV Code 1) and Distinguished Visitor Code 2 (DV Code 2) airlift in the USAF and USMC and secondary tasked elements of the USAF Air Mobility and Air Combat Commands and theater CINCs. The United States Navy (USN) and United States Army (USA) are not tasked to provide White House Executive lift support but do provide lift for their own Service Secretaries, congressional delegations, and active duty VIPs in dedicated airlift assets. Army and Navy dedicated assets are few, and such requests are less frequent and not as demanding as those placed on the USAF and USMC and consequently were not examined. Class A, B, and C mishaps involving DVs or DV support aircraft, were reviewed. In view of the need to preserve the integrity of on-going mishap investigations those investigations in process were reviewed as fully as possible so as to not second guess Judge Advocate General (JAG) investigations and mishap investigations but rather to determine and assess trends.
1.4 The review of USAF Executive lift is contained in Part II, C and the review of USMC Presidential Executive lift is in Part II, D. The names of the team members are contained in Part II, E.
2.1 Aviation safety is stressed from the highest to the lowest levels in US Military organizations, in the civil airlines, and in business aviation. It is stressed in every other facet of civil aviation, as well, but these major organizations have highly stylized and effective standardization, training, and accident prevention programs. Still accidents occur because of human error. Basically, an accident is nothing more than an event that occurs after a number of small omissions, errors or minor events trap the principle operator such that he or she can no longer intervene, and the accident occurs. Accident analysis shows that in hindsight the accident was preventable.
2.2 Those organizations dedicated to VIP or civil airlift have achieved exceedingly low accident rates. Regardless, there is a perception among many passengers that flying is unsafe. It appears that this is the perception of many in the media. No matter how good the aviation safety record, or how low the risk is to fly, compared with other modes of travel, the specter of imminent danger seems to exist. This is not to say that the risk, no matter how low, is acceptable, but rather that reasoned analysis will show risk to be much lower than perceived. The civil airlines have occasional tragic accidents but when viewed on the scale of the number of flying hours or the number of flights, risk is exceedingly low. The same is true for business aviation. Those military units dedicated to the airlift requirements of government DV Codes 1, and DV Codes 2, have safety records that are as good or better than civil transport. Still aviation accidents do occur more frequently in military tactical airlift aircraft providing general support Executive airlift. This caused us to look farther.
2.3 There is a general concern voiced that aging aircraft create challenges to safe flight. We looked at such DV airlift assets. Concern has been expressed that new equipment is needed for air navigation, ground proximity warning, and collision avoidance. We looked here, just as we looked at flight and ground operations, maintenance procedures and the currency of all training efforts. We looked at organization, command relationships, DV tasking imperatives, modernization of components and equipment, and in depth at flying safety.
2.4 Recognizing the concern expressed at the highest levels the review focused on how safety of operations can or could be improved for those who fly as passengers.
3.1.1 Policy and guidance for executive airlift is spelled out in White House memoranda, DoD memoranda and directives, and service instructions. These documents are reviewed periodically and stress that commercial assets shall generally be used as the most economic means to conduct official travel. They cite the broad categories for proper use of military aircraft as appropriate for DV Codes 1 and 2 travel and support. These categories are:
a. Defense related
b. In direct support of the President, Vice President, or First Family
c. Specifically directed by the President
d. Required to meet national security concerns
Policy guidance for these categories is clear and explicit for DV Code 1, as related to the President, and for DV Code 2 which includes the Vice President, Cabinet Members, Chief Justice, Service Secretaries, Members of Congress and Directors of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The Marine Corps' HMX-1 is dedicated to DV Code 1 Presidential airlift, and the Air Force's 89 AW; the Presidential Pilot Office (PPO) is dedicated to DV Code 1 Presidential airlift. The 89 AW is responsible for DV Code 2 people airlift as well. When there is need for general support airlift as for Secret Service, baggage, cars, etc. this is provided by tasking to tactical airlift assets of Air Mobility Command (AMC), Air Combat Command (ACC), and theater assets.
3.1.2 The policy for support for travel by Members of Congress is covered by DoD Directive. That policy was established 32 years ago and was written when military airlift assets were considerably greater than in the more austere circumstances of the 1990s.
3.2.1 There are three principal sources of tasking for DV executive airlift. These are the White House, Congress, and the Executive Cabinet. Each has its route for the flow of requests to the providing wing, or in the case of the Marine Corps, the squadron (see chart on page 23). There is appropriate oversight to ensure compliance with policy. These tasking routes are described in detail in Part II, C and D. The total tasking process may look incredibly complex, but in fact works very well. It is responsive, monitored, and functions well because of timely and appropriate communication within the Executive airlift system. The DoD Executive airlift tasking is highly dedicated.
3.2.2 Tasking requests for DV Code 1 and DV Code 2 airlift come to the designated executive airlift squadrons through offices and commands designed to assure prompt support and necessary supervision. Tasking for DV Code 1 is direct and efficient from the White House Military Office (WHMO) to the Office of the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff/Special Air Missions (CVAM), and on to either the PPO or HMX-1. Additional needed support for Secret Service personnel, baggage, cars, etc., is tasked from WHMO to CVAM and thence to Tanker Airlift Control Center (TACC) at Air Mobility Command (AMC) to be passed to major commands (MAJCOMs) and wings for continental United States (CONUS) forces. DV Code 2 tasking flows from the requesting source in the manner of DV Code 1 general support tasking to CVAM and to 89 AW for available support and thence to TACC and the Air Force MAJCOMs for airlift support from the wings and from the theater CINCs, when overseas in-theater travel is desired.
3.2.3 The airlift tasked to the Army and Navy was briefly reviewed and found to not be of the amount to warrant a full examination. The Army and the Navy provide a smaller dedicated amount of executive airlift for their Service civil and military DVs, and respond to Congressional Delegation requests through the same DV tasking system. They do not provide the broad range of Executive support that the Air Force does. Because of this, the Executive Air Fleet Review did not examine these Service airlift forces in great detail.
3.3 Command Relationships
3.3.1 The dedicated DV organizations of the Air Force and Marine Corps, 89 AW and HMX-1, report through respective administrative and operational chains of command. The 89 AW reports through 21 AF to AMC and thence to Headquarters USAF and to the Chief of staff, USAF. HMX-1 reports to the Deputy Chief of Staff(Aviation) and then to the Commandant, Marine Corps. There is considerable and continuous direct communication between WHMO, CVAM and PPO and HMX-1, in the case of DV Code 1 dedicated Executive airlift.
3.3.2 When there is DV Code 2 support needed overseas, in-theater support is provided mainly by Air Force units under the command of the theater CINCs. There are relatively small numbers of Navy and Army in-theater aircraft dedicated to local logistic support. These could be tasked to provide DV Code 2 people lift for two to six people. HMX-1 support is provided for DV Code 1 Executive airlift wherever it is required.
3.4.1 The review found excellent and active well trained safety people in visits to headquarters, and dedicated Executive airlift commands, as well as operating commands at McGuire and Pope AFBs. The commanders were personally involved in their safety programs and each service was amply supported by dedicated safety centers. Mishap prevention programs were active with direct involvement of the commanding officers. The review examined comparative safety records by type aircraft, both civil and military where this comparison could be made.
3.4.2 The Executive Air Fleet Review was mindful of press reports concerning accidents involving DV airlift in the past. It is hoped that with time the press may gain a greater appreciation for aviation safety and rely on National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) or Service safety investigations to provide the facts to the extent that each accident can be examined in the context of its events. Civil and military airline type mishap rates are indeed phenomenally low. But, even one accident is one too many, and it is with that in mind that the Services, and the airlines, approach aviation safety. DV airlift, by definition must strive for perfection. Unfortunately, accidents cannot be regulated or legislated from occurring. Organizations must continually strive for zero mishaps. We found great dedication toward aviation safety and zero tolerance for accidents wherever we went. Mishap prevention will need to be a continuing fight.
3.4.3 Past DV Code 1 and DV Code 2 Executive airlift mishap reports were examined. It was not the intent of the review to critically examine the findings of previous JAG or mishap investigations. Rather, the review performed mishap report analysis looking for anomalies and trends. Detailed statistics and facts can be found in Part II, C and D.
3.4.4 The Air Force flies a number of military versions of commercial aircraft in its DV airlift role. The review found Air Force Class A mishap rates in the case of 6 of 8 assigned comparable civil airplanes to be less than the mishap rate for the commercial fleet. In four of those airplanes the Air Force rate was an amazing 0.0, or no accidents. The C-137 or civil B707 and the KC-10 or civil MD10/11 are not truly comparable, but did have higher mishap rates. The review found 89 AW to be professional in every aspect of its operation, with an enviable safety record and without a single mishap occurring with the President, Vice President, or First Family on board. The last Class A mishap occurred in 1991, when a VC-137 departed the runway after a thrust reverser malfunction. There were no serious injuries.
3.4.5 The review found a trend in DV Code 2 support mishaps both overseas and in the United States, that indicated DV Code 2 general support aircrews can have less pilot experience than the norm, pointing toward the need to optimize crew experience match when being assigned. This assignment of aircrews is a unit command responsibility. There are adequate directives now in place, indicating the need for all commanders to place greater importance on DV airlift with respect to the tactical mission of the unit in the peacetime training environment. Increased command emphasis should be placed on assigning adequately experienced aircrews to the executive airlift mission. Also, the review noted that in the smaller DV assigned airplanes frequently crews are assigned for training and additional experience and as a result crew experience can be lower than desired. This is an area for further examination.
3.4.6 The Marine Corps' HMX-1 has had no mishap that occurred during a Presidential lift mission since it first began this Executive airlift role in 1957. In the twenty years since HMX-1 assumed sole provider services for Presidential lift there have been three helicopters involved in a Class A mishap. As in the great majority of mishaps, human error was involved under varying and diverse circumstances. There has not been a Class B mishap since 1988. HMX-1 has had a stellar aviation safety record. The squadron underwent a Naval Safety Center evaluation in mid-September 1996 and received high praise from those evaluators.
3.4.7 The helicopter is a complex machine with many moving parts, as compared to an airplane. Arguably this complexity is not a detractor to its capability to fly into places that no other aircraft can, but does require special attention and dedication. The dedicated helicopter airlift for the President is superbly maintained to standards not found elsewhere, as are the dedicated airplanes. This is an important factor in assuring that DV Code 1 lift should be made in those dedicated aircraft assets. Frequently, passengers see aircraft as being generic, but the quality of maintenance can and does vary appreciably. This is a matter that should remain of the foremost interest to all those providing DV executive airlift, and to those who ride as passengers.
3.5 Operations and Training
3.5.1 The dedicated DV Code 1 and DV Code 2 Executive airlift commands of the USAF and USMC fly and train in a variety of aircraft to fulfill their mission. The numbers of different kinds of aircraft in 89 AW and HMX-1 are challenging in that separate qualifications are required and professionally maintained. DV Code 2 general support is provided by tactical wings and airlift units that have missions other than executive airlift. These commands train and operate to maintain combat capability and the DV Code 2 mission is an added one.
3.5.2 Air Force. The dedicated DV Code 1 and DV Code 2 assets of 89 AW comprise four flying squadrons and PPO; one with a long range high capacity capability flying C-135 and C-137 airplanes; one with medium range and medium capacity flying C-9 airplanes and the lower passenger capacity C-20 (Gulfstream) airplanes; one with the small and agile C-21 (Lear) airplane; and one with the UH-1 helicopter. PPO flies two VC-25A(B747) aircraft in direct support of the President.
3.5.3 The 89 AW pilots are recruited especially through an interview process for their experience and capability to fly the larger aircraft. They must be volunteers. PPO selects its pilots from within 89 AW and its pool of very experienced pilots. PPO has even higher standards for selection. Because of the low number of HU-1 helicopter squadrons in the USAF the experience level of those selected helicopter pilots is generally lower. The 89 AW is fully manned with pilots and experienced maintenance personnel.
3.5.4 The 89 AW qualifications differ between the different aircraft. Generally, pilots maintain qualifications in one primary aircraft and one other. This provides flexibility for scheduling. Crew Resource Management training is stressed throughout simulator and instructor training. Depending on the aircraft and mission, simulator training is provided at the PanAm simulator facility in Miami, TWA; in St. Louis, UAL in Denver; and Flight Safety International at various facilities. The important safety function of the Inflight Passenger Service Specialist (IPSS) is performed by dedicated crew men and women, and they are trained by TWA and on the job. The extensive training and training requirements were assessed to be of a high order to provide quality leadership and crew capabilities. Recurrent training and standardization, crew rest, tasking and mission assignment are all given appropriate emphasis.
3.5.5 The 89 AW wing commander and previous commanders expressed frustration in dealing with PPO alignment. The wing commander understands he is legally responsible and accountable for PPO activities, but lacks commensurate oversight. The President's Pilot receives his tasking directly, and the C-25A is well maintained and is flown most professionally. However, oversight for training, standardization, and evaluation reside with the President's Pilot, without benefit of additional scrutiny.
3.5.6 The non-dedicated Air Force DV Code 2 support forces are units of wings in MAJCOMs or theater forces. These units fly a variety of airplanes from 1950s-technology C-130s and C-141s to the new and 1990s-technology C-17s. They train for their primary combat mission and, the units of AMC particularly, are fully capable of providing global airlift. Units of ACC are capable, as well, and provide dedicated lift and other services in their aircraft. The level of crew training and experience varies appreciably in the many units that have primary combat roles. Training is one of the primary peacetime functions of all forces. As a result, there is constant need to evaluate crew experience match to ensure the strongest crew team experience. This should be every commanders responsibility and interest. The regulation governing senior Executive support missions states that commanders should consistently use "highly qualified" crew members for such missions. However, "highly qualified" is not defined sufficiently for consistency.(see Part II C.3.5.)
3.5.7 Marine Corps. HMX-1 set new records for flight time during FY96 over a wide variety of locales in its assigned aircraft, the VH-3D, VH-60N, CH-53D, CH-53E, CH-46E, and UH-1N helicopters. Presidential airlift was provided principally in the VH-3D, and VH-60N, supported by the CH-46. HMX-1 is the largest constituted Marine aviation squadron in the USMC and is principally tasked to provide DV Code 1 support for the President, but also responds to the Commandant of the Marine Corps and to the Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force in other roles. These latter two roles are accomplished without interference to DV Code 1 airlift. The President's helicopters are either flown or carried in Air Force airlift airplanes to the area in which they will operate. An appreciable amount of planning and coordination is required to dismantle, load, then unload and put back together again complex machines like helicopters. This is done with great care and professionalism but takes fixed amounts of time.
3.5.8 Crew selection and training is of the highest order for the 75 assigned pilots. Volunteers are solicited and from these are chosen dedicated aircrew and maintenance personnel that are then trained in their dedicated roles. Because of the mission security clearances these are of great importance. Flight training is continuous at the squadron level and there is an unusually large number of instructor qualified pilots. The commanding officer is the President's Pilot and only other instructor pilots fly with him as second pilots on that mission.
3.5.9 The squadron meets all training, standards and criteria of the Marine Corps with heavy emphasis on Aircrew Coordination Training(ACT), the term in Naval Aviation for Crew Resource Management. This is continuous but also is focused toward two safety standdowns each year where concentrated training is given. The squadron does not have access to flight simulators other than those located in Jacksonville, Florida and this training is degraded because of lack of VH-3D cockpits in those simulators. This results in less than desirable flight simulator training. Crew rest, flight qualifications, currency and tasking procedures are well defined and maintained.
3.5.10 Operations and training functions are dealt with in detail in Part II, C, for 89 AW and in Part II, D for HMX-1.
3.6.1 The on-time departure rates and availability of aircraft are testimony to the quality of maintenance for a wide diversity of aircraft in the dedicated DV Code 1 and DV Code 2 missions. Motivated maintenance crews ably assisted by direct contractor support personnel maintain the aircraft to standards not normally achieved in squadrons.
3.6.2 Both USAF and USMC have Executive lift aircraft that meet the definition of aging aircraft -- an aircraft that is no longer in production. This challenge is met in various ways, but each service relies upon the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to supply parts for those aircraft. The challenges and costs can be appreciable but they are met without exception.
3.6.3 Both USAF and USMC have aircraft that have not kept pace with the avionics and other systems in civil aircraft. New aircraft acquisition is much less today than in the 1970s and 80s, driving the need for greater avionics retrofit. Also, military aircraft do not need civil systems or avionics in combat. There is an ongoing major effort in the USAF to update its airplanes with GPS/GPWS/TCAS and other systems. The USMC, with helicopters, has different challenges, since a number of these systems do not perform as well in helicopters. There is a need for continuing review on the installation of new avionics equipment in DV Code 1 and DV Code 2 aircraft.
3.6.4 Air Force. The 89th Logistics Group services the C-135/137, C-9, C-20, and C-21 airplanes. Maintenance personnel of 89 AW are detailed to PPO to work directly for the Presidential Pilot. Maintenance personnel assigned to 1 HS perform maintenance on their own UH-1Ns. The 89 AW is fully maintenance manned and complies with all Air Force directives and FAA airworthiness standards. Training is continuous, using technical schools, and system-specific training on the job. To meet FAA standards each mechanic that works on civil-type aircraft must meet FAA training standards and be certified as an Airframe and Power Plant Maintenance-qualified mechanic. In addition a special security clearance is required before access can be had to any Presidential aircraft.
3.6.5 Marine Corps. HMX-1 has two separate and distinct maintenance departments; the Executive Flight Detachment dedicated to the President's aircraft, and the Marine Corps Aircraft Maintenance, dedicated to support or cargo aircraft. Both have had recent inspections and have passed with flying colors. There is a bonding system for handling parts and equipment to be used in Presidential dedicated helicopters that assures the very best in quality and assurance. Briefly, parts are removed at half-life and replaced. A part is sent to the OEM and is remanufactured to originally new standards, and it is tracked and kept in bonded rooms until it is reinstalled on the helicopter. In this fashion, the VH-3D Presidential dedicated helicopter does not age. It is constantly being renewed and is now scheduled to continue flying until 2014.
Most helicopters are much more complex than airplanes with many moving parts. HMX-1 expressed grave concern that some may not understand the length to which the USMC goes to insure the highest of reliability for the Presidents helicopters. Only the VH3D and the VH-60M helicopters have that degree of reliability and other helicopters should not be used to provide executive airlift support for the President. The WHMO expressed this same concern.
4.1 Each Service should emphasize and maintain an Executive airlift plan to address modernization requirements, authorized versus on-board assets, and funding.
4.2 Each Service should review Executive airlift general support crew - mission match requirements and definitions such that tactical organizations place more emphasis on the importance of the DV support airlift mission.
4.3 The DoD should discuss with the Congress the continuing need to support Congressional Delegation travel in light of the 1990s military Executive airlift assets.
4.4 The White House should critically review the use of non-dedicated Executive airlift aircraft for the President's travel.
4.5 The Air Force should realign the Presidential Pilot Office within the 89 Airlift Wing to more clearly delineate the process for standardization and evaluation.
4.6 Additional Service specific recommendations are made within the Air Force review (Part II, C), and the Marine Corps review (Part II, D).
A.1 In response to an 6 September 1996 letter from Chief of Staff of the White House, the Secretary of Defense (Document A) appointed and tasked Vice Admiral Donald D. Engen USN(ret), currently Director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, to review all aspects of DoD executive support aircraft (Document B) The Secretary of Defense directed the OSD General Counsel to provide additional administrative guidance (Document C and D). The Secretary of Defense also directed the Secretaries of the Navy and Air Force to provide necessary technical and administrative support for the Review (Document E).
A.2. The Air Force assigned Major General Walter S. Hogle, Jr., USAF, Director of Plans, Air Mobility Command, and the Marine Corps assigned Brigadier General Robert Magnus, USMC, Assistant Deputy Director, US Marine Corps, Aviation, Headquarters Marine Corps as senior Service representatives to the review and they, in turn, formed respective support staffs. The review team then conducted concurrent assessments of the relevant practices and procedures affecting reliability and safety at each level of training, operation, and maintenance for DoD Executive airlift transportation.
A.3. The review placed primary focus on Executive lift tasked by the White House Military Office (WHMO). The providing assets are principally the 89 Airlift Wing at Andrews AFB, Maryland and HMX-1 at MCAF Quantico, Virginia. When size, weight, or numbers exceed the dedicated Executive airlift capability, Air Force tactical organizations are tasked to provide general support for both DV Codes 1 and 2. The tasking of this tactical support for Executive airlift is addressed in the body of the report . The disbursed units are many and geographically distant such that they were impossible to review within the desired report time frame of 30 days.
A.4. The Executive Airfleet Review team looked at tasking from WHMO, Congress, and Executive Cabinet as this tasking flowed through offices or commands to the principally tasked organizations, or on to operating units for general support. Particular attention was placed on how DV tasking was received and assets were deployed to provide Executive airlift for DV Codes 1 and 2, and evaluations were made of operations, maintenance, training, and safety performance.
ACC - Air Combat Command-AF major command responsible for US based fighter and bomber aircraft and C-130 transports (C-130s support Banner missions)
ACLS - Advanced Cardiac Life Support
ACT - Aircrew Coordination Training
AETC - Air Education Training Command-AF major command responsible for Air Force Instruction
AFC - Airframe Change is issued for aircraft maintenance publications
AFI - Air Force Instruction
AFPC - Air Force Personnel Center at Randolph AFB TX-overall responsibility for USAF personnel assignments
AFRES - Air Force Reserve
AGM - Aircraft Group Mishap
AGS - Aircraft Generation Squadron
AMC - Air Mobility Command
AMMT - Aircraft Maintenance Management Team
AMSO - Aeromedical Safety Officer
ANG - Air National Guard
ATCO - Air Transportation Coordination Office
ATP - Airline Traffic Pilot
Autoturns - Main rotor (NR) RPM setting during an autorotation
Banner - A Special Assignment Airlift Mission that directly supportsbthe President
BUMED - Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
Cage - Restricted access area where VH aircraft are hangared (also see Whiteside)
CFA - Commander's Facility Assessment
CG - Commanding General
CH - Cargo Helicopter (CH-46E, CH-53D and CH-53E)
CINC - Commander in Chief of a unified command with geographic or functional responsibility (i.e. Europe or Air Mobility)
CLS - Contractor Logistics Support
CMC - Commandant of the Marine Corps
CNSU - Communications, Navigation, and Survivability Upgrade
CO - Commanding Officer
COEA - Cost and Operational Effectiveness Assessment
Command Pilot - HMX-1 pilot authorized to fly DV1 passengers
CONUS - Continental United States
Copper - Special Assignment Airlift Mission for Secret Service (Non-Presidential/VP)
CPAB - Corrosion Prevention Control Programs (USMC)
CPCP - Corrosion Prevention Control Programs (USAF)
CRM - Crew Resource Management
CSFIR - Flight Incident/Cockpit Voice Recorder
CVAM - Air Force Office of the Vice Chief of Staff/Special Air Missions
DC/S - Deputy Chief of Staff
DoD - Department of Defense
DSS - Department of Safety and Standardization
DV - Distinguished VIP
EFMP - Exceptional Family Member Program
EMS -- Equipment Maintenance Squadron
EMT - Emergency Medical Technician
ENPR - Enhanced passive noise reduction
EPA - Environmental Protection Agency
FAR - Federal Aviation Regulation
FltO - Flight Officer oversees ODO and does longer range planning
FM - Flight Mishap
Frags - Fragmentary orders or mission taskers
FRM - Flight Related Mishap
GPS - Global Positioning Systems
GWPS - Ground Proximity Warning System
Greenside - HMX-1 department which handles other than executive flight support and controls CH aircraft (also known as Stake)
GSE - Ground support equipment
HAC - Helicopter Aircraft Commander
HUD - Heads-up-display
HMX-1 - Marine Helicopter Squadron-1
HQMC - Headquarters, Marine Corps
IDC - Independent Duty Medical Corpsman
IMD - Integrated Mechanical Diagnostics
IRAC - Interim Rapid Action Changes are issued for aircraft maintenance
IRC - Instrument Refresher Course
JOSAC - Joint Operational Support Airlift Center
Kaizen Project - Internal process review working group at Sikorsky Stratford Plant
LDS - Load demand spindle roller pins for an engine fuel control
LG - Logistics Group
LOFT - Line Oriented Flight Training
LSS - Logistics Support Squadron
LTF - Logistics Training Flight
MAJCOM - Major Command-major USAF subdivision subordinate to HQ USAF
MARFOR - Marine Forces Atlantic, Pacific, and Reserves
Marine One - Callsign for a helicopter when the President is onboard
Marine One Pilot - HMX-1 pilots authorized to fly the President
MATMEP - Maintenance Training Management and Evaluation Program
MCAB - Marine Corps Air Bases
MCAF - Marine Corps Air Facility
MCAS - Marine Corps Air Station
MCB - Marine Corps Base
MCCDC - Marine Corps Combat Developments Command is the senior command located at MCB, Quantico, VA
MCI - Multi-Command Instruction
MESM - Mission Essential Sub-systems Matrices
MNS - Mission Needs Statement
MOS - Military Occupational Specialties
MOST - Mission Oriented Simulator Training
MOU - Memorandum of Understanding
MPD - Maintenance Planning Document
MQTP - Maintenance Qualification Training Program
MTF - Medical Treatment Facilities
MUG - Mid-life Upgrade
MXS - Maintenance Squadron
M&RA - Manpower and Reserve Affairs
NAF - Naval Air Facility (USMC)
NAF - Numbered Air Force (USAF)
NATOPS - Naval Aviation Training and Operating Procedures Standardization
NAVAIR - Naval Air Systems Command Headquarters
NCO - Noncommissioned Officer (pay grade E-4 through E-5/USMC)
NP - Tachometer RPM for engine power turbine
NR - Tachometer RPM for main rotor
NVG - Night vision goggles
ODO - Operations Duty Officer executes the flight schedule
OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer
OG - Operations Group
OJT - On-the-Job-Training
OpsO - Operations Officer is responsible
OSA - Operational Support Aircraft (C-12B, C-12F, C-20G, CT-39G, and C-9B)
OSD - Office of the Secretary of Defense
OCONUS - Outside Continental United States
OPTEMPO - Operations Tempo
OPTEVFOR - Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force
OT&E - Operational Test and Evaluation department at HMX-1
PACAF - Pacific Air Force
PI - Process Improvement
PIP - Process Improvement Program
PMFCF - Post-maintenance functional check flight
PMR - Program Management Review
PPC - Power Plant Change is issued for an aircraft engine maintenance publication
PPM - Presidential Pilot Maintenance section
PPO - Presidential Pilot Office
PQP - Prior Qualified Pilot
QA - Quality Assurance
QAR - Quality Assurance Representative
RPM - Revolutions per minute
SAAM - Special Assignment Airlift Mission-mission operated (other than 89 AW) to satisfy a requirement needing special consideration due to: pickup/delivery locations outside the established channel airlift structure, number of passengers, cargo weight/size, mission sensitivity, or other factors
SAM - Special Air Mission
Silver - Special Assignment Airlift Mission that directly supports the Vice President
SLAP - Service Life Assessment Program
SLEP - Service Life Extension Program
SNCO - Staff Noncommissioned Officer (pay grade E-6 and above)
SOP - Standard Operating Procedures
SPAR - Special Progressive Aircraft Repair
SPD - System Program Director
SSBI - Single Scope Background Investigation
Stake - See Greenside
TACC - Tanker Airlift Control Center-single-point command and control center for airlift and air refueling forces
TCAS - Traffic Collision Avoidance System
TERPS - Terminal Instrument Procedures
TMS - Type/Model/Series of aircraft (e.g. VH-60N = VH/60/N)
T/O - Table of Organization
TQM - Total Quality Management
TYCOM - Type commander
UPT - Undergraduate Pilot Training
USAFE - United States Air Forces Europe
USSTRATCOM - United States Strategic Command
USTRANSCOM - United States Transportation Command
VH - VIP Helicopter (VH-3D and VHV-60N)
Whiteside - HMX-1 Executive Flight Detachment, which control VH aircraft (also known as Cage)
WH - White House
WHHAMC - White House Helicopter Aircraft Commander is an HMX-1 pilot authorized to sign for an VH aircraft
WHLO - White House Liaison Officer is an HMX-1 pilot, whose job is coordinate with WHMO for WH mission
WHMO - White House Military Office
WICS - Wireless intercommunications system
XO - Executive Officer fills in for CO during his absence
B.1 VADM Donald Engen, USN (ret), currently the Director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, was appointed by the Secretary of Defense on 10 September 1996 to conduct a review of DoD executive support air fleet. He was to determine the facts of all aspects of operation and maintenance of DoD executive support aircraft and make findings and recommendations as needed to ensure safe and effective flight operations, and further was to submit a detailed written report of the review, including findings and recommendations within 30 days or NLT 10 October 1996. This final date was subsequently extended to 18 October 1996 at VADM Engen's request. The review was to look at relevant practices and procedures affecting reliability and safety at every level of training, operations and maintenance of executive air transportation by DoD to include (but not limited to) type of aircraft used, aircraft and equipment maintenance schedules and procedures, pilot and crew selection and training, and accident/mishap investigation. The Secretaries of the Navy and the Air Force were asked by the Secretary of Defense to provide technical and administrative support. A meeting was held on 10 September 1996 in the acting Director, Joint Chiefs of Staff's office. Working attendees included representatives for the Air Force (USAF), Marine Corps (USMC), Chairman's Legal Counsel, and a Joint Staff project officer as well as the acting Director and VADM Engen. VADM Engen opened the meeting with a request for the names of all those who would work on the review from both USAF and USMC and specifically asked for officers with backgrounds in executive airlift. VADM Engen asked that each of the Services come to the next meeting with copies of past accident reports particularly reports on the T-43 accident in Bosnia, the C-130 accident in Wyoming and the CH-46 accident in Orlando. Both USAF and USMC stated that not all reports were complete and that not all information was releasable. VADM Engen stated that whatever was available would be satisfactory. He also asked to visit the 89th Airlift Wing (89 AW) at Andrews AFB, Maryland and Marine Helicopter Squadron - One (HMX-1) at MCAF Quantico, Virginia during the week of 16 September 1996.
B.2 VADM Engen stated areas of interest to cover during this review should include how taskings were made; at this point a question was asked of whether it was understood that White House tasking comes from within the White House staff. He stated that the review would not look at how the White House tasks but rather how once that tasking is made how it flows through the system to be acted on. Since the review might cover privileged information, VADM Engen asked if the report could remain unclassified, if at all possible. Returning to the areas to be covered he included for USAF, 89 AW and it's Air Mobility Command (AMC) interface as well as the White House Military Office (WHMO) and United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) liaison. The information gathered should cover policy , perception of policy and command judgments. VADM Engen asked for a two to three hour briefing from both the USAF's 89 AW and from USMC's HMX-1 to include discussion time. He asked that if at all possible it be with the commanders of both organizations.
B.3 The acting Director, Joint Staff suggested that Commander in Chief, U.S. Transportation Command (CINCTRANS) be asked to provide a representative from AMC to supplement information gathering by USAF. VADM Engen asked that there be two principals, one from each Service, to cover participation in the review. BGen Robert Magnus, USMC stated he would be the primary Marine Corps representative and subsequently MGen Walter S. Hogle, Jr. was named the USAF primary representative. The acting Director, Joint Staff later provided all names and these are presented in Part II, E. The Joint Staff worked on accommodations for VADM Engen's staff. Accommodations for the review were made available in an office suite in Crystal City near the Pentagon.
B.4 A meeting was held on 13 September 1996 in the Conference Room in Suite 302 in the review's Crystal City offices. VADM Engen stated that the review would focus on operations and maintenance for presidential aircraft. He expected the Air Force and the Marines Corps team members to conduct interviews and that these interviews would be summarized. This information would not be termed "testimony" and there should be no emphasis on legal matters; they would not be interviewing witnesses as this was the best way to "kill" a true safety review of the airlift system. Summaries would contain the "gist of the conversation" and he handed out the Office of the Secretary of Defense, General Counsel's guidelines (Supplemental Memorandum of the Charter) on what kind of techniques to use in interviews. He stated that after a summary was written it should be returned to the individual for agreement. He also stated that the review had 21 more days in which to finalize its report. VADM Engen showed a copy of the Blue Ribbon Panel for Aviation Safety, September 1995 that he had chaired. Meeting members asked for copies. Then each meeting member gave a brief summary of their backgrounds. VADM Engen told the attendees to use the support of the Joint Staff and their Service staffs wisely to cover the large amount of information needed. He stated that his principle interest was in 89 AW and HMX-1 which are the principals tasked directly by the White House. A secondary tasking, to study all other executive support would be driven by time constraints, but they should make best efforts to look as far as time made possible. He stated that together the Services needed to look at how tasking is made--determine what tasking can't be done by these two units and how that would be determined. A general discussion ensued regarding rotary wing support. The Service representatives then asked about the scope of the review. VADM Engen stated that the scope should cover the mission in support of the President. Air Force stated that AMC would task missions not met by 89 AW as "Special Missions" and these could go to all qualified units, which could be any unit Air Force-wide. VADM Engen asked the Service representatives to look at how missions which would be presidential executive support would be tasked, who tasks them and what are the standards for these missions. He told the Services to decide where to stop in the level of detail to report but to inform him for final determination. VADM Engen stated he would personally look into the tasking as it comes from the White House and speak to offices previously tasked in these matters. He asked the Marine Corps representatives to gather information on how HMX-1 receives their tasking. He asked that both Services agree on the same kinds of questions on operations, maintenance, procedures and organization.
B.5 Important areas to look at for both Services were: Human error, training, aircraft collision avoidance, hazardous weather, aging aircraft, parts and people. Both Services need to look at a "feel" of pilot experience, how long in command, specialized training they receive, and assess the operational tone (looking at both maintenance and operational "tone" in the units). They should be attuned to the "seasoned" versus "young challenger" thought process in pilot selection for these missions and be ready to give a possible recommendation.
VADM Engen asked that the representatives meet each week for the next three weeks. For the weeks of 16 and 23 September 1996 he asked the Services gather data and information on presidential airlift then make an evaluation. Then for the week of 30 September 1996 to begin crafting the report for completion NLT 5 October 1996. 30 September 1996 was set as the date that all data should be in. VADM Engen stated that he would not be available for 21 - 24 September 1996 due to commitments with the National Air and Space Museum. He stated he would be in voice contact with the review office and all could coordinate around this office. Visits were scheduled with both Air Force and Marine representatives attending on 19 September 1996 at HMX-1 at MCAF Quantico and 20 September 1996 at 89 AW at Andrews AFB. Further, VADM Engen stated that if the group required it, he could obtain FAA and NTSB records. On that note he also stated that both services should look at what equipment is available in civil aviation that isn't currently available for military aviation.
B.6 Chairman's Counsel asked if he could review the question criteria that both the Air Force and Marine Corps would formulate so that he could help make these criteria standardized? It was agreed and all members of the review team were to be informed of the importance of the need for a through safety review. Attendees for this meeting were: VADM Engen, MGen Hogle, USAF; BGen Magnus, USMC, Col Nolte, USAF, Col Dunkelberger, USMC, Lt Col Lloyd, USA, Chairman's Legal Counsel and Lt Col Shasteen, USAF, appointed VADM Engen's "Chief of Staff."
B.7 VADM Engen attended a briefing at MCAF Quantico at HMX-l about Marine Presidential lift on 19 September 1996 and a briefing at Andrews AFB about 89 AW and Presidential taskings on 20 September 1996. Both BGen Magnus and MGen Hogle attended these briefings. All three attended a meeting at the White House Military Office (WHMO) with Mr. Sullivan on 20 September as well. The weeks of 22 and 30 September 1996 were used to gather data for the review. The Services, together with VADM Engen developed an outline for their review which followed the Office of Secretary of Defense, General Counsel's recommendations. All data and information was gathered to begin compiling the review.
B.8 VADM Engen, Maj Gen Hogle, and BGen Magnus met again on 2 October 1996. CAPT Weaver, USN and LTC Flynn, USMC both from the Office of the Secretary of Defense's Executive Secretariat, came and briefed how their office works as airlift "authorizer". Both Services were working their drafts. VADM Engen began work on the Executive Summary and the narratives of the interviews that he had conducted with previous commanders of 89 AW and HMX-1. The three discussed direction of the recommendations but did not formalize those areas at that time. VADM Engen hoped to have the finalized review 6 October 1996.
B.9 VADM Engen, Maj Gen Hogle, Col Dunkelberger and Col Nolte met on 4 October 1996 and the entire group worked through the weekend of 5 and 6 October 1996. Both Services asked for more time to finish their reviews and VADM Engen gave them until 7 October 1996. Appointments to brief Gen Joseph Ralston, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Dr. John White, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Dr. William Perry, Secretary of Defense were made for 8 October, 9 October and 11 October 1996 respectively. General Ralston, USAF, Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff was briefed 8 October 1996. Dr. White, Deputy Secretary of Defense was briefed 9 October 1996. Secretary of Defense Dr. Perry was briefed 10 October 1996 along with the Secretary of the Navy, Mr. John Dalton, Undersecretary of the Air Force, Mr. Rudy de Leon, Gen Thomas S. Moorman, Vice Chief of Staff, USAF and Gen C. C. Krulak, Commandant of the Marine Corps. The final report was prepared and delivered, as agreed, 18 October 1996.
B.10 Air Force Proceedings:
12 Sep 96 Board Deputy Chief (Col Patrick F. Nolte) and initial AF members met with interim Chief (Brig Gen Terry J. Schwalier)
13 Sep 96 Initial AF board Meeting at AFFSA Conference Room
Maj Gen Walter S. Hogle Jr and Col Nolte meet with Review Board President VADM Donald D. Engen (USN Ret)
16 Sep 96 Maj Gen Hogle appointed permanent team Chief, initial full AF team
Team determines scope of review. Develops interview questions.
89 AW and CVAM mission briefings.
17 Sep 96 Interview questions reviewed and finalized.
Logistics team members interviewed Col Hance 89 LG/CC
18 Sep 96 Team Chief E-Mail to MAJCOM CVs requesting pertinent information.
89 AW interviews commence. Flt Surgeon's Office, 89 AW/CC 89 OG/CC, 89 LSS/QAR and 201 AS (DC ANG) logistics personnel.
19 Sep 96 E-Mail to proposed interview sites (Scott AFB, McGuire AFB, Langley
AFB, and Pope AFB)
89 AW interviews continue: 1 HS, 1 AS, 201 AS (DC ANG) Ops, 89 LSS/ Programs Management section, 89 LSS, AGS, and MXS commanders.
20 Sep 96 89 AW interviews continue: 99 AS, 89 LSS/Analysis and Training Management, Programs & Mobility, Senior NCOs, NCO,s and 99 AS Flight Mechanics
21 Sep 96 Interviews at Scott AFB: AMC/DO and directorate personnel, AMC/LG
and directorate personnel, TACC/CC, 375 AW/CV, 375 OG, 458 AS
Logistics team members interviewed 375 LSS/QAR (Scott AFB) also interviewed HQ AMC/LGF/LGA/LGQ personnel
23 Sep 96 Team visits Presidential Pilot Office (PPO) and conducts interviews:
Col Barr and other pilots, PPO maintenance.
Returned to 89 LSS Training Management for additional information. Telcon interview w/LG/CC rep at 437 AW, Charleston AFB SC; 436 AW, Dover AFB DE; 60 AMW, Travis AFB CA; 62 AW, McChord AWB WA; 21 AF, McGuire AFB NJ. Telecon w/WQ AFMC/EN and ASC/SMA ref aging Video Teleconference with TACC on ACARS
24 Sep 96 Unit interviews at 305 AMW, McGuire AFB; HQ ACC and 21 ALF Langely AFB, VA; and 23 WG, Pope AFB, NC (Operations and Logistics).
25 Sep 96 Logistics team contacted Boeing to acquire aging aircraft history
26 Sep 96 Logistics team contacted OC-ALC/LC for additional aging aircraft information
27 Sep 96 Team begins drafting report.
Logistics team Telecon interview with USAFE logistics on T-43 (projected C-9) maintenance organization. Interview with Chief of Maintenance, 1 HS
30 Sep 96 Team Chief interview with 89 Deputy LG/CC.
Logistics team telcon interview with HQ USAF/LGMM training managers and functional manager for AFI 21-107.
1 Oct 96 Team Chief interview with 89 LG/CC
Logistics team visit to FAA.
6 Oct 96 AF Report Part 1 submitted to Board President.
B.11 Marine Corps proceedings see D, Taskings and Processes.
This section reviews all aspects of U.S. Air Force support of missions used to transport, as passengers, senior United States civilian officials classified as Distinguished Visitor (DV) Codes 1 and 2 (President, Vice President, SecState, SecDef, etc.) as tasked by the White House Military Office (WHMO) or appropriate U.S. Air Force agencies. The section focuses on the 89th Airlift Wing (89 AW), since that organization has the mission of supporting the travel of high government officials. However, other USAF units also are involved in DV Codes 1 and 2 travel. The USAF team visited a representative cross section of these units; the results of those visits and other pertinent material are also reviewed in this section of the report.
C.2 Tasking Policy/Process
C.2.1 In the Executive Branch, the current policy for use of military aircraft is outlined in a White House Chief of Staff Memorandum dated 16 September 1994. The policy states that commercial airline accommodations shall generally be used as the most economic means to conduct official travel. In some cases, military aircraft may be used for official White House support missions if commercial travel is not available or appropriate for the particular mission. The memorandum outlines instances where use of DoD aircraft is appropriate. The travel must be one of the following:
a. Defense related
b. In direct support of the President, Vice President, or First Family
c. Specifically directed by the President
d. Required to meet national security concerns
The memorandum provides guidance on how requests will be reviewed/approved
as well as the rates to be used for instances where agencies must reimburse
C.2.2 In the Department of Defense, policy for using military aircraft is
found in a memorandum from the Deputy Secretary of Defense dated 1 October
1995, DoD Policy on the Use of Government Aircraft and Air Travel.
This memorandum states "Military aircraft shall not be used if commercial
airline or aircraft (including charter) service is reasonably available,
i.e., able to meet the traveler's departure and/or arrival requirements within
a 24-hour period, unless highly unusual circumstances present a clear and
present danger, an emergency exists, use of MilAir is more cost-effective
than commercial air, or other compelling operational considerations make
commercial transportation unacceptable." The memorandum also outlines which
travelers are required to use military aircraft and provides guidance how
requests will be handled for other official travel. Currently, this memorandum
is considered the "bible" when it comes to policy governing use of DoD aircraft
for official travel.
C.2.3 The policy for support of travel by members of Congress is found in
DoD Directive 4515.12, Department of Defense Support for Travel of Members
and Employees of the Congress dated 12 December 1964.
The directive states "...support for approved travel of members and
employees of the Congress shall be provided on an economical basis (1) upon
request of the Congress pursuant to law, or (2) where necessary to carry
out the duties and responsibilities of the DoD." The directive outlines factors
which shall be considered when providing DoD support of Congressional travel,
as well as the procedures to follow when requesting/approving such travel.
C.2.4 Essentially, U.S. Air Force tasking to transport/support DV Codes 1
and 2 originates from one of three sources: the White House through the White
House Military Office (WHMO), other Executive/Judicial agencies, and Congress.
In the case of Presidential travel, WHMO tasks the Presidential Pilot Office
(PPO) at Andrews AFB, Maryland directly. At roughly the same time, WHMO tasks
the Tanker Airlift Control Center (TACC) at Headquarters Air Mobility Command
(HQ AMC) for transport of support equipment and personnel. TACC in turn tasks
individual airlift wings (could be AMC, Air Combat Command (ACC), National
Guard (ANG), or Air Force Reserve (AFRES) wings); depending on load, range,
and aircraft availability. These missions are called "Phoenix Banner"
(Presidential support), "Phoenix Silver" (Vice Presidential support), and
"Phoenix Copper" (Secret Service, non-Presidential/VP support).
C.2.5 With the exception of the President, the Office of the Assistant Vice
Chief of Staff/Special Air Missions (CVAM) is the focal point for DV Codes
1 and 2 travel which originates in CONUS. Presidential-directed travel (e.g.
SecState) is tasked from WHMO directly to CVAM. In the case of travel by
Executive/Cabinet Level DVs, the travel request is reviewed/approved by the
Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Executive Secretariat and then sent
to CVAM. The process is similar for Congressional travel except the request
is approved by the OSD Legislative Affairs Office before it goes to CVAM.
Service DVs who are eligible and approved either through their "required
use" status or appropriate approving authority (e.g. SECAF approves Ass't
SECAF) also make their requests to CVAM. Once CVAM receives a request, they
validate the request and task the appropriate USAF unit for execution. For
DV travel originating overseas (e.g. the traveler flies commercial to Europe
and then uses USAF assets in theater), the OSD Executive Secretariat requests
support from the Director, Joint Staff, who in turn passes the request to
the appropriate Unified Command.
C.2.6 CVAM tasks 89 AW directly, usually by specific aircraft tail number.
The 89 AW in turn, selects the crews, prepares the aircraft and flies the
mission. In the unlikely event CVAM cannot support the DV mission with 89
AW assets, they look to other USAF units (DV configured KC-10, E-4, CINC
support aircraft, etc.) to meet the traveler's requirements. Assuming the
MAJCOM/unit agrees to support the DV mission, CVAM passes the appropriate
information to the selected MAJCOM/unit.
C.2.7 In some cases, CVAM determines that the mission is best supported by
an operational support aircraft (OSA), primarily C-21 and C-22. (NOTE: A
European CT-43 was destroyed on 3 April 1996; the Air Force intends to replace
it with a C-9 to become part of OSA.) Destination, size of party, and
communication requirements are some considerations in making the decision
to use OSA. If OSA is deemed the best option, CVAM will validate the OSA
request and send it to the MAJCOM as noted above. In this case, the appropriate
MAJCOM allocates the mission to a USAF wing. Beginning 1 October 1996, the
Joint Operational Support Airlift Center (JOSAC) became the multi-service
single manager for CONUS OSA. Figure 1 outlines the tasking process from
the originating agency to the appropriate flying unit. NOTE: The tasking
process from the wing level down will be assessed later in this report.
Figure 1: DV Tasking
C.3 Safety Overview/Comparison
C.3.1 While absolute safety is not possible, every mission is undertaken
with a set of known and unknown risks. Primary DV airlift is provided by
89 AW and PPO at Andrews AFB. It should be noted that no 89 AW aircraft has
ever been damaged or destroyed in the performance of a presidential mission.
Only two aircraft in 89 AW have been involved in major mishaps; neither was
destroyed. The 89 AW and PPO however, are only able to handle a portion of
the DV airlift requirement. Additional DV airlift comes from the operational
support airlift fleet and from other units with aircraft capable of supporting
DV mission requirements.
C.3.2 As a point of reference, Air Force safety performance can be compared
to the performance of similar aircraft flying comparable missions in the
private sector. Such comparisons are not, however, precise due to differences
in the way safety data is captured and analyzed by the Air Force and the
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). While there are similarities in the
missions, differences exist that can have an impact on safety performance.
For example, a large portion of the airlift fleet conducts air refueling
and airdrop operations, but civilian carriers do not. It is also important
to note that, within the Air Force, one mishap may produce a dramatic change
in the system specific mishap rate due to small fleet size and fewer hours
C.3.3 The Air Force flies a number of military versions of commercial aircraft
in support of DV airlift missions. Figure 2 compares ten-year accident rates
for Air Force passenger carrying aircraft to rates for their commercial
equivalents. Although there is no commercial equivalent for some USAF passenger
carrying aircraft (C-141, C-130, C-5), mishap data is included for reference.
C17 data is not included because of limited history.
*Only data available covers 1970-1996Figure 2: USAF and Commercial Mishap Rates
C.3.4 We can also compare accident experience by mission flown. Figure 3
outlines the FAA categories and the USAF aircraft which have similar roles.
Figure 3: FAA Air Carrier Categories
C.3.5 The following figure compares USAF and commercial accident rates over
a ten-year period. When compared by mission type, USAF DV mishap rates are
somewhat higher than large air carriers, but better than commuter airlines
and air taxi carriers.
Figure 4: Accident Rates
C.4 89th Airlift Wing (89 AW)
C.4.1 Background and Safety Record
C.4.1.1 The mission of 89 AW is to "provide Special Air Mission support for
the President and other dignitaries; maintain readiness and ensure quality
support for Global Reach." The 89 AW is unique in the Air Force--it
is the only wing whose primary mission is the transportation and support
of key U.S. and foreign dignitaries. Because of its unique mission, 89 AW
has requirements and programs differing in some ways from other Air Force
operational wings. However, the lion's share of the way 89 AW does its business
is identical to other units throughout the Air Force. This report certainly
identifies and assesses areas where 89 AW is different--it's also important
to keep in mind that the similarities with "standard" Air Force operations
far outweigh the differences.
Figure 5: Chain of Command
Figure 6: 89 AW Organization
C.4.1.2 The 89 AW chain of command runs from HQ USAF through HQ AMC and HQ
21st Air Force to 89 AW commander. For the most part, the wing organization
follows the standard USAF objective wing format with five subordinate groups
reporting to the wing commander. The Presidential Pilot Office (PPO) is a
unique organization. PPO consists of the pilots, other aircrew, and support
personnel engaged in direct support of Presidential travel. Figure 5 shows
the organizational structure above 89 AW; Figure 6 is 89 AW internal structure
to the group level.
C.4.1.3 The 89 AW units having primary responsibility for DV transportation
(1st and 99th Airlift Squadrons (AS), 1st Helicopter Squadron (HS), and PPO)
are selectively manned. The wing also has a C-21 unit (457 AS) which supports
operational support airlift (OSA) transportation of DVs. Essentially, 457
AS is like other USAF OSA C-21 units. For this reason, we will address 457
AS (and other OSA units) in a subsequent section of this report.
C.184.108.40.206 The 89 AW has an enviable safety record. There has never been a
mishap with the President, Vice President, or First Family on board. The
Wing has flown nearly a million hours without a mishap which destroyed an
aircraft or caused a fatality. The last Class A mishap occurred in 1991 when
a VC-137 departed the runway after an thrust reverser malfunction. There
were no serious injuries. In fact, the mishap was initially classified as
a Class B; but was upgraded to Class A because of the dollar cost of the
C.220.127.116.11 Commanders throughout the wing have a clear understanding of 89
AW's unique mission and are well aware of the particular stress the mission
places on the wing's personnel. The wing commander's philosophy is to accomplish
the mission, without compromising safety. Aircraft commanders have the final
say whether or not a mission is launched and/or continued. The wing commander
clearly understands that situations may arise where his personnel are
"encouraged" to go beyond prudent levels of risk. His policy is very clear--don't
press beyond safe limits. Interviews with wing personnel at all levels indicate
the men and women of 89 AW clearly understand that safe transportation is
the absolute first priority. The wing Safety Office is fully manned with
trained, qualified personnel--all have completed the requisite formal training
courses. Their primary challenge is to provide an effective, far reaching,
yet detailed program to meet the requirements of 89 AW's unique mission.
The wing is responsible for the safe and effective operation of six distinct
aircraft, and the safety program is tailored to meet each squadron's specific
needs. Throughout 89 AW, commanders are very confident in their people's
ability to perform the mission safely, comfortably, and reliably. The biggest
safety concern is the age of the aircraft fleet. While commanders, crew members,
and maintainers are all confident that safety is not compromised, they see
the need for a comprehensive modernization plan to replace or modify aircraft,
C.4.2.1 The 89 AW follows the standard USAF command structure--the wing commander
is a brigadier general; subordinate groups are commanded by colonels. The
wing commander, operations group commander and subordinate commanders/operations
officers are experienced aviators; many have served in 89 AW previously.
Figure 7 contains an outline of the experience of key leaders in 89 AW flying
|Position||Months in 89 AW||Tours in 89 AW|
|Ops Gp Commander|
|Ops Gp Deputy|
|Commander, 1 AS|
|Ops Officer, 1 AS|
|Commander, 99 AS|
|Ops Officer, 99 AS|
|Commander, 1 HS|
|Ops Officer, 1 HS|
Figure 7: 89 AW Key Leadership
C.4.2.2 As noted, DV tasking for other than the President comes to the wing
from the Office of the Vice Chief of Staff/Special Air Missions (CVAM). The
wing assesses the operational feasibility of the mission, schedules the aircrews,
prepares the aircraft, and has responsibility for operational execution.
For Presidential missions, the overall process is similar, but tasking flows
from the White House Military Office (WHMO) directly to PPO.
C.18.104.22.168 All flying operations in 89 AW fall under the 89th Operations Group
(89 OG) or PPO. The 89 OG consists of four flying squadrons. The 1 AS has
nine assigned crews and flies five C137 and two C-135 (Boeing 707)
aircraft to meet long range, high capacity (5,000 nm/60 passengers) requirements.
The 99 AS has six crews flying three C-9 (McDonnell Douglas DC-9) aircraft
to meet medium range, medium capacity (2,100 nm/42 passengers) requirements.
In addition, the squadron has 20 crews flying 10 C-20 (Gulfstream III/IV)
aircraft for low capacity (3,500 nm/12 passengers) missions. Primary missions
for both squadrons include Presidential backup, First Lady and Vice Presidential
travel, and support to other senior government officials. As previously noted,
457 AS flies C-21 (Lear 35) aircraft in the OSA role. This squadron will
be addressed in a subsequent section with other OSA units. The 1 HS has 26
crews flying 21 UH-1 "Huey" helicopters. The unit maintains alert commitments
and provides support of VIP airlift missions in the Washington, D.C. area.
C.22.214.171.124 PPO is organized under 89 AW but is separate from 89 OG. PPO's
mission is to provide safe, responsive Presidential airlift worldwide. PPO
has two crews flying two VC-25A (Boeing 747) aircraft (6,000 nm range). These
are the primary Presidential crews and aircraft. Additionally, each PPO pilot
is qualified in another 89 AW aircraft. The pilots maintain dual
qualification for occasions when the President travels on an aircraft other
than the VC-25. A PPO pilot will always fly in command of the aircraft carrying
C.126.96.36.199 The 89 AW is a selectively-manned organization. As such, 89 AW
chooses aircrew personnel only after a rigorous screening process. When openings
are projected in either 1 AS (C-137) or 99 AS (C-9/C-20), the wing solicits
volunteers throughout the Air Force. The minimum qualifications are 2,000
hours flying time (2,500 hours desired), previous instructor experience,
and demonstrated leadership abilities. After an initial personnel screening,
prospective candidates are invited to 89 AW where they are interviewed by
a board comprised of the operations group commander and deputy, squadron
commanders and operations officers, and the chiefs of standardization and
training. This process has been effective in insuring a highly qualified
and experienced crew force--currently, the average flying hours per pilot
in 1 AS and 99 AS is over 3,750 hours.
C.188.8.131.52 Hiring procedures in 1 HS are similar to those in 1 AS and 99 AS.
All candidates are volunteers, but there is no interview process. The Air
Force Personnel Center screens each volunteer's personnel record and forwards
the information to the squadron commander. After review, the squadron commander
selects the best candidates. Additionally, there are no minimum experience
requirements, though most aircraft commanders are experienced from previous
assignments. Even so, the relatively small number of Air Force helicopter
units requires 1 AS to hire some pilots directly from undergraduate flying
training. The flying experience of 1 HS pilots averages 2,100 hours.
C.184.108.40.206 PPO selects presidential crew members from 89 OG squadrons, initially
as PPO augmentees. All candidates are instructors in their respective aircraft.
PPO screens each candidate's records, choosing the best for interviews. The
presidential pilot makes the final decision. Augmentees remain assigned to
89 OG, and fly with PPO when needed on missions. When a permanently-assigned
position in PPO opens, the presidential pilot selects the replacement from
among PPO augmentees. Personnel assigned full time to PPO serve on assignments
of an indefinite length at the presidential pilot's discretion (i.e. permanent
The 89 AW currently has no problem recruiting highly qualified aircrew personnel,
both officer and enlisted, for any squadron, including PPO. The Air Force
Personnel Center assigns personnel to the wing on four-year tours and keeps
all 89 AW flying organizations fully manned. Additionally, the wing's experience
level remains higher than other Air Force wings because many personnel return
for second and third assignments. However, airline hiring increases, anticipated
to occur in the late 1990s, could impact 89 AW experience levels. The wing's
pilots, experienced and qualified in large commercial derivative aircraft,
are especially attractive to commercial air carriers.
C.220.127.116.11 Aircrew training includes initial qualification, recurring, and
upgrade training. All training is administered at the squadron level and
in PPO. Requirements are tracked administratively by the 89th Operations
Support Squadron (89 OSS) for all aircrew members (including PPO). Training
requirements for 89 AW meet Air Force and AMC standards. For example, frequency
of recurring training is identical to other AMC units.
C.18.104.22.168 Initial flying training is accomplished using 89 AW aircraft; each
squadron has an approved syllabus for initial qualification training. All
syllabus courses start with academic classes covering aircraft systems and
procedures. Concurrent with the academic phase, pilots receive simulator
training that includes Cockpit Resource Management (CRM) training. For 1
AS, initial academic classes for the C137 are taught at Andrews AFB
by instructor flight engineers. These ground school lessons last for two
weeks and concentrate on checklist procedures and aircraft systems knowledge.
After completing the initial academic phase, 89 AW instructor pilots conduct
one week of combined academic and simulator training at the Pan Am simulator
facility in Miami, Florida. At this point, the pilot returns to Andrews AFB
for flying training which consists of six flights in squadron aircraft with
89 AW instructor pilots, followed by a qualification check ride. Inflight
Passenger Service Specialist (IPSS) candidates assigned to 1 AS (C-137) attend
a five-day TWA ground course focusing on aircraft evacuation procedures and
emergency equipment. After successfully completing the TWA course, they return
to Andrews AFB for ten more days of egress and emergency equipment training.
Actual hands-on aircraft sessions reinforce academic knowledge. The final
IPSS evaluation includes written and oral examinations stressing emergency
procedures. The subsequent flight evaluation covers equipment preflight,
equipment knowledge, normal IPSS duties, and hypothetical emergency situations.
Passing this initial evaluation qualifies the crew member as a Second IPSS.
A Second IPSS flies operational missions under the supervision of a First
IPSS. The 99 AS (C9C) IPSS training is similar to 1 AS, but
accomplished in the squadron.
C.22.214.171.124 The 99 AS C-9 and C-20 initial pilot qualification is similar to
the 1 AS program, but Flight Safety International conducts all academic and
simulator instruction. C-9 training is conducted in St. Louis, Missouri while
C-20 training occurs in Savannah, Georgia. The Flight Safety International
program lasts 3 weeks--evenly divided between systems academics and simulator
training. As in all simulator training, students fly mission profiles stressing
CRM, complicated by a wide variety of simulated malfunctions. After completing
the contractor-provided ground school, C-9 pilots report for flight
training/initial aircrew qualification at Scott AFB, Illinois; followed by
qualification in the C-9C at Andrews AFB. After completing simulator training,
C-20 pilots return to Andrews AFB for additional academic training designed
to familiarize them with the unique features of 89 AW's Gulfstream IIIs and
IVs. Training in the aircraft is conducted by 89 AW instructors and consists
of seven flights followed by a qualification check. Flight training profiles
emphasize such mission-specific training as small airfields operations (5,000
ft of runway), limited navigation aid approaches, and short field landings.
C.126.96.36.199 Unless previously UH-1 qualified, 1 HS pilots attend UH-1 qualification
training at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. After 2 weeks of systems academics,
4 weeks of flying training, and a successful flight evaluation, the students
are fully qualified in the aircraft. At Andrews AFB, newly assigned pilots
complete eight more hours of academics covering the Washington, D.C. area
route structure. Flying training consists of three local-area orientation
flights. Pilots are fully mission qualified after successfully completing
11 mission training flights and a comprehensive mission flight evaluation.
C.188.8.131.52 As previously mentioned, PPO crew members are selected from the
already fullymission qualified PPO augmentees. Those selected to augment
PPO attend VC-25 (Boeing-747) contract academic and simulator training at
the United Airlines facility in Denver, Colorado. The three-week training
program leads to an airline captain-level type rating. Detailed systems training
and ten simulator sessions precede a full ground and simulator evaluation.
The training course provides an excellent cross flow of information, including
CRM, between United Airlines captains and Air Force VC-25 crew members. Basic
flight training in the VC-25 consists of four local training sorties followed
by a First Pilot (copilot) evaluation. The next phase is mission qualification.
It consists of flying an overseas operational mission under the supervision
of an instructor.
C.184.108.40.206 Recurring (continuation) training within the wing and PPO uses
the same resources as initial qualification training. Annual academic refresher
courses are taught by 89 AW instructors and include the Instrument Refresher
Course (IRC), CRM training, and classes covering Jeppesen flight publications
and Terminal Instrument Procedures (TERPS). The Instrument Refresher Courses
consist of six hours of intensive instruction tailored to specific aircraft
missions. The VC-25, C137, C-9C, and C-20B/H course is weighed heavily
toward international instrument flying procedures and regulations, while
the UH-1 version focuses on helicopter procedures found within the United
States. In the mandatory 4-hour CRM class, 89 AW instructors address leadership,
crew dynamics, and techniques to safely conduct flight operations in emergency
situations. All 89 AW flying squadrons emphasize CRM. The wing training section
maintains a close interface with commercial aviation experts to constantly
incorporate the latest information possible. Recurring simulator training
is contractor provided and occurs semi-annually for the C137s and annually
for all other aircraft. Because all PPO crew members are dual-qualified,
pilots and flight engineers (VC-25, C-137) receive two recurring simulators
per year--one for each aircraft. The Air Force Aircrew Training Instruction
(MCI 10-202) identifies the number and type of events (i.e. takeoff, precision
and non-precision approaches, landings, etc.). Crew members must complete
semi-annually. Each squadron and PPO determine required training levels for
all assigned crew members, the same process as is used throughout the Air
Force. The quarterly wing Training Review Panel chaired by the operations
group commander assesses crew training trends. The review includes an examination
of currency completion rates and crew member readiness for upgrade. All crew
members complete yearly refresher training covering life support, emergency
equipment, and egress procedures.
C.220.127.116.11 Due to the higher level of experience in 89 AW, the wing is able
to raise the minimum requirements for upgrade to aircraft commander, instructor,
and flight examiner. For example, USAF minimum requirement to upgrade to
aircraft commander in the C-9 is 200 hours in type with 1,700 hours total
flying time. However, 89 AW requirement for C9 upgrade is 100
hours in the aircraft with 2,500 hours total. Until aircraft commander upgrade
is complete, pilots fly all operational missions under the supervision of
an instructor. Further upgrade to instructor pilot requires six months minimum
time as an aircraft commander. Other crew positions in 89 AW also have
more stringent requirements for upgrade than their USAF counterparts. Upgrade
to aircraft commander in the VC-25 requires a minimum 100 hours in the aircraft
and 3,000 hours total flying time. Instructor upgrade candidates require
an additional 100 hours and six months VC25 aircraft commander time
before entering the upgrade program. A second IPSS flies with a First IPSS
or Instructor IPSSs for 15 to 18 months gaining experience before upgrading
to a First IPSS. Due to limited crew size, only a First or Instructor IPSS
is assigned to C-20 missions. First IPSS upgrade requires ground training,
written examinations, and flight evaluations.
C.18.104.22.168 The Air Force requires crew members to demonstrate knowledge of
aircraft systems, procedures, and governing directives through recurring
flight evaluations. The 89 OG standardization/evaluation (stan/eval) program
is consistent with Air Force standards and includes a pyramid evaluation
system. The pyramid system ensures impartial evaluations and promotes safety
and standardization. Under a pyramid evaluation system, each level is examined
by the next above. For example, line fliers assigned to the squadron are
checked by a squadron evaluator; an evaluator at group checks the squadron
evaluators; the group evaluator is checked by the numbered air force (NAF)
evaluator. Within 89 OG, the pyramid system mirrors the AMC approved system.
Above the wing, 21 AF is now recruiting C137, C9, and C20
pilot evaluators to complete the pyramid structure.
Although not in the organizational pyramid, an operations group pilot
evaluator administers VC-25 flight evaluations to an evaluator in PPO who,
in turn, checks other PPO fliers. Recently, AMC directed the Presidential
Pilot to receive annual evaluations from an FAA examiner to better meet the
intent of the pyramid evaluation system. In addition to administering flight
and ground evaluations, the stan/eval section ensures that applicable flight
publications are current, validates local operating procedures, provides
subject matter expertise, and advises wing leadership on the "health" of
the crew force.
C.22.214.171.124 All 89 AW pilots (except C-21 and UH-1), VC-25 and C-137 navigators
and flight engineers, and C-9C and C-20B/H flight mechanics receive their
flight evaluations on a 12month versus the standard Air Force 17-month
check cycle outlined in Air Force Instruction 11-408, Aircrew
Standardization/Evaluation Program Organization and Administration. The
wing senior leadership decided the more stringent 12-month cycle is warranted
due to the criticality of the wing's mission. C-21, UH-1 pilots, and IPSS
crew members are evaluated on the standard Air Force 17-month evaluation
cycle. Flight evaluations in the VC-25, C137, C-9C, and C20B/H
aircraft are deliberately made more demanding than the average Air Force
flight check because of crew members' experience level and the distinguished
visitors carried by the unit. All crew positions receive an extensive oral
evaluation on aircraft systems, performance, and directives. Additionally,
during the inflight evaluation, a less than satisfactory grade in any sub-area
results in failure of the entire evaluation. The inflight evaluation is conducted
at multiple airfields and requires crews to demonstrate safe operations during
various simulated emergencies. The 89 OG meets the Air Force standard for
"no-notice" flight evaluations, which means at least 15 percent of evaluations
occur without prior notice. However, we found no record of no-notice evaluations
administered to any PPO pilots since their assignment to that organization.
C.126.96.36.199 AFI 11-408 directs NAFs to evaluate unit stan/eval programs within
their chain of command. Further, this AFI directs NAFs to conduct periodic
reviews to ensure the goals of the air crew evaluation program are reached.
According to the 89 OG Chief of Stan/Eval, PPO was not involved during the
last 21 AF periodic visit to 89 AW in February 1995. When the 21 AF,
Director of Operations was questioned regarding this situation, he responded
that it was "understood that there would be no contact with PPO
further inquiry, he said "we were given guidance on PPO from 89 AW leadership
and did not question the policy
." Investigating further, the Air Force
team found the PPO navigator and some enlisted crew specialty flight records
had been randomly reviewed during 21 AF's visit, but no pilot records were
reviewed. Further, the Air Force team found no other documentation showing
PPO involvement (e.g. emergency procedures testing, etc.). It is their
understanding that 21 AF intends to include the PPO in future reviews.
C.4.3.6 Tasking & Mission Execution
C.188.8.131.52 As mentioned previously, CVAM often tasks 89 AW directly by specific
tail number for DV missions in the C-137, C-9 and C-20. They select specific
aircraft based on passenger load, distance, destination, required communications
support, and DV preference. CVAM and 89 OG coordinate daily on aircraft
availability. Upon notification of a potential tasking, 89 OG's Mission
Operations section begins a feasibility study. This study examines all mission
details, including routing, airfield suitability, operating hours, performance
limits, enroute refueling requirements, obstacles, and runway length. After
determining feasibility, CVAM loads potential mission details into an 89
AW-developed custom software program (SAMMS). The Current Operations section
runs a "change history" to the SAMMS data base every hour and notifies the
appropriate squadron of a tasking.
C.184.108.40.206 Once the mission "confirms," the crew finalizes routing, obtains
an intelligence briefing for overseas destinations, sends their routing message
and requests diplomatic clearances if needed. Mission planning for all 89
AW operational missions is in accordance with AMC Instruction 11202,
Volume I, 89th Airlift Wing Distinguished Visitor and Special Airlift
Mission (Airlift Operations), and the local 89 AW supplement. As part
of mission planning, crews regularly view airfield information video tapes,
study instrument approach procedures, and review previous crew reports for
planned destinations prior to departing home station. As with many commercial
air carriers, 89 AW crews use Jeppeson Flight Planning Service flight plans
for the mission. Mission execution is virtually identical for 1 AS (C137)
and 99 AS (C-9, C-20) aircrews.
C.220.127.116.11 After the mission departs home station, the aircraft commander
coordinates enroute mission details with the DV party's designated point
of contact and updates 89 AW Command Post with mission progress. DV missions
often require itinerary changes enroute. The aircraft commander relays mission
change requests to 89 AW Current Operations and CVAM. CVAM must approve all
mission changes to avoid aircraft or mission scheduling conflicts. When CVAM
approves the change, Current Operations coordinates with Mission Operations
for any support the crew requests (i.e. new diplomatic clearances, flight
plans, airport information, etc.).
C.18.104.22.168 For Presidential travel, taskings originate in WHMO and by-pass
the wing and operations group, going directly to PPO. PPO performs all mission
planning functions internally, including coordination for diplomatic clearances.
All changes required after a Presidential mission departs are also coordinated
directly between WHMO and the Presidential crew. Mission changes are planned
internally by the crew.
C.4.3.7 Crew Rest
A common problem for 89 AW crews is that short-notice pre-departure and enroute
mission changes often interrupt crew rest. An 89 OG survey designed to improve
operating procedures found 45 percent of assigned crews experienced
crew rest interruptions due to changes requested by the DV party. However,
no crew members reported flying a mission without enough crew rest to ensure
safe aircraft operation. In an effort to mitigate the problem, 89 AW is building
a program to include a mission coordinator on C-137 overseas missions. This
officer will work mission changes for the aircraft commander. While the C-137's
passenger capacity allows for the extra crew member, the limited seating
capacity of the C-9 (approximately 22 seats on overseas missions) and C-20
(12 seats) does not. Another initiative to facilitate crew rest is having
89 AW Mission Operations section coordinate flight plan and clearance changes
for the aircraft commander during crew rest periods or when the aircraft
commander requests assistance. With just under 30 percent of the C20
missions going to overseas locations, this option provides a workable solution
when the wing is unable to put a mission coordinator on board. PPO did not
report similar crew rest problems as those noted by the 89 OG squadrons.
Presidential missions flown by PPO are less susceptible to enroute changes.
Further, the WHMO contacts are very knowledgeable about the crew's schedules
and avoid crew rest interruptions.
C.4.3.8 FAA/Air Force Qualifications and Standards
C.22.214.171.124 FAA standards are considered by many to be the benchmark for
experience, qualification, and safety in flight operations. While the FAA
and the Air Force both strive for the common goal of safe aviation, a general
comparison between the two systems reveals some significant differences.
One obvious difference is the fact it is not unusual for a commercial pilot
to have more total hours than an Air Force pilot performing the same or a
similar mission. For example, the FAA Air Transport Pilot (ATP) rating requires
a minimum of 1,500 hours total flight time. On the other hand, a USAF C-9
pilot needs about half as much time to upgrade to aircraft commander. These
differences are possible because the FAA and the Air Force have distinctly
different systems to produce the "proficient aviator." Generally speaking,
the FAA relies upon flying experience to gauge proficiency for a particular
rating (private pilot, commercial pilot, ATP etc.). The FAA mandates broad
categories of standards, but there is little day-to-day oversight of individual
pilots. A similar situation exists in civilian aircrew training. The FAA
sets standards, certifies that a particular training operation meets the
standards, and checks the results through both written examinations and flight
evaluations. However, the FAA does not have a "hands on" role in the system
which produces the individual pilot, and has little impact on that pilot's
daily activities. In a nutshell, any candidate with the requisite flight
time and required physical may (after successful completion of the appropriate
exam/flight check) be awarded an FAA license. This process has been successful;
in fact it has produced the world's safest commercial aviation system.
C.126.96.36.199 The Air Force faces a different set of challenges. First, it must
recruit most of its pilots "off the street" and then prepare them for worldwide
flight operations--including combat. For these reasons, the Air Force takes
a different approach to producing its "proficient pilot." Compared to the
civilian sector, the Air Force places a great deal more emphasis on the system
that trains/certifies its aviators. Formal training courses are very structured
and standardized, with definite objectives and frequent evaluations.
Qualification standards are high and uniform, minimizing the difference in
proficiency among graduating pilots. Follow-on training is also structured.
Mandated specific maneuvers must be completed within a certain period of
time in order for the pilot to retain qualification. Training and performance
are frequently reviewed at all levels of the operational chain of command,
and supervisors are actively involved in day-to-day decisions such as crew
composition, mission assigned, and rest/relaxation. In fact, the FAA recognizes
the quality of Air Force (and other military) flight training by permitting
pilot training graduates to obtain a commercial pilot license/instrument
rating simply by completing a competency exam. No FAA flight evaluation is
C.188.8.131.52 An example will illustrate the differences between the civilian
and the Air Force systems. An FAAcertified pilot with an ATP rating
flying a DC-9 for a commercial carrier needs to accomplish six takeoffs and
landings every 180 days to maintain currency per Federal Aviation Regulations
(FAR 121.441). This requirement may be accomplished in an FAA-approved simulator.
No other events are mandatory, although most civilian pilots exceed these
minimums to varying degrees. An Air Force C-9 (USAF equivalent of the DC-9)
aircraft commander must accomplish these events over the same 180-day period:
18 takeoffs and landings, 2 practice engine failure takeoffs, 3 practice
single engine go arounds, 2 practice single engine approach/landings, and
20 instrument approaches. Except for approaches, none of these events may
be accomplished in the simulator (MCI 10-202).
C.184.108.40.206 A second example: A civilian crew flying a commercial airliner
from New York to Chicago will be selected based upon seniority and qualification.
Few other considerations go into the crewing decision. A similar Air Force
crew will likely not have the same experience as their commercial counterparts.
However, they will be selected based upon a "hands on" decision by a supervisor
charged with knowing their suitability for this specific mission. In selecting
the crew, the supervisor is also expected to consider issues such as demonstrated
ability, communication skills, and recent experience.
C.220.127.116.11 In summation, the FAA and USAF systems are different because they
accommodate different sets of conditions. The Air Force relies on structured
and rigorous training; careful and comprehensive continuous supervision;
and aggressive standardization/evaluation programs. The FAA meets essentially
the same qualification levels through experience mandates--flying experience
washes out anomalies in training and supervision. Both systems produce a
safe, capable, "proficient" pilot--they merely use different paths to arrive
at the same end.
Safe reliable aircraft are provided by 89 AW maintenance personnel. The on-time
departure rate is outstanding: 99.7 percent in FY95; 99.3 percent in FY96.
In addition, aircraft availability rates meet or exceed AMC standards. Figure
8 is 89 AW aircraft mission capability rates for FY95 and FY96. NOTE: The
mission capable rate is the percentage of time aircraft are available to
perform the assigned mission.
Figure 8: 89 AW Mission Capable Rates
The 89th Logistics Group (LG) Commander has direct oversight over all maintenance
performed on C-137, C-135, C-9, C-20, and 89 AW C-21 aircraft. Within 89
LG, the 89th Aircraft Generation Squadron (89 AGS), 89th Maintenance Squadron
(89 MXS), and the 89th Logistics Support Squadron (89 LSS) directly support
aircraft maintenance. The 89 AGS is responsible for all flightline on-equipment
maintenance for C-137, C-135, C-9, and C-20 aircraft. The 89 MXS is responsible
for off-equipment, back shop maintenance support. The 89 LSS is responsible
for the Logistics Group's maintenance staff functions, policy and management.
Also assigned to 89 AW, but not aligned under 89 LG, are the
maintenance personnel assigned to the Presidential Pilot Office and 1 HS.
PPO maintenance personnel work directly for the presidential pilot and are
responsible for both VC-25 aircraft. Maintenance personnel in 1 HS are
assigned to that squadron commander and are responsible for 21 UH-1N helicopters.
C.18.104.22.168 The 89 LG is currently manned at 103 percent of authorizations.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between 89 AW and the Air Force Personnel
Center to man the Group at 100 percent is the primary reason for the healthy
manpower situation. Additionally, 89 LG is a selectively-manned unit with
supervisors having "veto" power over any candidate for assignment. Personnel
are assigned for a four-year controlled tour with an option for longer. In
fact, many individuals remain at Andrews AFB for an extended period of time,
while others often return for subsequent tours of duty. Supervisors at all
levels indicate the work is challenging and the hours are often long, but
due to the high priority of the passengers, the duty is also very rewarding.
The combined result is an experienced, well trained senior group of maintainers
with exceptional skills. The Presidential Pilot Maintenance Section (PPM)
draws its replacements from the already highly qualified personnel in 89
LG. PPM maintains a list of augmentees who support VC-25 operations during
peak maintenance periods. The augmentee system gives the PPM an opportunity
to evaluate candidates' performance under actual conditions and provides
a pool of qualified augmentees to fill PPM vacancies.
C.22.214.171.124 Equipment and facilities within 89 LG are adequate for the job.
Flightline equipment for 89 LG is maintained by Air Force personnel assigned
to 89 MXS. Flightline equipment for PPM is maintained under a Contractor
Logistics Support (CLS) contract with Boeing Corporation. The 89 LG facilities
are adequate for safe and efficient operations. All facilities are well
maintained with numerous self-help projects evident.
C.4.4.3 Maintenance Policy and Procedures
C.126.96.36.199 Although aircraft operated by the military are exempt from Federal
Aviation Regulation (FAR) maintenance requirements, Air Force policy (AFI
21-107, Maintaining Commercial Derivative Aircraft) is to maintain
its commercial derivative aircraft to FAA-approved civilian airworthiness
standards. The 89 AW complies with this policy. The Air Force uses the respective
FAA-approved Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Maintenance Planning Document
(MPD) as the cornerstone for building each program maintenance plan. The
Air Force then institutes maintenance procedures tailored to meet FAA
certification specifications as closely as possible. For example, the Air
Force uses FAAapproved technical manuals from the OEM to meet commercial
airworthiness standards. In many cases Air Force maintainers use the actual
commercial technical manual. These aircraft also continue to use the original
OEM for depot level engineering services and FAA-approved repair stations
to accomplish overhaul/heavy maintenance requirements. The majority of Air
Force generated modifications on commercial derivative aircraft have been
certified by the FAA as meeting airworthiness standards. Some military-specific
modifications (e.g., E-4 and VC-25 air refueling systems) have been exempted.
When the civilian maintenance manuals change, the OEM and Air Force
engineering/technical staffs work together to ensure the new requirements
are appropriately reflected in Air Force guidance. As commercial MPD updates
are issued and modifications are installed, the Air Force updates its weapon
system maintenance plan in accordance with FAA policy.
C.188.8.131.52 The 89 AW follows AMC standards on maintenance quality assurance
programs. AMC maintenance units use a Total Quality Management (TQM) based
Process Improvement Program (PIP) to verify maintenance quality. This program
focuses attention on the process used to train personnel, manage programs,
and repair aircraft. Assessments of processes, including actual maintenance
inspection and repair actions, are conducted by peer and supervisory personnel.
If problems are discovered, immediate attention is placed on correcting the
process which led to the problem. Both maintenance squadrons have Process
Improvement (PI) functions; 89 LG/PI section provides oversight and direction
for subordinate units. PPO and the 1 HS have their own organic maintenance
and perform PI functions internally without oversight from 89 LG.
C.184.108.40.206 Comprehensive aircraft management programs, normally accomplished
at the major command level, are also done at 89 AW. The 89 LG Phoenix Star
section assigns program managers for each wing aircraft to manage modification,
configuration, and depot programs. The result is a more flexible and responsive
process that better meets user requirements.
C.220.127.116.11. Within the Air Force, aircraft maintenance training follows a
building block process. Shortly before enlistment, each person is administered
an Air Force Qualification Test to assess their aptitude for different career
fields. A high score on mechanical aptitude is required to be selected for
aircraft maintenance. Once training begins, the philosophy is to first train
the individual as a generalist, then follow up with more detailed training
tailored to a specific aircraft and/or system. Initially, aircraft maintenance
personnel undergo rigorous general academic and hands-on maintenance training
at Air Force technical schools. The apprentice mechanic then transitions
into aircraft specific training through Air Force or commercial technical
courses. More system-specific training is provided through on-the-job-training
(OJT) and the Maintenance Qualification Training Program (MQTP). The end
product is a "journeyman" mechanic, qualified to perform maintenance without
direct supervision. This process requires approximately 24 months of training
and experience. However to be qualified to perform and supervise maintenance
on both engines and airframe systems normally requires an additional 24-30
months of training and experience. Maintenance personnel annually attend
recurring training to hone and revalidate their skills. Recertification
of critical skills such as running engines, servicing oxygen and fuel, and
aircraft towing are but a few tasks which must be evaluated annually.
Recertification normally requires passing of a written examination
and a practical evaluation.
C.18.104.22.168 Mechanics working on civil aircraft must undergo a training and
certification process conducted under FAA guidelines. Only a certified mechanic
or supervised repairman may perform maintenance on civil aircraft. The FAA
identifies two basic types of mechanic rating certificates: Airframe and
Powerplant (A&P). The basic eligibility requirements are: the person
must be at least 18 years of age, and able to read, write, speak, and understand
the English language. Prior to taking the appropriate test and receiving
the certificate, the candidate must meet certain experience, knowledge, and
skill requirements. Experience requirements may be satisfied by presenting
proof of graduation/completion from a certified aviation maintenance technician
school or by some other proof of practical experience. At least 18 months
practical experience is required for a single rating (airframe or powerplant);
30 months experience is needed to qualify for both ratings at the same time.
In addition to the minimum experience requirements, the mechanic must pass
a written test covering the aircraft, operating regulations, preventive
maintenance, and alterations. Finally, the mechanic must also demonstrate
hands-on skill by successfully completing a practical test for the rating.
The mechanic is awarded his/her certificate after satisfactorily completing
all experience, knowledge, and skill requirements.
C.22.214.171.124 Though somewhat different than the civilian system, Air Force
maintenance training and procedures produce a maintenance capability comparing
favorably to FAA-approved programs. In fact, the training and experience
Air Force maintenance personnel receive is accepted by the FAA for credit
towards airframe and powerplant certification.
C.126.96.36.199 The 89 LG administers the maintenance training program through
the Logistics Training Flight (LTF) under 89 LSS. The LTF provides oversight
of all logistics training activities and is the functional manager for all
aircraft maintenance training. The LTF is also tasked to manage the wing's
critical task certification. The LTF accomplishes these tasks for 89 LG
organizations but not for PPM and 1 HS. These organizations perform the training
management function internally without oversight from 89 LG.
C.4.5.1 Overview of 89 AW Resources
The 89 AW is currently assigned 27 fixed and 21 rotary wing aircraft, ranging
in age from 38 years to less than 1 year. Many of the wing's aircraft are
no longer in production. Spare parts for older aircraft are becoming difficult
to obtain. The shortage is due to production line shut down, depleted vendor
sources, and limited commercial aircraft in service. The time and effort
to keep the aircraft mission capable is also increasing with age. Engines
used on the older aircraft are less efficient and are becoming increasingly
costly to operate and maintain. Additionally, only the VC25 and the
C-20H meet FAA Stage III noise criteria; a situation that often limits airports
in which 89 AW can operate. Figure 9 outlines the age and average flying
time of 89 AW aircraft.
|Type Aircraft||Role||Avg Aircraft Hours|
|VC-137 (B-707)||Long range, high volume||28,521|
|C-135E (B-707)||Long range, med volume||20,400|
|C-9 (DC-9)||Med range, med volume||11,708|
|C-20B (Gulfstream G3)||Med range, low volume||6,474|
|C-20H (Gulfstream G4)||Long range, low volume||905|
|UH-1N||Short range, low volume||7,772|
Figure 9: 89 AW Aircraft
C.4.5.2 Safety Equipment
89 AW aircraft used to transport DV Codes 1 and 2 have safety equipment similar
to their civilian counterparts. The equipment includes fire/smoke detectors,
strip lighting and escape systems. Figure 10 outlines equipment the FAA requires
aboard commercial air carriers, and shows how USAF DV passenger carrying
|Cabin Smoke Detection Equipment||
|Fire Fighting Equipment|
|First Aid Equipment|
|Interior Evacuation Placards|
|Exterior Evacuation Markings|
|Fire Retarding Interior Materials|
|Overwater Survival Equipment|
|Uninhabited Survival Equipment|
* Applies to all DV equipped C-135s
** The C-21/C-20 do not require escape slides; the escape paths used to exit these aircraft are less than six feet above the ground and egress is easily accomplished without the use of slides.
*** The C-21 cabin is small with no enclosed lavatory so any smoke is easily detectable by the crew. For the same reason, a public announcement system is not needed.Figure 10: Safety Equipment
C.4.5.3 Avionics Upgrades
C.188.8.131.52 The Air Force fleet tasked to transport civilian DV Codes 1 and
2 is undergoing numerous avionics modifications to improve safety, enhance
mission accomplishment, and reduce crew workload. In June 1996, the Air Force
Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations (AF/XO) asked HQ AMC to host
a multi-command/service conference to develop a baseline requirement for
navigation and safety equipment on DoD passenger carrying aircraft. The
conference submitted its report to AF/XO in July 1996. AF/XO approved the
baseline in August 1996 and, in a joint Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and
Operations-Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Acquisition (SAF/AQ) letter
in September 1996, directed the major Air Force commands to plan and program
to meet the baseline equipment list. Once these modifications are complete,
USAF aircraft will have Navigation/Safety equipment comparable to their civilian
C.184.108.40.206 The VC-25, C-137, C-9C, and C-20 aircraft are currently programmed
to receive Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), wind shear
detection, and integrated GPS. The C-32A (Boeing 757-200), with two deliveries
in January 1998 and two in October 1998, will be equipped with all baseline
C.220.127.116.11 Figure 11 outlines the Air Force plan to install navigation/safety
equipment aboard its passenger-carrying aircraft.
* Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition) and Deputy Chief of Staff (DCS) Plans and Operations letter 9 Sep 96: "MAJCOMS are directed to refine their respective portions of this master plan into fully executable programs." Air Force Material Command (AFMC) "shall expedite contract awards and maximize accomplishments prior to the end of FY96."
** Applies to all DV equipped C-135s
GPS: Global Positioning System GPWS: Ground Proximity Warning System
TCAS: Traffic Collision Avoidance System WS: Wind shear Detection Equipment
FDR: Flight Data CVR: Cockpit
Figure 11: Navigation/Safety Equipment
In 1989, Congress directed a review of 89 AW aircraft and a plan for the
procurement of modern aircraft to replace the aging fleet. In 1990, this
master plan recommended the seven C137s be replaced with modern
long range aircraft. In 1991, AMC produced a formal Statement of Operational
Need (SON) to replace the aging C-137 fleet with new long range aircraft.
A subsequent Cost and Operational Effectiveness Assessment (COEA) looked
at 89 AW's special air mission and concluded a Boeing 767-200ER was best
suited based on size, performance, and cost. In 1995, Congress approved
procurement of six aircraft. Aircraft deliveries (the new aircraft was designated
the C-32A) were programmed for 1998. Initial contractor proposals were over
budget, so the Air Force re-looked the requirements and determined a modified
Boeing 757 would meet all requirements at significantly less cost. Four C-32A
(Boeing 757) were funded and will be delivered in January (2 aircraft) and
October (2 aircraft) 1998. The Air Force is looking to purchase two smaller
aircraft (designated C-37) that, when combined with the four C-32s, will
replace the capability lost by the retiring C-137s. Source selection for
the C-37 aircraft has not yet been completed.
C.4.5.5 Aging Aircraft
C.18.104.22.168 A major concern within both the civil and military aviation communities
is the degradation of structural integrity caused by uncontrolled corrosion
and other forms of deterioration (e.g. fatigue) that could cause major aircraft
damage with possible catastrophic results. Aging aircraft, a relatively new
term in aviation, is an evolving process intended to keep structural problems
in check as aircraft service life continues to extend.
C.22.214.171.124 In the commercial aviation community, the aging aircraft program
currently in effect is based on National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
accident findings/recommendations, FAA, private sector, and commercial data.
The FAA has directed manufacturers of commercial aircraft to implement specific
aging aircraft programs as a condition for continued airworthiness certification.
Many of the actions required to meet FAA compliance, which had previously
been issued as optional customer service bulletins or as manufacturer advisories,
are now mandatory. These requirements, along with new service bulletins and
inspections, constitute the aging aircraft program for each respective aircraft.
Within FAA and Air Force System Program Director (SPD) purview, aging aircraft
programs begin when the aircraft is first delivered from production and continue
for its entire life. There is no particular "yardstick" (e.g. years, flying
hours etc.) used to categorize an aircraft as "aging." Aging aircraft programs
are completely integrated into the overall maintenance plan for each particular
C.126.96.36.199 Essentially, the Air Force has two different, though similar, programs
for aging aircraft. The differences are due mainly to the different ways
in which commercial derivative and military-specific aircraft are procured
and supported. Commercial derivative aircraft in the USAF DV fleet (VC-25,
C137 etc.) were procured and are maintained to FAA approved commercial
standards. The basic airframes, structures, avionics, and systems meet original
equipment manufacturers design specifications. Post production modifications,
system upgrades, and FAA Airworthiness Directives (AD) are incorporated to
ensure commercial airworthiness standards are met. The majority of Air
Force-generated modifications are accomplished in accordance with commercial/FAA
standards and have been certified by the FAA. Occasionally, modification
standards are exempted or waived by the Air Force and/or the FAA (example:
E-4 and VC25 air refueling systems). These DV aircraft continue to
use the OEM for required engineering services and FAA-approved repair stations
to accomplish overhaul and heavy maintenance. The commercial derivatives
have aging aircraft programs included in their maintenance plans. USAF commercial
derivative DV aircraft are currently in compliance with applicable FAA aging
C.188.8.131.52 Both the civilian sector and the Air Force have effective programs
to deal with aging aircraft. The commercial programs are overseen by the
respective manufacturers and the FAA. In the Air Force, the individual SPDs
provide implementation authority regardless of whether it's a commercial
derivative or military specific aircraft. The aging aircraft program developed
for the C-137 provides an example.
C.184.108.40.206 The FAA issued a number of Airworthiness Directives (AD) to
owners/operators of Boeing 707 aircraft providing requirements to retain
airworthiness certification. When the Air Force received the ADs, the SPD
instituted an inspection/modernization program to comply with the FAA
requirements. Air Force C-137s had undergone rigorous periodic depot maintenance
since delivery from the manufacturer in the 1960s; however, subsequent
specialized aging aircraft inspections found major corrosion in the fuselage
skin panels and in certain structural members. At SPD direction, depot down
times were extended (average: 312 days vs. 118 days programmed), and repair
costs increased, but all inspections and repairs have been completed to both
Air Force and FAA standards for four of the seven aircraft. One is currently
in depot and two were retired about two years early to avoid excessive repair
costs and schedule impacts.
C.4.6 Presidential Pilot's Office (PPO)
C.4.6.1 Per the AF Organizational Planning Document, the PPO is aligned directly
under the wing commander. Within 89 AW, it is the only squadron-level flying
unit that does not report through the operations group to the wing commander.
For administrative purposes, people in the PPO are assigned to 89 OSS. The
other supervisory functions provided by 89 OSS and operations group (training,
standardization, current operations, etc.) to other wing flying units are
provided to PPO, but are not directive. Similarly, maintenance support to
PPO is provided by the maintenance unit integral to it. Some specialist support
is provided by 89 LG when requested (e.g. sheet metal, secure communications).
However, those supervisory and oversight functions normally accomplished
by the logistics group for C137, C-9, and C-20 operations (e.g. quality
assurance, training) are available but not directive on PPO. Based on the
team's conversations with HQ AMC, the command intends to better define the
relationship between PPO and the 89th Operations and Logistics
Groups and to initiate annual AMC staff assistance visits to the unit.
C.4.6.2 With regard to operational direction, taskings flow directly from
the WHMO to PPO. It would appear that this alignment has evolved to streamline
the tasking process, and enhance flexibility and responsiveness. However,
this direct path excludes the Service and functional leadership and oversight
normally provided above the tactical unit level. In contrast, tasking for
vice presidential travel comes from WHMO to CVAM to 89 AW; tasking for other
DVs follows a similar path. Thus the tasking flow for our most senior DVs,
save one, permits Service and wing leadership visibility and oversight.
C.4.6.3 Although unusual for line units, personnel evaluations for members
of PPO follow operational vice traditional service lines. Annual fitness
evaluations for both officers and enlisted members, other than the Presidential
Pilot, are prepared within PPO and forwarded to the Director, WHMO for final
endorsement. The Presidential Pilot's evaluation is completed by the President.
For officers eligible for promotion, promotion recommendation forms summarizing
their performance and potential for serving in the next higher grade are
prepared by Director, WHMO. Because the number of WHMO promotion eligibles
for any given board is small, the actual promotion recommendation (i.e.,
definitely promote, promote, do not promote) is awarded by the AF Assistant
Vice Chief of Staff. In each case, the 89 AW Commander is by-passed and therefore
does not have the opportunity to comment on the performance of people assigned
to his command.
C.4.6.4 The current wing commander, as well as several who have preceded
him, expressed significant frustration in dealing with the existing PPO
alignment. The commander understands he is legally responsible and accountable
for PPO activities, but believes he lacks commensurate oversight.
C.5 Other Air Force Assets
C.5.1.1 In the previous section of this report, the role of 89 AW and the
practices and procedures used by the wing to safely and reliably transport
DV Codes 1 and 2 travelers were discussed. This section, we will discuss
first the other forces often called upon to provide DV Code 2 travel in the
Continental United States (CONUS) and overseas; and second, the airlift forces
that are used to move support personnel and equipment and the media concomitant
to DV Codes 1 and 2 travel here and abroad. By and large, the practices and
procedures used by the forces addressed in this section are the same as used
by 89 AW. Differences, where they exist, will be highlighted but similarities
will not be repeated.
C.5.1.2 By way of background, this section begins with a review of recent
mishaps involving DV Codes 1 and 2 primary and support aircraft and a discussion
of the safety programs that support these forces.
C.5.1.3 Mishap Summary and Analysis
Following is a summary of mishaps related to the aircraft that fly senior
executive support missions:
Date/Location: 17 April 95, Alexander City, Alabama
Type Aircraft: C-21
Synopsis: Aircraft crashed into flat wooded terrain while attempting an emergency visual approach to Alexander City airport. The aircraft was destroyed and all personnel on board were fatally injured.
Major Contributing Factors
Date/Location: 5 April 96, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Type Aircraft: CT-43
Synopsis: Aircraft impacted high terrain while attempting a non-precision instrument approach in instrument conditions. The aircraft was destroyed and all personnel on board were fatally injured.
Major Contributing Factors
Date/Location: 20 Jun 96, Quantico Marine Corps Aviation Facility, Virginia
Type Aircraft: C-130
Synopsis: Aircraft's wingtip and number one prop struck the runway during landing. There were no injuries, but the aircraft sustained Class B damage (greater than $10,000 but less than $200,000).
Major Contributing Factors:
Date/Location: 18 Aug 96, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Type Aircraft/Mission: C-130
Synopsis: Aircraft impacted high terrain shortly after takeoff during night departure. The aircraft was destroyed and all personnel on board were fatally injured.
Major Contributing Factors: Investigation in progress; the following information came from releasable sections of the Mishap Report:
Besides aircrew error caused by a breakdown in crew coordination, there is
no common thread throughout all four of these mishaps. However, we did note
crew inexperience was a factor in both of the mishaps involving Phoenix Banner
C.5.1.4 Unit Safety Programs
C.220.127.116.11 All units visited had solid safety programs. Unit safety staffs
manage the mishap prevention program and report directly to the appropriate
commander. Safety offices maintain a library of applicable guidance and other
appropriate safety literature and serve as the focus for all safety efforts.
There is an annual program of inspections, evaluations, and assessments to
provide regular oversight and suggestions for improvement.
C.18.104.22.168 All safety programs comply with AF guidelines for manning and training.
As a minimum, all wings hold quarterly safety meetings and individual flying
units meet monthly. Minutes from the meetings are published and made mandatory
reading for those unable to attend. Briefing topics vary, but all units brief
recent AF safety mishaps that are relevant. Seasonal topics and special interest
items such as cold weather procedures, Bird Aircraft Strike Hazards (BASH),
crew rest strategies to combat fatigue, aging aircraft, etc., are also
C.5.2 Other DV Carriers
While the 89 AW provides virtually all DV Codes 1 and the majority of DV
Code 2 travel for U.S. government civilian officials, CINC-support and
operational support airlift (OSA) forces are sometimes used as well. Within
this group, OSA aircraft, particularly the C-21, are used most often. The
OSA fleet has two primary missions; first, the wartime movement of priority
cargo and personnel, and in peacetime, pilot seasoning. In peacetime, C-21s
provide senior executive travel essentially as a by-product of required training.
DV travel is the most visible task these crews perform. The primary OSA aircraft
for DV movement are the C-21 and the C-22. According to CVAM, and data provided
by TACC, the C-21 flew 151 sorties in support of civilian DV Codes 2 in 1996,
the C-22 flew 37.
C.5.2.1 C-21 Organization
The C-21 (Gates LearJet 35) fleet is dispersed throughout the Air Force and
consists of 73 active duty and 4 Air National Guard aircraft stationed at
14 worldwide locations. Major Command ownership and operating locations are
Figure 12: C-21 Operating Locations
AMC is designated as the lead command for the C-21 fleet in accordance with
Air Force Policy Document 10-9. As lead command, AMC has primary responsibility
for the Multi-Command Instruction (MCI 11-221), that governs the operation
of the C-21 fleet. AMC has a dedicated OSA action officer on the headquarters
C.5.2.2 C-21 Experience and Training
C.22.214.171.124 As a seasoning vehicle, the pilots in a C-21 unit fall into one
of three categories: Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) graduates, prior
qualified pilots, and unit leadership. In a typical C-21 squadron, 75 percent
of the line pilots are in their first flying assignment. Twenty-five percent
are pilots previously qualified in another aircraft. Pilot training graduates
have about 300 hours total flying time upon arrival at their unit. The prior
qualified pilots, depending on the number of years flying, have between
1,000-2,000 hours. Unit leadership consists of a commander and a director
of operations, typically lieutenant colonels and majors. In addition to being
more senior in grade, these officers typically have 2,000-3,000 flying hours
and previous instructor and examiner experience.
C.126.96.36.199 C-21 training requirements are governed by Multi-Command Instruction
(MCI) 10-202, Vol 1 and Vol 2, Aircrew Training Program. C-21 initial
academic and simulator training is done by SimuFlite in Dallas, Texas, under
contract to the Air Force. Flight training takes place at Keesler AFB,
Mississippi. These programs were just reviewed by HQ AMC and now include
a revamped crew resource management course.
C.188.8.131.52 Continuation training provides Air Force crew members with the
correct volume and frequency of training to remain qualified and proficient
in the unit's mission. Continuation training consists of ground and flying
training events. C-21 training requirements are accomplished in the aircraft.
The pilots attend annual simulator training concentrating on emergency procedures
and crew resource management. The seasoning mission of the C21 is extremely
cost-effective. During a typical three-year assignment, a C-21 pilot flies
1,500-2,000 hours (45-50/month) and upgrades to instructor or flight examiner.
This compares to 1,200 hours (25-30/month) flown by pilots in other airlift
aircraft over the same period.
C.184.108.40.206 The C-21 standardization/evaluation program is similar to other
stan/eval programs throughout the Air Force. There are flight examiners at
each level of command from the flight to the MAJCOM. Crew members in these
units receive flight evaluations on the normal Air Force 17 month cycle.
C.5.2.3 C-21 DV Code 2 Mission Tasking and Execution
C.220.127.116.11 During the validation and tasking process, CVAM may conclude that
a non-89 AW asset is more efficient and operationally acceptable, e.g., small
DV party (six or less), minimal enroute communication requirements, medium
range destination. If the DV concurs, CVAM may send the requirement to the
newly formed Joint Operational Support Airlift Center (JOSAC) at US
Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), Scott AFB, Illinois. JOSAC validates and
assigns the request to a Service. If the mission is a CONUS mission to be
supported by an Air Force C-21, the validated request is turned over to the
TACC. If the mission is overseas, the mission is sent to the appropriate
overseas Air Operations Center. The TACC or the Air Operations Center in
turn notifies the individual unit.
C.18.104.22.168 The TACC/Air Operations Center handles all communications and retains
command and control responsibilities for OSA DV missions. The unit determines
if they can fly the mission. Unit leadership is responsible for aircrew
selection, mission planning oversight, proper scheduling, and compliance
with crew duty day and crew rest requirements. No written direction requiring
specific aircrew qualification or experience levels for DV missions could
be found. During interviews with wing and squadron leadership as well as
crew members, all agreed that supervisors tried to match crews with missions,
but it was not always possible. Due to crew availability, short-notice alert
launches, and mission diverts, supervisors could not always maximize the
experience level on DV missions.
C.5.2.4 C-21 Maintenance
C.22.214.171.124 Aircraft maintenance for the active duty C-21 fleet is provided
through contractor logistics support (CLS); the ANG C-21s at Andrews AFB
use organic AF maintenance. Overall management for the C-21 is the responsibility
of the Systems Program Director (SPD) at Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center.
The SPD coordinates FAA-mandated airworthiness directives and service actions
with using commands and directs actions to comply with requirements. Annually,
the SPD hosts a Program Management Review (PMR) to provide an overview of
program status to include safety, modifications, program issues, and user
C.126.96.36.199 The current C-21 contractor, Raytheon Corporation, provides supply and aircraft maintenance support at each operating location. The Air Force uses Quality Assurance Representatives (QAR) at each unit to monitor contract compliance and ensure the contractor supports the mission in accordance with the CLS contract statement of work. All QAR personnel receive initial academic training from Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and aircraft familiarization training from the contractor. Two maintenance performance indicators are mission capability rate (the percentage of time an aircraft is available for mission tasking) and departure reliability rate (the percentage of on time departures). For the past 12 months the C-21 fleet has exceeded contract requirements for mission ready aircraft and has produced a departure reliability rate exceeding 99 percent.
Figure 13: Maintenance Indicators
C.5.2.5 Functional Management Review
On 1 July 1996, the Air Force Inspector General released the results of a comprehensive Functional Management Review (FMR) entitled, Quality of Contract Aircraft Maintenance. The FMR identified opportunities for improving C-21 contract maintenance in the following areas: contractor requirements in the C-21 CLS statement of work, contractor response to deficiencies, and QAR training. The Air Force is taking steps to correct deficiencies identified by the FMR.
C.5.2.6 Other DV Airlift Assets
C.188.8.131.52 Other DV Airlift Organizations
There are 14 aircraft dedicated to Commander-in-Chief (CINC) support missions
and 3 Air National Guard C-22s that provide team travel. On occasion, these
aircraft may be used for civilian DV Code 2 transportation. In FY96, these
aircraft supported 46 missions. Location, owning command, number and type
of aircraft, are indicated below.
AFMC--Air Force Material Command USAFE--USAF Europe
AFSOC--Air Force Special Operations Command ACC--Air Combat Command
ANG--Air National Guard PACAF--Pacific Air Forces
AMC--Air Mobility CommandFigure 14: Other Aircraft Used for DV Support
In addition to OSA and other DV aircraft, the Air Force maintains two Commander
Joint Task Force Command and Control Modules (CJTFC2). A modified "travel
trailer," the CJTFC2 provides secure voice and data capability and has been
used to transport SecDef, SecState, and Director, Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA). The CJTFC2 can be loaded on specially modified KC-10s, C-17s, or any
C.184.108.40.206 Experience and Training
C.220.127.116.11.1 Pilots flying CINC support aircraft are specially selected from
highly qualified and experienced instructor crew members. The DV C-135/137
variants hire only previously qualified EC/KC/RC-135 pilots. The C-20 and
CT-43 are manned only with pilots formerly instructor-qualified in large
aircraft who have at least 2,500 hours. The C-9 unit at Cheivres, Belgium
hires only previous C-9 instructors and flight examiners. The C-22 ANG team
travel personnel are hired in accordance with standard Guard hiring regulations
and procedures. The average C-22 pilot has approximately 5,500 hours; many
are civilian airline pilots.
C.18.104.22.168.2 Training requirements for all these aircraft are governed by
MCI 10-202 Vol 1, Aircrew Training Program. Specific training requirements
unique to individual aircraft are in MCI 10-202 Vols 2-9. The C-135/137
variants, C-20, and C-9 training programs mirror the 89 AW's. The CT-43
utilizes contractor and Air Force training. After completing Air Force training,
each unit has a training program to bring new crew members up to mission
ready status. C-22 initial training is completed totally in-unit. C-22 recurrent
simulator training (to include crew resource management) is conducted at
the Pan Am Academy's simulator facility. All of these units use the standard
Air Force 17-month periodic evaluation requirement.
Maintenance support for CINC aircraft, C-20, C-22, C-9, and the CJFTC2 is
provided by standard AF aircraft maintenance organizations according to
established aircraft policies and procedures. Quality assurance oversight,
training management, and maintenance practices are consistent with those
found in 89 AW aircraft maintenance organizations which were discussed earlier.
The particular method of maintenance and supply support for these assets
is selected by the owning MAJCOM in concert with the supporting SPD.
C.5.3 Senior Executive Support
Presidential and vice presidential travel often generates concurrent requirements
to move support personnel, equipment, and the media. These missions are flown
by Air Force airlift aircraft, e.g. C-5, C-17, C-141, and C-130. Individual
missions are tasked as Phoenix Banner (Presidential support), Phoenix Silver
(vice presidential support), and Phoenix Copper (Secret Service and others).
For the purpose of this review, these missions will be referred to as senior
executive support missions. This section focuses on organization, command
and control, experience, training, tasking and maintenance for these
The senior executive support mission aircraft are not sourced from a single,
dedicated wing like 89 AW. Rather, these missions are tasked to the individual
major commands whose aircraft routinely accomplish cargo missions worldwide
in support of numerous users, including the warfighting commanders. AMC manages
the C-5, C-17, and C-141 fleet, and ACC manages CONUS C-130. OCONUS C-130
are managed by their respective theater air component commander.
C.5.3.2 Tasking and Command and Control (C2)
C.22.214.171.124 The White House Military Office (WHMO) Airlift Operations Office
validates requests and forwards requirements to TACC. For AMC assets, TACC
tasks an appropriate airlift wing and issues a Mission Operations Directive
(MOD). For CONUS C-130 taskings, TACC coordinates with ACC to determine which
C-130 wing will fly the mission. TACC then contacts the tasked unit and
coordinates mission details. On rare occasions a C-130 is used OCONUS. In
this instance, TACC contacts the theater Air Operations Center, who in turn
tasks an appropriate unit.
C.126.96.36.199 AMC and ACC provide the lion's share of the assets for senior executive
support. TACC exercises operational control of all missions for strategic
airlift aircraft (C-5, C-17, C-141) worldwide and for theater airlift aircraft
(C-130) in CONUS. C-130 aircraft on these missions overseas are under the
operational control of their respective theater air component commander.
When the President or Vice President travel, CVAM dispatches officers, called
presidential advance agents, to coordinate activities related to a
presidential/vice-presidential visit. Normally, the aircrew will make direct
contact with the advance agent and will notify the agent of mechanical
difficulties, load problems, or scheduling changes. In this way, CVAM as
well as the C2 agency, is kept informed.
C.5.3.3 Experience and Training
C.188.8.131.52 Air Force airlift units have no unique recruiting procedures outside
the normal AF assignment system. Pilots may be assigned directly to airlift
units from pilot training, OSA, or other aircraft. With time, they gain
experience and upgrade to first pilot, aircraft commander, instructor, and
examiner. Examples of normal upgrade phase points are 1,000 hours total,
800 in type for a C-130 aircraft commander, and 1,400 hours total, 600 in
type for a C-5 aircraft commander. For active duty units, the personnel system,
with command oversight, attempts to manage experience levels among units
and aircraft types to ensure an appropriate balance is maintained. We found
that aircraft commander experience levels, measured by flying hours, were
reasonably consistent between units flying like aircraft. For example, the
C130 aircraft commander flying hour average at Pope AFB, North Carolina
is 2,222 hours while at Moody AFB, Georgia it is 2,179 hours. In Air Force
Reserve and Air National Guard units, the experience levels are higher. The
Reserve C-5 aircraft commander flying hour average at Dover AFB, Delaware
is 4,609 flying hours while active duty C-5 aircraft commanders there average
2,691 flying hours.
C.184.108.40.206 Training requirements in the C-141, C-5, and C-17 are governed
by MCI 10-202, Vol 1, Aircrew Training Program. C-130 aircrew
training is governed by MCI 11C130. Although some units have
incorporated training for Phoenix Banner, Silver, and Copper missions into
their local training plans, none of these regulations specifically addresses
C.220.127.116.11 By way of comparison, missions that move nuclear weapons are similar
to these support operations in that, except for the cargo, they are both
benign and basic air-land operations. However, for both, the visibility and
consequences of a mishap are great. Yet for nuclear missions, command directives
(MCR 55-18, Nuclear Airlift Operations) require very specific ground
and flight training and evaluations.
C.18.104.22.168 The Air Force maintenance activities surveyed are organized, trained,
and equipped to ensure safe and reliable aircraft and adhere to the same
basic, standard policies and procedures discussed in previous sections regarding
C.22.214.171.124 In this review, the team looked for guidance maintenance supervisors
could use to select and prepare aircraft for Phoenix Banner, Silver, and
Copper missions. According to logistics managers at the units they contacted,
maintenance personnel select the best aircraft available based on a combination
of appearance and reliability history when tasked for a DV support mission,
but no specific guidance exists. Again, by way of comparison, it was noted
the command directives governing movement of nuclear weapons require aircraft
to meet higher standards. For example, permissible tire wear and other
maintenance tolerances are cut in half. Additionally, senior wing maintenance
personnel must inspect the aircraft and review its records prior to clearing
it for flight.
C.126.96.36.199 The team found that the maintenance organizations supporting senior
executive travel are manned with sufficient trained personnel to support
tasked missions. As previously described, aircraft mechanics undergo a rigorous,
comprehensive training program to ensure they have the necessary skills to
accomplish safe maintenance actions. Commanders and key supervisors indicated
their equipment and facilities are adequate for safe and efficient operations.
Additionally, each command conducts an annual Commander's Facility Assessment
(CFA) to determine facility condition and program action to fix noted
C.188.8.131.52 All maintenance units use a Total Quality Management (TQM) based
program to verify the quality of maintenance activities. These programs include
assessments of maintenance processes, over-the-shoulder reviews of ongoing
maintenance inspection and repair actions, and follow-up inspections of completed
C.5.4 Aging Aircraft
C.5.4.1 As discussed previously, both the civil and military aviation communities
are concerned about degradation in structural integrity caused by uncontrolled
corrosion and other forms of deterioration.
C.5.4.2 The Air Force has two different, though similar programs for aging
aircraft--the commercial derivative aging aircraft program discussed earlier,
and the program for non-commercial derivatives (C17, C5, C141,
C130, C135). Non-commercial derivative aircraft were originally
engineered, designed, and manufactured specifically under government contract,
and are maintained in accordance with DoD and Air Force policy. The engineering
design, manufacture, airworthiness, and acceptance criteria were determined
by the Air Force using military specifications. Aircraft surveillance and
inspection programs are implemented at the onset of each aircraft acquisition.
Technical orders and maintenance plans for these aircraft are also developed
utilizing military standards and specifications. These maintenance plans,
commonly referred to as the aircraft -6 series technical orders (TOs), include
all aspects of organizational and depot level maintenance. These TOs are
maintained and revised on a routine basis. Aging aircraft inspection requirements
are included in the -6 series TOs. Some inspections may be accomplished locally
while others are depot level requirements. Generally, depot level repair
is completed at an Air Force Air Logistics Center.
C.5.4.3 The maintenance inspection and modification programs covering aging
aircraft are managed by the system program director (SPD) for each type/series
aircraft as a function of his/her total aircraft management responsibility.
The SPD transfers functional responsibility for daily management, maintenance,
and revision of the aging aircraft program to his/her engineering and technical
organization. This process is similar to that used by an original equipment
manufacturer. The SPD receives regularly scheduled reviews/updates to ensure
the program is progressing. Potential problems are identified through several
different programs: the aircraft structural integrity program, the corrosion
prevention advisory board, and the analytical condition inspection program.
These programs are required for all DoD organic aircraft. If problems are
discovered, the SPD implements fleet-wide corrective actions prior to the
deficiency becoming a safety issue.
C.5.4.4 One example of how the Air Force is handling aging aircraft is the
C-135 CORAL REACH Program. This is an extensive program under SPD direction
to create a "Grand Strategy" to extend the life of the C-135 fleet until
planned retirement. The SPD is taking proactive steps to review data from
commercial, in-service, field, depot, Air Force contractors, and internal
engineering sources. This data is integrated with technology to develop an
Aircraft Sustainment Master Plan. The CORAL REACH Program closely approximates
civil aviation efforts to combat the effects of aircraft aging.
C.5.4.5 As noted, Air Force aging aircraft programs are managed by the respective
SPDs. The DoD however, has no single clearing house for technology or cross-flow
of information pertinent to the rest of the fleet as does the civil aviation
industry with oversight provided by the FAA. While outside the scope of this
study, we believe a process should be instituted to improve the cross-flow
of information among the DoD SPDs.
C.5.5 Safety Equipment
C.5.5.1 The aircraft transporting and supporting civilian DV Codes 1 and
2 are well equipped for emergency and evacuation situations. Loadmasters,
boom operators, and inflight passenger service specialists receive thorough
training on all aircraft safety equipment and evacuation procedures. They
receive extensive inflight evaluations ensuring qualifications are maintained.
Crew members receive annual refresher training on the use of all safety
C.5.5.2 The Air Force aircraft supporting these missions are equipped with
emergency lighting, escape slides (when required), smoke detection and fire
fighting equipment. Figure 15 shows the status of civilian DV Codes 1 and
2 aircraft safety equipment when compared to FAA requirements.
|Cabin Smoke Detection Equipment|
|Fire Fighting Equipment|
|First Aid Equipment|
|Interior Evacuation Placards|
|Exterior Evacuation Markings|
|Fire Retardant Interior Materials|
|Overwater Survival Equipment|
|Uninhabited Survival Equipment|
* Applies to all DV equipped C-135s
** C-20/21 escape paths used to exit these aircraft are less than six feet above the ground and egress is easily accomplished without the use of slides.
*** The C-21 cabin is small with no enclosed lavatory so any smoke is easily detectable by the crew. Public announcement system is not needed. The C-135 does not have a smoke detection system installed.Figure 15: Safety Equipment
C.5.6.1 Aircrew Management
C.184.108.40.206 The multi-command regulation governing senior executive support
missions (MCR 5589) tasks commanders at all levels to ensure their
units are fully aware of the importance and sensitivity of presidential and
vice presidential support missions. The regulation states "...only highly
qualified crew members should be assigned to these missions." In this review,
the team talked to MAJCOM, wing and squadron leadership, analyzed recent
mishap experience, and gathered data from a number of units. However, the
team was unable to confirm that units are consistently using "highly qualified"
crew members for these missions. They asked seven active duty C-5, C-141,
and C-130 units to provide data on qualifications and experience levels for
aircraft commanders who flew recent Banner missions. With the exception of
C-141, they found that those flying Banner missions had fewer hours than
the average unit aircraft commander (C-5: 2,398 vs. 2,636; C-141: 2,810 vs.
2,701; C-130: 1,871 vs. 2,066). Further, a review of two recent C130
Phoenix Banner mishaps indicates crew member inexperience was a factor in
C.220.127.116.11 In discussions with MAJCOM, wing, and squadron leadership, the
team found a consensus that although senior executive support missions carry
the highest peacetime priority, 1A1, they are usually basic and routine airland
missions. By comparison, aerial refueling, special operations, formation,
and air drop missions require more skill to fly, instruct, and evaluate.
Commanders, faced with availability limitations in their more experienced
crews leaned toward scheduling these experienced crews against tactical missions
and allowing lesser experienced crews to fly the senior executive support
missions. While understandable, this logic fails to adequately consider the
critical nature of senior executive support missions and the negative media
coverage with resulting loss of public confidence when a mishap occurs. (Note:
In this review, the team found one strategic airlift wing that requires each
crew position for senior executive support missions be manned by an instructor
or flight examiner; waivers must be approved by the operations group commander.
Based on this survey, this is the exception and not the rule.)
C.5.6.2 Aircraft Modernization
The Air Force possesses a number of different aircraft that provide
transportation and support to civilian DV Codes 1 and 2. Aircraft range in
age from less than 1 year (C-17/C-130H still in production) to almost 40
years for the C-135. Figure 16 outlines the role, age, and average flying
time of the fleet supporting DV Codes 1 and 2 travel.
|Type Aircraft||Avg Airframe Hours|
|C-5A/B||Senior Executive Support||11,600|
|C-17||Senior Executive Support
|C-130 E/H/J||Senior Executive Support||12,342|
|C-141||Senior Executive Support
|C-135 (DV)||DV Transport||22,800|
Figure 16: Aircraft Role and Flying Time
C.18.104.22.168 Stage 3 Noise Compliance
FAA and international regulations require compliance with Stage 3 in FY00.
Air Force aircraft are not required to be Stage 3 compliant, however they
can be denied access to airports requiring aircraft to meet Stage 3 requirements.
This limitation could hamper the DV's ability to access airports needed to
conduct business. A program is underway to "Stage 3" these three spare
89 AW C9Cs and two C-9As in Europe that support DV travel. The
"hush kits" will bring the C9 into Stage 3 compliance starting in FY98.
Other aircraft that support civilian DV Codes 1 and 2 which are stage 3 compliant
are: the KC-10, C-17, E-4B, C-21, and C-130. The C-141, C-5, C20A,
T43, C-22, and C135 aircraft do not meet stage 3 guidelines and
no programs are underway to make them compliant.
C.22.214.171.124 Avionics Upgrades
As noted in a previous section, the Air Force fleet charged with civilian
DV Codes 1 and 2 support is being upgraded with new aircraft and avionics
modifications to enhance mission accomplishment and reduce crew workload.
Figure 17 gives an overview of the current avionics upgrade status of the
DV Codes 1 and 2 support fleet:
* Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition) and Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations letter 9 Sep 96: "MAJCOMs are directed to refine their respective portions of this master plan into fully executable programs." Air Force Material Command (AFMC) "shall expedite contract awards and maximize accomplishments prior to the end of FY96.
** C-22 scheduled to retire in FY00.
*** C-17 and C-130H still in production.
GPS: Global Positioning System. TCAS: Traffic Collision Avoidance System
FDR: Flight Data Recorder CVR: Cockpit Voice Recorder
GPWS: Ground Proximity Warning System WS: Wind Shear Detection System
ELT: Emergency Locator Transponder
Figure 17: Avionics Upgrades
C.6 Air Force Conclusions and Recommendations
C.6.1 The Secretary of Defense asked this review to "determine the facts
that underlie all aspects of the operation and maintenance of DoD Executive
Support Aircraft and make findings and recommendations that are warranted
by the facts." Further, he asked that the review "... examine relevant practices
and procedures affecting reliability and safety at every level of training,
operation, and maintenance of executive air transportation by DoD." Given
the time allocated, the Air Force team has completed as extensive a review
as was possible and is able to offer some conclusions and recommendations
regarding Air Force forces.
C.6.2 First, the executive support airlift provided by the Air Force meets,
and often exceeds, the reliability, safety, and performance of air carriers
using similar equipment in the civilian sector. Due to variations in mishap
categories and mission requirements, direct safety comparisons with civilian
carriers are difficult but some insights can be gleaned. Analysis reveals
that, in the aggregate, the mishap rates for Air Force passenger aircraft
are comparable to major carriers, better than commuter airlines, and
significantly better than air taxi operations. Such performance reflects
the solid operations and maintenance programs found in the organizations
that the team surveyed.
C.6.3 In this review, the team took a hard look at flying operations and
training across the DV fleet. First, the team dissected the process used
to request and validate DV airlift from the executive, judicial and legislative
branches through OSD, HQ AF, the MAJCOMs and down to the wing level. The
process varies according to the DV and his/her organization but provides
sound review and validation. Within the wings, the team found adequate direction
and oversight in crew qualification, mission planning and execution, and
maintenance, but believe several changes should be made to improve the process
particularly in regard to aircraft selection and preparation, and crew training
for DV support missions; crew selection for certain OSA missions; and oversight
for Presidential missions.
C.6.4 For high-priority DV support missions (i.e., Phoenix Banner, Phoenix
Silver, Phoenix Copper), no Air Force-wide direction exists regarding aircraft
selection and preparation. Although the team found several units in which
local maintenance managers had implemented tighter standards, there was no
consistency across the force. As discussed earlier, there are similarities
between these missions and those that transport nuclear weapons; the command
direction governing aircraft preparation for nuclear movements may provide
an excellent starting point for developing preparation guidelines for DV
Recommendation: The Air Force should develop guidelines for aircraft
selection and preparation for DV support missions. The requirements for nuclear
weapons airlift contained in MCR 55-18 Nuclear Airlift Operations,
may provide an appropriate template.
C.6.5 Similarly, the team found no consistent Air Force-wide guidance requiring
specific aircrew training for Phoenix Banner, Silver, and Copper missions.
Interviews with unit commanders revealed a belief that these missions were
not particularly unique. However, the priority of these missions and the
small margin for error mandates some additional crew sensitivity and training.
Recommendation: The Air Force should develop a specific training and
certification program for all crew members prior to their performing Phoenix
Banner, Silver, and Copper missions.
C.6.6 Regarding crew selection for Phoenix Banner, Silver, and Copper missions,
command guidance directs the use of "highly qualified" aircrews. However,
the team found no clear definition of "highly qualified," nor could they
verify that unit commanders were consistently selecting their more experienced
crews for these missions despite their criticality and high visibility. In
fact, the data they collected and our analysis of several recent mishaps
revealed these missions are often assigned to crew members with average to
below average experience levels.
Recommendation: For Phoenix Banner, Silver, and Copper missions, the
requirement to select "highly qualified" aircrews should be more precisely
defined--crew experience and qualification requirements should be explicitly
stated. Recommend the Air Force require an instructor pilot be in command
and that the navigator, if assigned, have at least 500 hours in the aircraft
since initial mission qualification. The team recognizes there may be periods
of high optempo when assigning an instructor pilot to every Banner, Silver,
and Copper may not be possible; during such periods unit commanders should
assign their most experienced aircraft commanders to these missions.
C.6.7 The team is also concerned with the process used in C-21 units to select
crews for senior DV (i.e., DV Code 2) support. The OSA fleet, particularly
the C-21, has two primary missions: first, the wartime movement of priority
cargo and personnel, and in peacetime, pilot seasoning. In peacetime, C-21s
provide senior executive travel essentially as a by-product of required training.
In the typical OSA unit, about three-quarters of the pilots are assigned
directly from initial pilot training. The remaining one fourth have been
previously qualified in another aircraft and provide leadership, supervision,
and a core of experience. Commanders at all levels expressed great confidence
in unit leadership and the ability of C-21 crews to operate safely and
effectively. However, the mission priority, special needs of high ranking
officials (DV Code 2), and the serious consequences of an incident or mishap
with such a DV on board militates for more careful crew selection. Yet, the
team found no Air Force-wide guidance or consistent process used by unit
commanders to insure more experienced crews were chosen for these missions.
Recommendation: The Air Force should review its policies regarding
passenger movement on C21s with an eye toward establishing minimum
crew experience requirements when carrying senior DVs (i.e., DV-2). Understanding
that mandating high crew qualification levels for DV missions could run counter
to the mission of OSA. Further, the team recognizes that given the existing
C-21 concept of operations, it would not be possible to assign highly experienced
pilots (e.g. instructors) to all missions in order to cover potential mission
diverts and alert launches for a possible DV Code 2. However, given the relative
infrequency of such DV travel on C21s, prescribing more crew experience
on planned missions could be accommodated within the existing manning
constraints. C21 missions with a DV Code 2 on board should be planned
to have an instructor pilot in command. In cases when little or no notice
precludes having an instructor pilot in command, the unit commander should
decide whether to accept or decline the mission based on actual crew experience,
urgency of the mission, etc.
C.6.8 With regard to aircrew training and evaluation, the team found sound
guidance and processes for aircrew recruiting in selectively manned units
coupled with comprehensive training programs at all levels had produced crew
members well qualified to safely and efficiently perform their assigned missions.
Moreover, standardization and evaluation programs were being administered
according to Air Force and command directives and were effective in providing
commanders with an assessment of aircrew competence. The team applauds recent
NAF and local efforts to correct anomalies in the stan/eval programs affecting
the Presidential Pilot's Office.
C.6.9 Maintenance leadership, training, oversight, and practices are providing
safe and reliable aircraft, especially in those units with an AF organic
maintenance organization. As this report was being written, the team reviewed
the results of an Air Force Inspector General Functional Management Review
(FMR) on the quality of contract maintenance, including OSA. This FMR, conducted
between October 1995 and February 1996, is a far more detailed review of
contract aircraft maintenance than our assessment permitted. The team was
pleased to see the Service is on course toward an effective solution to the
problems the FMR discovered. Similarly, the team applauds Air Force efforts
to deal with the issues associated with aging aircraft especially the older
VC137s and C-135s, and to modernize the aging DV fleet through aircraft
replacement and equipment modification programs.
Recommendation: To maintain the momentum, the Air Force should prepare
a DV airlift roadmap to address aircraft modernization requirements for not
only 89th AW but for CINC support and OSA fleets as well. Realistic milestones
and funding should be earmarked in the next available AF POM submission.
C.6.10 As noted earlier in this section, the team found anomalies in the
Presidential Pilot's Office (PPO). The team believes these stem from the
way in which operational taskings flow for Presidential airlift and the
organizational alignment of PPO within the wing. First, operational requirements
are levied by the White House Military Office directly to PPO. This process
may have been intended to enhance flexibility and responsiveness, but with
no mission visibility beyond PPO, normal wing, NAF, MAJCOM and AF oversight
is excluded from this top priority mission. The team also noted a similar
path for personnel evaluations. Fitness reports for PPO members are unusual
in that they not only follow tasking vice service lines from rater to final
endorsement, but they totally by-pass the wing commander, precluding him/her
from commenting on performance.
C.6.11 The team also found PPO's organizational alignment inhibits the wing
from providing traditional "train and equip" service functions. PPO, unlike
the other flying units in 89 AW, is not part of the operations group. Essential
leadership, oversight, and staff services that are "directive" for subordinate
flying units in the traditional AF wing are offered, and usually accepted,
but certain important exceptions exist. Implementation of the command
standardization program provides several examples: PPO was essentially excused
from the most recent 21 AF periodic inspection, and PPO does not fully
participate in the command's no-notice flight evaluation program.
C.6.12 PPO and 89 AW have a flawless record of support to the President,
and the team was mindful of the adage "don't fix what ain't broke." Nonetheless,
the team believes the existing organizational alignment has worked as well
as it has primarily due to the extraordinary expertise and strong leadership
of the people involved. The team believes a more traditional organizational
alignment would institutionalize improved oversight without compromising
flexibility and responsiveness.
Recommendation: PPO should be realigned under the 89th Operations
D.1.1 On 6 September 1996, the Commandant of the Marines Corps called for an internal review of Marine Helicopter Squadron-1 (HMX-1) mission performance and safety following a ground accident with one of its CH-46E helicopters. Subsequently, notification was received from the Office of the Secretary of Defense that the White House had asked for a review of Department of Defense Executive air support. The Secretary of Defense appointed VADM Engen, USN (Ret.), to conduct this top-down review. The Marine Corps assembled a team of subject matter experts for its part of this Department of Defense review.
D.1.2 Following initial discussions with VADM Engen and MGen Hogle, head of the Air Force review team, areas to be reviewed were assigned and a report format was coordinated. It became obvious at the onset that there was significant difference between the Air Force and Marine Corps missions and the organizations that conduct those Service missions.
D.1.3 The Air Force's 89th Airlift Wing (89 AW) and the Presidential Pilot Office (PPO) provide the fixed wing aircraft for White House Military Office (WHMO) air support taskings; 89 AW also has a helicopter squadron for non-White House missions within the Metropolitan Washington area. On the other hand, HMX-1 possesses no fixed wing aircraft and is the only organization responsible for direct helicopter support of the White House. HMX-1 responds directly to the WHMO for Distinguished Visitor (DV) Code 1 and Code 2 helicopter support taskings. HMX-1 does not have secondary tasking authority; if it requires fixed wing or helicopter general support aircraft as it carries out its direct support tasking, it requests that support from WHMO. WHMO procedures are to pass such secondary taskings to appropriate authorities in DoD.
D.1.4 During Presidential support missions, HMX-1 often requires Air Mobility Command (AMC) fixed wing support, the Phoenix Banner missions. For overseas Presidential trips, HMX-1 flies VH-3D or VH-60N helicopters to Andrews AFB, Maryland where C-5 strategic airlifters can transport them to a forward operating base. Up to three aircraft can be lifted in a C-5B. For such long distance missions, HMX-1 would also require airlift for its logistics and personnel. Fixed wing support normally entails flights to and from military air bases or civil airports with major runways and substantial ground support facilities, including instrument flight navigation aids.
D.1.5 Individually, HMX-1 missions are much more complex than fixed wing missions. Multiple aircraft are required for Presidential lift missions and even for the emergency relocation mission, which is only a contingency. As a result, formations of aircraft are either flight ferried to operating bases in the Continental United States (CONUS) or ferried to Andrews AFB for disassembly and transport aboard C-5Bs. At the forward operating base, helicopters transported by C-5B must be reassembled and conduct post-maintenance inspection flights as well as a five hours "penalty" flight to ensure safe materiel condition. At all forward bases, helicopters tasked for actual missions must conduct exact rehearsals one day prior to the Presidential lift. These rehearsals involve multiple helicopters, normally two VH aircraft for the President and key staff as well as CH transport helicopters for additional staff and media representatives. Coordination with several federal and local agencies is detailed, involving special air traffic control procedures and local emergency personnel, such as police, fire and rescue. On the ground, extensive preparations are required for routine maintenance and security of the several helicopters normally tasked. Presidential visits to a geographic area frequently involve multiple helicopter flights to various different locations, often including small heliports or landing zones usable only in visual meteorological conditions.
D.1.6 In the aggregate, HMX-1 executive support operations are complex. The President may pay several visits to a geographic region within days, within intervening Air Force One trips back to Washington, D.C. or other cities. In such cases, the President gets VH support to and from the White House South Lawn and Andrews AFB as well as at each regional location. To support the Presidential schedule, especially intense during an election campaign, HMX-1 detachments are often concurrently moving to several disparate locations as well as operating from the Air Facilities at Anacostia and Quantico for Metropolitan Washington missions.
D.1.7 Finally, helicopters are more complex systems than fixed wing aircraft, with a higher number of dynamic components. Helicopter operations are typically conducted from more austere bases and normally involve formation flights. Flights to landing areas not normally intended for helicopters, such as parking lots and athletic fields, are typical. With the larger number of aircraft, mechanically more complicated than fixed wing aircraft, the larger number of events and agencies involved, and multiple operations often into austere locations, Presidential helicopter support presents more challenges than Air Force One operations.
D.2 Background and Process of Review
D.2.1 The Commandant of the Marine Corps appointed a high level team of subject matter experts headed by a brigadier general to review Marine Corps participation in Executive airlift support. Most team members were sourced from the national capitol region, and (other than the team leader) serve in the grade of colonel or captain, U.S. Navy. Most are rotary wing Naval aviators; two had previous full tours as pilots with HMX-1. Most have commanded squadrons of rotary wing fleet aircraft. The safety expert was provided by the Naval Safety Center, where he serves in a departmental role in safety and standardization efforts. Our aeromedical expert was well-grounded in aerospace medicine, and is a certified and designated flight surgeon, who also serves as the Deputy to the Commandant's Medical Officer. In short, the choices were made because of the individual and collective experience, knowledge, recognized professionalism, and credibility--both within the Marine Corps and to the casual observer. The biography of each team member is attached, and all clearly collectively demonstrate the considerable ability to credibly evaluate the efforts of HMX-1 in an "across the board" and "top-down" manner.
D.2.2 The overall team philosophy was to review not only what procedures were in place "on paper" but also how the squadron actually accomplished its very demanding missions. To best accomplish its task within the guidelines set for review, the team was provided space at the Marine Corps Research Center of the Marine Corps University at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia. This permitted the team to work in close proximity to HMX-1, but yet maintain a sufficient separation to ensure that functional lines were maintained throughout the review. The goal was to ensure the expert members were able to get all necessary documents and information, make site visitations, and hold such discussions as may be required to fully understand the operation of the squadron.
D.2.3 At our initial organizational meetings, the team compiled a complete list of orders, regulations, and data it would require for review to understand the mission, functions, organization, and regulatory guidelines applicable to rotary wing executive lift. During separate, functional area breakouts, the expert members derived and solidified questions in their areas of expertise to be asked those in the squadron. Concurrently with the question development phase, the team maintained a continuing dialogue with the Air Force team to ensure both compiled the same basic types of information, and to permit each group to mutually benefit from the thoughts and ideas of the other.
D.2.4 The team goal was to first review all documents, policies, and information which existed relating to WHMO tasking of HMX-1 for executive rotary wing lift missions, and then, using that context, to determine how those taskings were translated into mission performance, and to determine whether the current level of mission performance was both safe and satisfactory to accomplish the stated mission goals. Our review of safety was concentrated on ensuring HMX-1 remains cognizant of, and faithful to, overall Naval aviation safety and standardization processes--which have served to lessen earlier needs for greater flying hours through assurance that each aviator is capable of, and familiar with, the safe flight and mission performance of his or her aircraft.
D.2.5 The team also delved into the relationship between Marine Corps Headquarters and HMX-1, and that of the Commanding General (CG), Marine Corps Development Command and HMX-1 to fully explore lines of authority and tasking lines from each to HMX-1 beyond the normally tasked WHMO executive lift and emergency relocation missions.
D.2.6 In order to completely understand relative issues from all perspectives, briefings were requested and provided by the WHMO and the respective commanders of 89 AW and HMX-1 to VADM Engen, MGen Hogle, BGen Magnus, and selected members of their respective staffs.
D.2.7 Once documents were procured and thoroughly reviewed, the team began its process of interview--which spanned the entire spectrum of the squadron from commanding officer to counterintelligence specialist. The team members either worked individually, or at times in combination with other team members (when it was more time economical to maximize ability to question while minimizing mission interference and duplicity). Interviews were generally accomplished at or near the work sites of the witnesses, to ensure their comfort in the surroundings, and to permit them access to available files and data should they need it.
D.2.7 Additionally, the actual performance of a Presidential lift, including the preparation and advance planning stages, were observed by the team during the period between 22-25 September 1996 in New Jersey and New York. This observation permitted the team to ensure that it was confident in arriving at conclusions about the philosophy, methodology, and implementation of each by the total spectrum of the command. It additionally provided an often uninterrupted opportunity to ask clarification questions and observe the morale and outlook of squadron personnel.
D.2.8 At the conclusion of the New York lift observation, the operations, maintenance, and legal advisor proceeded on to the Sikorksky Aircraft plant in Connecticut, to observe first hand the VH aircraft maintenance, upgrade, and rebuild process inside the "caged" portions of the Sikorsky plant, where work on a number of both VH-3D and VH-60N aircraft was in progress. The VH Program Manager from Sikorsky, as well as the Naval Air Systems Command VH and Heavy Lift Program Manager were also in attendance at the plant tour and briefings (which took place during about a five hour period).
D.2.9 A separate review of taskings for DV Code 2 lifts by Marine Corps Headquarters to other Marine Corps activities was also conducted. This was easily accomplished, in that there were relatively few such missions tasked, and no incidents marred the completion of them.
D.2.10 Three factors militated against separate visitation and in-depth consideration of Marine Corps operational support aircraft (OSA) during the course of this review: there have been a historically insignificant number of taskings; the Marine Corps OSA safety record has been unblemished; and, finally, commencing on 1 October 1996, OSA support taskings have been consolidated under the auspices of the Commander-in-Chief, United States Transportation Command (CINCTRANS or USTRANSCOM).
D.3 Marine Helicopter Squadron - One (HMX-1)
Analysis of historical safety data is meaningful only if undertaken in the context of reporting methods and procedures in effect during the times in question. Mishap reporting criteria for Naval aviation (which includes both Navy and Marine Corps aviators, aircrew, and airframes) has changed over time, to keep pace with changing aircraft, fiscal environment, and rapid changes in understanding safety concerns and data interpretation. For example, from 1960-80, mishaps were categorized only by aircraft type, the level of damage, and the maintenance manhours required for repair. In 1980, the categories were further refined to include information on whether the mishap occurred in flight or on the ground, and severity classifications based on repair cost were instituted.
D.3.2 Current Mishap Categories and Classes in Naval Aviation
The current categorizations and severity classes in use within the Naval aviation community are as follows:
Flight Mishap (FM): Intent for flight existed and aircraft was $10K or greater damage and/or injury or death may or may not have occurred.
Flight Related Mishap (FRM): Intent for flight existed and the aircraft sustained less than $10K damage but other property damage occurred at or greater than $10K or a defined injury or death occurred.
Aircraft Ground Mishap (AGM): No intent for flight existed and the aircraft was lost/destroyed or sustained $10K damage or greater and/or injury or death may or may not have occurred.
Class A: Total damage exceeds $1M and/or aircraft destroyed and/or fatal injury and/or permanent total disability occurred.
Class B: Total damage exceeds $200K but is less $1M, and/or permanent partial disability and/or hospitalization or five or more personnel occurred.
Class C: Total damage exceeds $10K but is less $200K and/or one lost workday injury occurred.
D.3.3 HMX-1 Safety History
D.3.3.1 As is indicated elsewhere in this report, HMX-1 provided the first Presidential lift aboard a rotary wing aircraft to President Eisenhower in 1957. Until 1976, the executive rotary wing mission was shared with the Army. In that year, HMX-1 was designated the sole source of rotary wing support for the President and those other missions tasked by the WHMO. Since its commissioning in 1948, HMX-1 has flown over 273,500 flight hours. Over its history, no mishap has occurred during a Presidential lift mission. Only three aircraft have been involved in Class A mishaps since HMX-1 assumed the sole provider role for Presidential support. After two aircraft were lost to mechanical failures in the early 1960's, the Squadron went without a Class A mishap for more than the next quarter century.
D.3.3.2 With that historical predicate, our immediate analytical concern focused upon the three Class A mishaps which have occurred since FY91--one each in the VH-3D (FY91), the VH-60N (FY93), and the CH-46E (FY96). Only the first two of these aircraft are authorized to transport the President (although he has recently ridden in CH-46E aircraft at the direction of the WHMO). Only minor injuries occurred in the VH-3D and CH-46E mishaps, and in fact the VH-3D aircraft was repaired and is still in service today within Naval aviation. Both of these mishaps occurred on the ground, rather than in flight. The VH-60N was lost, along with its aircrew, as a result of a maintenance error.
D.3.3.3 Several Class B and C mishaps occurred during the 1970s and 1980s, but the squadron has not had a Class B mishap since 1988, and there has only been one Class C mishap recorded for a VH aircraft since 1980. That mishap was an AGM involving a tail rotor strike by a VH-3D attempting to park in a "non-SOP" manner on the flightline.
D.3.3.4 The following table provides a comparison with the overall Marine Corps and Department of the Navy (DON) FM and the FM/FRM/AGM rate from FY90 through 17 September 1996.
CLASS "A" FM (#/rate) CLASS "A" FM/FRM/AGM (#/rate)
FY HMX-1 USMC DON HMX-1 USMC DON
90 0/0.00 26/6.28 66/3.11 0/0.00 27/6.52 70/3.30 91 1/11.50 20/4.47 60/2.80 1/11.50 20/4.47 61/2.84 92 0/0.00 16/4.02 55/2.97 0/0.00 18/4.52 61/3.29 93 1/9.68 17/4.41 53/3.04 1/9.68 17/4.41 58/3.32 94 0/0.00 8/2.08 28/1.78 0/0.00 9/2.33 29/1.84 95 0/0.00 12/3.03 34/2.21 0/0.00 13/3.28 36/2.84 96 0/0.00 14/3.78 35/2.37 1/9.27 16/4.32 42/2.84
TOTAL 2/2.84 113/4.04 331/2.66 3/4.26 121/4.33 3.57/2.87
This table demonstrates that the HMX-1 total FM rate is substantially less than the Marine Corps' FM rate and slightly less than the total FM/FRM/AGM rate. A single HMX-1 mishap generates approximately a 10.00 mishap rate per 100,000 flight hours in the given year and by individual type/model/series (TMS) aircraft (VH-3/VH-60), that rate is approximately 36.00/39.00 for that year or 4.45/5.53 over the FY90 through FY96 period. The squadron averages approximately 10,000 total flight hours per year with less than one third of that in each of the TMS aircraft; therefore, it would take several years of accident free flying to bring the squadron mishap rate caused by a single mishap down to fleet average.
D.3.4 Class A Mishaps
D.3.4.1 Detailed Analysis of the October, 1990, Mishap
A VH-3D helicopter crashed in the vicinity of Chicago as the result of a plastic snow fence which had been positioned for crowd control being blown free of its supports and wrapping around the tail rotor during landing transition. The tail pylon broke off and the aircraft rolled onto its side. The mishap was caused by the squadron's White House Liaison Officer (WHLO) having failed to insist that the fence be removed after having recognized the possible hazard to aircraft posed by it. Three crew members and one passenger received minor injuries, and two passengers were uninjured. No post-mishap fire occurred, and the aircraft was removed and ultimately refurbished. Because of the nature of the mishap (aircraft rolled onto its left side), the normal cabin egress was precluded, and the metal damage to cabin emergency escape hatches necessitated egress through the pilot's escape window for all.
D.3.4.2 Lessons Learned/Changes resulting from the VH-3D mishap.
Since this mishap, the squadron has intensified the WHLO training program using the video from the mishap to graphically illustrate the possible price for permitting compromises to safety. Additionally, through use of this mishap as a tool, a greater appreciation on the part of the WHMO and the White House staff in the area of WHLO/HMX safety of flight issues has remained clear. On the issue of emergency egress for cabin occupants, Squadron Standing Operating Procedures (SOP)/Orders mandate the crew chief to thoroughly brief all passengers on the emergency exits and procedures, and the WHLO is required to thoroughly brief the crash/fire rescue teams on all available aircraft emergency exits.
D.3.4.3 Detailed Analysis of the May, 1993, Mishap
A VH-60N helicopter crashed while flying a local maintenance evaluation flight near Washington, D.C. While conducting an autorotation to verify the rotor RPM (NR) setting during autorotations (autoturns) and evaluate a previous transient power turbine speed (NP) discrepancy, the aircrew experienced a dual engine flame-out resulting in a full autorotation into a wooded site. Engineering investigation analysis indicated that the load demand spindle (LDS) roll pins were improperly installed. The LDS system is a load anticipator that is designed to reduce transient NP/NR droop during collective flight control demands. The improperly installed LDS roll pins, coupled with a suspected high autoturn setting allowed the engines to reach an overspeed condition that activated the engine overspeed protection system causing both engines to flame-out. The mishap aircraft did not have an "auto restart" capability at the time of the mishap (although it is by no means clear that such a capability could have resulted in sufficient engine torque to have altered the situation measurably). The cause of the mishap was failure to comply with proper installation and quality assurance procedures by squadron maintenance personnel.
D.3.4.4 Lessons Learned/Changes resulting from the VH-60N mishap
The squadron has further delineated proper procedures in applicable maintenance instructions; established two full time factory instructors for VH-60 maintenance training; and mandated that all autorotations will be executed only to airfields with suitable crash/fire rescue resources. Naval Aviation Systems Command issued Interim Rapid Action Changes (IRAC) 9 and 10 and Power Plant Change (PPC) 23 and Airframe Change (AFC) 116 to correct deficiencies identified in existing maintenance instruction publications and provide for an auto re-light capability. (H-60 JAG endorsement pages 1 - 4/H-60 JAG invest pages 38 -51/ /NSCMEMO page 2).
D.3.4.5 Detailed Analysis of the September, 1996, Mishap
A CH-46E helicopter's front rotor blade struck a light pole which was adjacent to the aircraft parking area at the Orlando, Florida, Executive Airport while enroute to a presidential lift site. It was ground taxiing to park for refueling under the direction of an airport taxi director at the time of the mishap. The aircraft turned on its side following the incident, and was destroyed by fire soon thereafter. All aboard regresses safely prior to the fire. This mishap is still under investigation. However, it is probable that a loss of situational awareness caused the aircrew to taxi too close to the light pole. The subsequent rotor blade damage induced extreme vibrations and structural damage that resulted in the aircraft rolling over and burning.
D.3.4.6 Lessons Learned/Changes resulting from the CH-46E mishap
Although investigation is ongoing, immediately following notification of this mishap, the Commanding Officer of HMX-1 issued an additional ground taxi policy requiring all crews operating at civilian fields to have their crew chiefs assist local civilian taxi directors. It must be emphasized that other actions may be implemented following the conclusion of ongoing investigations. (NSC MR pages 1 & 2/Col Dougherty page 3).
D.3.5 Analysis of HMX-1 Safety Climate
D.3.5.1 In reviewing the mishaps, particular attention was paid to the squadron's policies and procedures. A Naval Safety Center Aviation Safety Survey was requested by the squadron and conducted on 17 and 18 September 1996, evaluating both the Whiteside and Greenside. The Survey Team considered the squadron to be well-run and that it performs its mission safely, noting only minor discrepancies. The Operations and Training departments were noted to be in outstanding shape, with a proactive and positive approach to daily squadron commitments. Maintenance was evaluated to be well-run with a high level of morale. The command climate indicates that safety is prevalent in most if not all command policies and directives. The commander's safety policy is published as a separate letter to all hands and is included in the "welcome aboard" package as well as being posted on the pilots "read and initial" board and is woven into other key squadron orders and SOPs.
D.3.5.2 The SOPs have solid procedures for pilot selection, crew designations, mission parameters, rehearsal requirements, and crew rest. Though OPTEMPO is high, it is considered safe and personnel feel the SOPs provide the tools to counter any perceived pressures to accomplish the high visibility missions.
D.3.6 Analysis of Safety Concerns and the Executive Support Mission
D.3.6.1 No DV Code 1 missions were flown within the Marine Corps except under the direction of the WHMO, and by HMX-1 assets and personnel. Civilian DV Code 2 passengers tasked by DoD to be flown by Marine Corps assets were all (as is provided for in the pertinent regulations and procedures) routed through the Headquarters Marine Corps Air Transportation Coordination Office (HQMC ATCO).
D.3.6.2 Civilian DV Code 2 passengers were flown in HMX-1 assets, by Marine Corps operational support aircraft (OSA), or, by exception and as approved by HQMC ATCO, on tactical helicopters from fleet operational assets. These tactical lifts were normally to provide direct observation of specific military field exercises by the passengers transported.
D.3.6.3 For FY96, only thirteen civilian DV Code 2 flights were authorized and tasked to the Marine Corps. Five were flown on OSA; four by HMX-1; and four on tactical aircraft. The Marine OSA TMS aircraft include the C-9 (also in commercial service), and the C-12, C-20, and T-39 aircraft (all of which are rough equivalents to civilian commuter air carriers).
Note: Marine Corps OSA (which incidentally have now been folded into the DoD OSA fleet scheduling under the cognizance of the Commander-in-Chief, United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) as of 1 September 1996 in any event), have been mishap-free during the entire decade of the nineties. When comparing the safety statistics from 1989 through 1995 of the civilian carriers with that of the Marine air transports, civilian large air carriers has a mishap rate of 0.20 vs. 0.00 for the Marine Corps. The comparable commuter air carriers' rate is 0.72 vs. 0.00 for Marine aircraft.
D.3.6.4 A single standardization discrepancy required by a higher directive was noted to be the lack of an external annual Naval Aviation Training and Operating Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) evaluation. Since the squadron maintains the CH-46E, and CH-53D/E, both of fleet configuration, aircrew should be evaluated by the model manager or designated unit evaluator to ensure standardization and compliance with appropriate instructions.
D.3.6.5 Since the VH-3D and VH-60N are not fleet configured, and the NATOPS manuals for fleet aircraft of the VH-3, SH-3, SH-60 differ from the former, HMX-1 is essentially the model manager. Thus no requirement for an external evaluation exists for these aircraft--which are at the core of our evaluative process as it concerns civilian DV Codes 1 and 2 transportation. Since only the designated HMX-1 command pilots can give White House Helicopter Aircraft Commander (HAC) syllabus hops in VH aircraft and only the commanding officer (CO) can give the command pilot certification and check rides, it appears appropriate to waive the requirement for the VH aircraft community.
Recommendation. HMX-1 should immediately request an annual evaluation from the H-46 and H-53 model managers in accordance with current directives, and request a waiver from the Commandant of the Marine Corps for the VH-3D and VH-60N external annual evaluation requirements.
D 3.7 HISTORICAL SAFETY DATA FROM COMNAVSAFCEN FILES
D.3.7.1 The following HMX-1 data retrievals were pulled from the Commander, Naval Aviation Safety Center computer files during September, 1996. The data includes a total of five (5) Class "A" mishaps, five (5) Class "B" mishaps, and ten (10) Class "C" mishaps over the last thirty-six years. A summary follows:
(1) Five Class A (ALPHA) mishaps.
a. 26 Jun 62 - OH-43 - On instrument training flight on practice GCA, aircraft had drive clutch failure, autorotated to an up-slope landing, rolled, and was damaged beyond repair.
b. 16 Apr 63 - OH-43 - On proficiency flight, engine failed, autorotated into trees, aircraft was destroyed.
c. 14 Oct 90 - VH-3 - FM -Mishap occurred on presidential lift rehearsal, when a plastic snow fence (positioned for crowd control was blown free of support posts and wrapped around VH-3d tail rotor during landing transition. Tail pylon broke off and the aircraft rolled onto its side. Three crew members and one passenger received first aid injuries and two passengers were uninjured.
d. 19 May 93 - VH-60 - FM - Mishap occurred during local maintenance evaluation flight while conducting an autorotation to verify the rotor RPM (NR) during autorotations (autoturns) and also to evaluate a previous transient power turbine speed (NP) discrepancy. The mishap aircrew experienced a dual engine flame-out resulting in a full autorotation into a wooded site. Engineering Investigation (EI) analysis indicated that the load demand spindle (LDS) roll pins were not properly installed during maintenance on the mishap aircraft. The LDS system is a load anticipator that provides a mechanical input of collective pitch directly from the flight control mixer to the hydromechanical unit, to reduce transient NP/NR droop. The improperly installed LDS roll pins, coupled with high NR allowed the engines to reach a high NP that activated the engine overspeed protection causing the dual engine flame-out. The mishap aircraft was not fitted with engine autostart devices (although no evidence exists that a re-start would have been possible at the altitude at which the dual flameouts were experienced). The mishap crew of four were all fatalities.
e. 6 Sep 96 - CH-46E - AGM- While ground taxiing to park for refueling during a transit flight between presidential lift missions, the mishap aircraft struck a pole with its rotor blades, turned over on its side, and burned. The mishap occurred at the Orlando Executive Airport, a civilian airport not under DoD cognizance or control. Aircrew and passengers exited the mishap aircraft prior to its being consumed by fire, with only minor injuries not requiring hospitalization or lost manhours.
(2) Five Class B (BRAVO) mishaps:
a. 18 Apr 61 - OH-43 - On training flight, cabin filled with smoke, executed autorotation into rough terrain and trees.
b. 1 Apr 63 - UH-34 - On training flight, engine failed, autorotated to the side of a hill, gear collapsed, the mishap A/C rolled and was damaged beyond repair.
c. 28 Jul 66 - UH-1E - Mishap aircraft landed hard, damaged tail boom.
d. 13 Mar 84 - CH-53 - AGM - mechanic injured arm working on rotor head hydraulic system.
e. 4 Oct 88 - VH-3 - AGM - fuel vapors ignited in aircraft fuel tank injuring maintenance worker.
(3) Class C (CHARLIE) mishaps.
a. 1960-77: Three Class "C" mishaps(i) 1960-CH-19 - Following local hop, blades struck tail rotor driveshaft on shutdown.
b. 1977-1979: Three Class "C" mishaps(i) FRM CH-46
(ii) FRM CH-53
(iii) FM CH-53
c. 1980-96: Six Class "C" mishaps(i) CH-53: four AGM (ground mishaps)
(ii) CH-53: one FM mishap where A/C struck its tail rotor while landing.
- VH-3: one AGM where tailrotor struck steel pole next to a hangar while executing a non-SOP parking procedure.
*None of these aircraft were in Presidential support missions
D.3.8 Operations & Training
D.3.8.1 The following quotes are from the Executive Summary of the Naval Safety Center Aviation Survey, which was conducted during 17-18 September 1996.
D.3.8.2 "The Air Operations and Training Departments of HMX-1 are in outstanding shape." "The programs are in place and working effectively for all involved, there were no weaknesses noted."
D.3.8.3 Although the Safety Survey of the squadron was conducted during the same period as the Review team's evaluation, it was completely independent and reported its results directly to the commanding officer (CO). Of note is the fact that the Operations/Standardization/Safety representatives with the Review team came to the same conclusion as to the effectiveness of the Operations Department.
D 3.9 Operations Tempo (OPSTEMPO)
D.3.9.1 HMX-1 set a new flight hour record for the squadron in FY96, flying over 11,300 hours. This is not an unusual event during a Presidential election year. In three of the last five Presidential election years, the squadron broke its previous fiscal year flight hour record. But what is disturbing, in four out of the last five years immediately following the Presidential election years, the squadron also exceeded its previous flight hour record. If the trend continues, Fiscal Year 1997 will be another record breaking year. HMX-1 Information Brief by Col Geier (19 Sep 96) pp.33
D.3.9.2 Anticipating this increasing operational tempo, the squadron initiated a concerted effort to train pilots last summer. Despite the proactive efforts of the squadron, current pilot training continues to suffer because of the maximum surge requirements to provide Presidential support.
D.3.9.3 Today, the quality of the current training syllabus is not compromised; however, competing demands on personnel and aircraft have made it less efficient and stretched the training out over a longer period of time.
D.3.9.4 VH-60 training has all but stopped. This not only delays the training progression of new pilots but will also create an extremely compressed VH-60 training schedule following the November election. This compressed schedule will drive an already high VH-60 utilization rate (44.6 hrs/mo.) through next summer, when new pilots start arriving .
D.3.10 VH-60N aircraft shortage
D.3.10.1 The issue of a shortage of VH aircraft to support the executive mission is more than adequately addressed in the Maintenance section.
Recommendation: That DC/S for Aviation and NAVAIR validate the requirement for additional VH-60N and procure additional VH aircraft to support the executive flight mission.
D.3.10.2 Personnel shortage
D.126.96.36.199 First Tour Marines: Although HMX-1 has adequate numbers of personnel assigned, one of its manning problems is the high percentage (over 25 percent) of Marines just out of initial training. This influx requires a need for an aircrew training waivers for those higher level tactical training flights not normally flown at HMX-1. Ultimately this hurts the individual Marine upon returning to the operating forces as a senior Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) not fully qualified in an aircraft.
D.188.8.131.52 Unclearables: With more than 700 personnel assigned to HMX-1, only 13 billets have a high probability of not coming into contact/direct support of the White House mission. These are the only positions which do not require an appropriate level security clearance. As such, HMX-1 Marines which pass the initial screening process, but fail to obtain the necessary clearance, pose significant assignment problems.
Recommendations: That M&RA reduce the number of first tour Marines assigned to HMX-1; and implement reassignment policy that will reduce the total number unclearable and non-deployable Marines at HMX-1.
D 3.11 Training
D 3.11.1 Scheduling
D.3.11.2 Flight scheduling is a very involved process in a squadron that has 75 pilots on-hand and flies six different type/model/series (TMS) aircraft. The TMS aircraft currently on-hand are the VH-3D, VH-60N, CH-53E, CH-53D, CH-46E and UH-1N.
D.3.11.3 Each pilot gets qualified in his primary CH/UH aircraft and both VH aircraft.
Operations handles the risk management of scheduling the large number of pilots in six different aircraft by following an extensive set of well written policy directives with thorough oversight and review at all levels in the chain of command.
D.3.11.4 Oversight and review of the daily flight schedule begins with the operations duty officer (ODO), who writes the flight schedule, then executes it the next day. There are two ODO's involved in this process, one is writing and coordinating the flight schedule for the next day while the other is executing the schedule he wrote the day before. They both check each other's work and coordinate the current and next day's schedule.
D.3.11.5 Flight Officer (FltO), a former ODO, reviews the flight schedule for pilot qualifications and currency and ensures that all the taskings or fragmentary orders (frags) for the next day are covered. This review is conducted prior to forwarding to operations officer (OpsO).
D.3.11.6 OpsO, a former FltO, reviews the flight schedule for completeness with a special look at the Frag Board and briefs CO on the schedule. CO personally reviews and signs daily flight schedule. In his absence, XO reviews and signs flight schedule.
D.3.11.2 Aircrew Coordination Training (ACT)
D.184.108.40.206 ACT is the Naval Aviation term for Crew Resource Management. The ACT program at HMX-1 is implemented by three officers who received their ACT instructor designation after attending the Navy's instructor's course at NAS Pensacola, Florida. The squadron has one additional officer who was locally trained. Aircrew training is conducted by four enlisted school trained instructors.
D.220.127.116.11 Formal documented training is conducted at two safety standdowns per year. The training includes lectures and video tapes in combined pilot and aircrew sessions. Pilots and aircrew are evaluated on ACT skills annually during instrument written exams and check flights.
D 3.11.3 Flight Simulators
D.18.104.22.168 The squadron does not have access to any aircraft simulators at Quantico, Virginia. They use the Navy simulators located at NAS Jacksonville, Florida. All pilots receive initial training in standard fleet SH-60 and SH-3 simulators prior to commencing VH syllabus. After that, pilots receive only annual refresher training in both simulators.
D.22.214.171.124 The effectiveness of the simulators is significantly degraded because the cockpit layout and systems of the simulators are different from the VH aircraft. Adequate simulator support at Quantico would significantly assist with initial pilot training during high tempo periods.
Recommendation: Procure VH aircraft simulator support for HMX-1.
D 3.12 Policies & Procedures
D 3.12.1 Policy directives
HMX-1 Operations Department maintains an extensive and well written collection of policy directives and standard operating procedures (SOP). All policy directives and SOP are current, complete and free of conflicting guidance.
D 3.12.2 Crew Rest Policy
D.126.96.36.199 The Crew Rest Policy is clearly stated in CO's Policy Letter. Although the policy states the crew is restricted to a 14 hour crew day with an extension up to 18 hours, schedulers normally use 12 hours. Using a crew day of 18 hours, the pilot can not be scheduled for 15 hours. Crew day limits are well understood and observed by pilots, as well as, schedulers. The ODO uses the previous day's flight schedule and "snivel" log to ensure crew day limits are not violated when writing the flight schedule.
D.188.8.131.52 The built in weather/maintenance day when detachments are on the road allow additional flexibility in complying with crew day requirements. The Crew Rest Policy is sufficient to allow for mission accomplishment.
D.3.12.3 Crew Qualifications
D.184.108.40.206 Crew qualifications are monitored and tracked by two departments in the squadron, Department of Safety and Standardization (DSS) and Operations (Ops). DSS publishes a monthly 30-60-90 day report that goes to Ops and the CO for all up coming instrument and NATOPS checkrides. Ops also has an excellent matrix which monitors pilot and aircrew qualifications.
D.220.127.116.11 Potential end of month expirations are monitored closely by the DSS and FltO to avoid expirations. The ODO also uses these aids to write the daily flight schedule.
D.3.12.4 Crew Currency
D.18.104.22.168 As was mentioned earlier, the task of monitoring 75 squadron pilots, each being qualified or in training to be qualified in three different type TMS aircraft, is quite a formidable task. HMX-1 executes this responsibility well. The Operations Department maintains a detailed matrix by pilot for "last flew" by TMS and night currency (to include NVG currency). The and Operation Duty Officer, Flight Officer, and Operations Officer review the currency of those pilots scheduled to fly prior to submitting the daily flight schedule to the CO for signature.
D.3.12.5 Tasking Procedures
D.22.214.171.124 The White House Military Office (WHMO), through their agency Airlift Operations, calls the squadron's White House Liaison Officer (WHLO), who notifies Operations of White House frags. A hard copy of the tasking, usually a fax to WHLO, follows later. HMX-1 currently has an HMX-1 Liaison Officer working in Airlift Operations. This is paying major dividends because it is improving planning and coordination between the White House and HMX-1.
D.126.96.36.199 Air Transportation Coordination Office (ATCO), located at Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington D.C., and the Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC), located at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, also have direct tasking authority. HMX-1 Ops will notify ATCO of any MCCDC taskings they receive directly. This provides necessary Service level oversight. Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E), which is one the departments at HMX-1, can also task internally via a written frag to squadron operations.
D.188.8.131.52 The WHLO, Operations, and Maintenance officers collaborate on the feasibility of supporting taskings. If the ability of the squadron to support the tasking is questionable, the Operations Officer will then make a recommendation to the CO who will make the final decision.
D.184.108.40.206 Changes for White House frags are relayed from the WHMO to the HMX-1 WHLO. On the road, the Military Aide will relay changes to the trip WHLO who then relays to HMX-1 Ops trip representative. Greenside missions are verified through ATCO a week prior to the event.
D 3.12.6 Experience
The prerequisites for pilots to apply for HMX-1 are:
1) be a volunteer
2) have a current overseas control date
3) have normally a minimum of two years on station
4) meet the prescreening requirements for the security clearance
5) minimum of 1,500 flight hours
As you can see by the following table, HMX-1 is made up of senior pilots. The 1,500 flight hour requirement dictates that only second tour and subsequent pilots be considered. This requirement may be waived on rare occasions where an individual demonstrates superior airmanship and has a recommendation from his Commanding Officer. The 2,000 flight hour requirement White House Helicopter Commander (WHHAC) is not waiverable.
D.3.12.7 HMX-1 Pilot Fight Time Summary*
D.220.127.116.11 The Colonel Geier (5,141 flt hrs), the Commanding Officer of HMX-1, is designated the Presidential Helicopter Pilot. As such, he normally pilots Marine One, the helicopter which physically has the President onboard. His copilot is a designated White House Copilot (avg. 2,612 flt hrs). On occasions where there is both a departure and an arrival requiring helicopters, one of the other five Marine One designated pilots (avg. 3,882 flt hrs) will pilot the other Presidential helicopter.
D.18.104.22.168 All other helicopters in the flight (callsigns Nighthawk 2, 3, etc.), which may carry White House and Secret Service personnel, and Press, are piloted by WH HAC's (avg. 2,871 flt hrs.) and WH Copilots (avg. 2,612 flt hrs). Nighthawk 2 is same VH type helicopter as Marine One, while Nighthawk 3, etc., are CH-53 or CH46 Greenside aircraft.
D.22.214.171.124 Flight experience for the pilots of the Marine One mission are a combined average of 6494 flight hours. When Colonel Geier is piloting Marine One, which normally the case, the Marine One cockpit time jumps to 7,753 flight hours. WH HAC and a WH Copilot, which pilot Nighthawk 2, 3, etc., have a combined average of 5,483 flight hours.
D.13.1.1 HMX has two separate and distinct maintenance departments. The first is most relevant to our review, and is called the Executive Flight Detachment (and at various times within the squadron and in their statements to the Team, the "Whiteside" [a reference to the paint scheme for the tops of Presidential support aircraft or a reference to the fact that all assets and materiel are kept within the confines of a high fence, with no unauthorized access permitted]). The Whiteside simply stated, supports aircraft dedicated to White House Mission. The second, called Marine Corps Aircraft Maintenance (within the squadron commonly known as the "Greenside" [reference to the aircraft paint scheme again] or reference here is to a cargo or "Stake" trucks--these are the "no frills" fleet aircraft which are assigned to HMX-1 and which fly in support, testing, and transport roles other than executive lift.
D.13.1.2 Both Maintenance Departments were reviewed recently at the request of the HMX Commanding Officer by Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic Aircraft Maintenance Management Team (AMMT). "Whiteside" was determined to be sound with no discrepancies. The "Greenside" had a single significant discrepancy, that the technical publications library showed deficiencies (which are currently being remedied).
D.13.1.3 The Squadron has an integrated Fiscal, Aviation Supply and the Intermediate Maintenance Department. This integration was implemented following a recommendation of a 1991 Marine Corps chartered Blue Ribbon Panel, and has proved effective.
D.3.13.2 General Policies and Procedures
D.126.96.36.199 HMX-1 has developed a series of superbly detailed and highly effective Standard Operating Procedures. The nature of its mission as a series of widely dispersed executive aviation support detachments requires standardized support, which is most readily achieved through adherence to such clearly defined SOPs. The Squadron has a specific policy for aircraft in transit, and a recently expanded policy with the Commanding Officer's specific and detailed guidance on taxiing aircraft at civilian airfields. Likewise, there is a specified policy for training designated Quality Assurance Representatives/Collateral Duty Inspectors and other critical maintenance and maintenance safety personnel. A clear policy for development and designation of post-maintenance functional check flight (PMFCF) pilots exists and is used.
D.188.8.131.52 The squadron policies and SOPs are seamlessly integrated across both the Greenside and Whiteside maintenance departments, ensuring that training for personnel in either side is effective and useful when appropriately cleared personnel move into the Cage. Both departments have "Trip Leader SOPs" that coincide with the White House Liaison Officer's Handbook to ensure coordinated support for deployed detachments across the board. Both maintenance departments have overstaffed quality assurance and maintenance control staffs to ensure rapid turnarounds and highest quality maintenance possible.
D.184.108.40.206 Greenside maintenance provides limited intermediate level support to Whiteside for tire and wheel, non-destructive inspection, support equipment, and some avionics components.
D.3.13.3 Mission/Mission Support Aircraft/External Support
D.220.127.116.11 VH Aircraft
D.18.104.22.168.1 The VH-3D model aircraft which forms the backbone for normal Presidential lifts at this time fits the definition of an "aging" aircraft (i.e. an aircraft for which no production line currently exists). However, recurring in-depth evaluations of the condition and maintenance procedures on the VH-3D fleet in current usage has resulted in the establishment of a service life of 14,000 flight hours based on Service Life Assessment/Extension Programs (SLAP/SLEP) carried out on the VH-3D air frames. Using current utilization data, these aircraft will be able to remain in service until approximately 2014.
D.22.214.171.124.2 The VH-60N is still in production at the Sikorsky Aircraft Division of United Technologies. The VH-60N has an original service life expectancy of 7,500 flight hours (the "fleet" standard service life) based on its original design and evaluative process. Both aircraft are constantly monitored for appropriate maintenance schedules, and modifications to established maintenance procedures are instituted each time an indication of necessity or desirability for such change occurs.
D.126.96.36.199.3 Each rotary wing aircraft in current service on the Whiteside in HMX-1 maintained in a bonded condition at the Squadron and when undergoing maintenance at the Sikorsky Corporation. Both models are also constantly monitored for appropriate maintenance schedules. When components are refurbished by Sikorsky or by prime contractors, they are returned to blueprint tolerances, rather than merely to re-work tolerances as are normal aircraft parts (the latter category allows for normal wear in arriving at acceptable tolerances, while the former does not). As an additional measure of safety, all components which have a finite service life limit are replaced on the VH-3D at the expiration of one-half of the normally indicated service life. Since the VH-60N airframe is a newer technology, for which many components have not even been assigned a service life expectancy, detailed study has gone into arriving at service life designations to be applied based on safety/reliability assessments on their design. Once those limits have been established, they are rated out and replaced at approximately 75% of their life expectancy.
D.188.8.131.52.4 Scheduled depot maintenance (return to Sikorsky Corporation) occurs at the expiration of two years or 1000 flight hours (whichever comes first) for the VH-3D, and at 2,400 flight hours for the VH-60N, which has an additional requirement for a "mid-tour refurbishment" at the expiration of either two years or 1,000 flight hours (whichever comes first). These depot maintenance deadlines are considered "hard" with the longest extension granted being 2.5 months for demonstrated operational necessity.
D.184.108.40.206.5 All HMX-1 Whiteside aircraft go through normal phase cycle maintenance. The cycles are set at 125 flight hours for VH-3D aircraft, and 150 flight hours for the VH-60N. Mid-phase inspections and additional regular preventive maintenance are also performed to ensure the required daily reliability over a wide range of operational conditions worldwide. Squadron maintenance policy provides that a maximum of only five (5) open discrepancies are allowed against any particular aircraft--though the goal is to fly with a maximum of one. An example of the detail with which each Whiteside asset is cared for is demonstrated in the requirement that each aircraft be externally wiped down by hand (called "ragging") completely after each flight--regardless of flight time. This assists materially in corrosion prevention.
D.220.127.116.11.6 Squadron aircraft currently operate with a navigation system that keeps the aircraft within one percent updates, and down to within a sixty meter variance where updates are available. Previously scheduled Communications, Navigation, and Survivability Upgrade (CNSU) calls for the installation of an integrated Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Flight Incident/Cockpit Voice Recorders (CSFIR). Complete installation on the current schedule will not, however, meet the OSD mandate of installation within FY98. Meeting this FY98 deadline would impose a total additional cost of $1.1 million, and would also add approximately one month of aircraft non-availability. A schedule for installations to include integrated GPS and CSFIR has been developed, and will be implemented in accordance with normal cycling. A copy of the schedule is attached to this report.
Recommendation: Seek relief for the requirement to install the "drop in" GPS CSFIR items mandated to occur prior to the end of FY98, as installation of an "integrated" system is already scheduled concurrent with SPAR and MTR schedules on the VH aircraft.
D.18.104.22.168.7 Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems (TCAS) has been a requirement since 1987, but has consistently been dropped from installation programming due to insufficient funding. No requirement has been identified for the installation of Ground Proximity Warning Systems (GPWS). Integrated Mechanical Diagnostics (IMD) is an additional unfunded requirement.
D.22.214.171.124.8 No plans to procure additional VH aircraft exist. The MV-22 has been designated in the Marine Corps Aviation Plan as the follow-on to the current generation of rotary wing aircraft within HMX-1, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2002. Even assuming funding lines to support those goals, a continuing requirement for helicopter support is likely, given the occasion where executive lift into small landing zones may be required.
D.126.96.36.199.9 The VH-3D is currently undergoing prototype for CNSU/SLEP, and the VH-60N is undergoing prototype testing for the CNSU/Mid-life Upgrade (MUG) at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Maryland. Current procurement is ongoing for CNSU/SLEP and CNSU/MUG kits for remainder of the VH aircraft.
D.188.8.131.52.10 Current concern at both the HMX-1 command and at Sikorsky (which is the sole source aircraft re-work facility) centers on the length of time that each airframe is out of service to accomplish required maintenance and SLEP/MUG actions. To this end, Sikorsky management is currently sponsoring an internal working group (termed a "kaizen project" by them) to determine methods by which up to eight VH aircraft can be accommodated, in their designated "cage" facilities based on the incorporation schedule. They are also evaluating methods and systems to increase efficiency and unacceptable result rates in aircraft painting.
D.184.108.40.206.11 Aircraft utilization rates for executive support aircraft within HMX-1 are both sustained and extremely high: for the VH-60N the rate is 44.1 hrs per month; for the VH-3D the rate is 39.7. These increased and sustained high utilization rates, coupled with projected out-of-service times to incorporate CNSU/SLEP or CNSU/MUG, will drive increased numbers of aircraft into SPAR concurrently than had been planned. This accounts for the concern at Sikorsky at this time to enhance its ability to accommodate greater numbers.
D.220.127.116.11.12 HMX-1 currently has a total of nineteen aircraft in the "VH" configuration which are authorized to transport the President and for tasking by the WHMO. This number includes eleven VH-3D and eight VH-60N airframes. By virtue of the highly controlled and structured missions of both executive transport and emergency evacuation, aircraft configuration is extremely tightly controlled for VH aircraft, and no "non-standard" installations of parts or equipment is permitted.
D.18.104.22.168.13 Mission creep, operational tempo/commitments, maintenance, and upgrade schedules combine with a diminished number of aircraft available on hand than authorized for HMX-1 all contribute to an increasing difficulty in meeting operational, training, and maintenance requirements. This difficulty is exacerbated due to the 1993 loss of a VH-60N airframe in a mishap, which has not been replaced.
Recommendation: Immediately procure a VH-60N aircraft to replace the aircraft lost as the result of the May, 1993, mishap.
D.22.214.171.124 Greenside Aircraft
D.126.96.36.199.1 HMX-1 has a current PAA of 6 CH-46E's, and 6 CH-53E's. Actual "on-hand" assets include (6) CH-46E aircraft; (4) CH-53E aircraft; (4) CH-53D aircraft; and 1 UH-1N (on loan for operational test and evaluation (OT&E) purposes only. The eventual retirement of the CH-53D assets and the procurement of new CH-53E airframes is ongoing. Following the current operational peak occasioned by the presidential elections, the final CH-53D aircraft will be gone from HMX-1. The recent loss of the CH-46E following the mishap in Orlando has likewise complicated mission performance on the Greenside, owing to the high commitment level during the current Presidential campaign. Efforts to procure a replacement aircraft by HMX-1 are ongoing, although unresolved at this time, since any replacement would necessarily come from current fleet assets--already stretched quite thin by real world operational commitments.
D.188.8.131.52.2 Greenside aircraft are basic fleet configurations, monitored and maintained to fleet standards. The largest single distinguishing factor for Greenside aircraft maintenance as opposed to that in accommodate executive lifts, as well as many maintenance practices to make each airframe more presentable in public environment.
D.184.108.40.206.3 Beyond the cosmetic, there are minimal additional installations of VOR/ILS in the CH-46E, and an Airstair door has been added to the CH-53D. Appropriate approval for each of these modifications were sought and approved by the type commander (TYCOM) and OPNAV.
D.220.127.116.11.4 Preventive maintenance of the aircraft, including the requirement to hangar each aircraft every night--whether at home or deployed--are considered important in ensuring the reliability of the aircraft to perform to mission and training requirements, and to lessen maintenance. Mission Essential Sub-systems Matrices (MESM) is applied to maintenance of Greenside aircraft as well.
D.18.104.22.168 External Support Aircraft
D.22.214.171.124.1 When a requirement arises to augment HMX-1 assets with locally available Marine Corps fleet aircraft, a "plaque holder" is provided, consisting of mission crew and maintenance assistance to ensure aircraft cleanliness is brought to HMX-1 standards. A "VIP Kit" and cleaning supplies are also provided. The WHMO is responsible for coordination, and in both cases where recently required, the coordination was considered to be very effective While actually minor in the pragmatic sense (in that it has no impact on safety of flight or the embarked passengers and crew), a recurring issue when Marine Corps fleet assets are used is "cosmetic" appearance. The most significant issue, however, is the lack of process control and HMX-1 standard of preventive maintenance on such aircraft. Though by no means indicative of unreliability, fleet assets are maintained to different mission needs, which at times diverge from the requirements of the executive support mission. Few problems occur with assimilation of these assets for general support of a Presidential trip-- issues are the exception rather than the rule, save for recent occasions upon which the WHMO has mandated direct support for transportation of the President by CH-46E. Taskings are provided to the cognizant operational commanders, who then ascertain how best to meet the commitment and directly task the appropriate subordinate commander-ensuring knowledge on their parts, and insulating their commanders from taskings outside their normal chain. This system works well in day-to-day operations.
Recommendation: That the President of the United States not fly aboard wing assets which are not "bonded" aircraft in the HMX-1 "VH" aircraft inventory, based upon an inability to ensure the requisite maintenance and security measures have been followed in all instances for Presidential rotary wing flights.
Air Force Presidential "Banner" missions in support HMX-1 and Air Force One missions are considered to be generally good. Loss of "Banner-qualified" crews has reduced familiarity with HMX-1 requirements and waivers. This often causes time delays while those issues are sorted out and resolved. Although noticeable, this issue has not resulted in mission interruption. Based on the established pattern of aircraft availability/reliability when Air Mobility Command C-5 aircraft are required to pre-stage HMX-1 rotary wing assets, HMX-1 has had to add a day to their normal lift schedule on each occasion.
D.126.96.36.199.2 On any occasion where external aircraft support is required to accomplish the mission, the designated detachment commanders effect liaison with the designated supporting units once on site.
D.188.8.131.52 HMX-1 personnel are assigned to the squadron for a normal four year tour. The Whiteside requirement is that at least one half of that period (2 years) be performed working in that environment. Within the Squadron, considerable sentiment exists that the Whiteside Table of Organization (T/O) requires revision and update to reflect transition from VH-1N to VH-60N aircraft, and to accommodate the much more intensive operations tempo brought on by mission growth/creep. While the aggregate numbers of personnel on the Whiteside are not perceived to be inadequate, the alignment of personnel within the various military occupational specialties (MOS) is considered to be the major issue.
D.184.108.40.206 The Greenside has a relatively smaller T/O, which supports the non-executive lift aircraft, and serves as the feeder to the larger Whiteside T/0. The Greenside T/O should be updated to provide sufficient numbers of personnel in the correct MOS mix.
D.220.127.116.11 For example, the current T/O calls for 6614, 6124, 6174 MOS's, which are specific to the H-1 series aircraft, which is not flown (other than a single airframe used for fleet test and evaluation) by HMX-1. This requires each such Marine to first be cross-trained to another aircraft, and then once proficient on that aircraft, lost to the Whiteside to fulfill the second half of the four year tour. This results in Greenside maintenance of its normal aircraft being reduced in efficiency. Indications also exist that insufficient personnel are provided to adequately man the ground support equipment (GSE), Maintenance Control, and Quality Assurance (QA) efforts based on the current HMX-1 T/O.
Recommendation: Conduct review of HMX-1 T/O on both the Whiteside and Greenside, with a view towards elimination of feeder MOSs for aircraft not flown by HMX-1, in order to increase efficiency of utilization of all maintenance personnel, and to ensure effective approach to manpower needs occasioned by an enlarging mission.
D.18.104.22.168 HMX-1 currently receives at least some distribution of aviation MOS personnel who are part of the Department of the Navy's Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). While such personnel are in most cases quite willing and able to provide whatever duty requires, an extreme difficulty occurs in attempting to fully utilize them, as often they are not able to be deployed with various detachments--creating an untoward burden on other squadron personnel who must, in effect, double up on a fair share of deployments. Even when deployment is not in issue, the serious health problems which often underlie EFMP assignment cause numerous absences from work and/or understandable lapses of the required mission focus. The assignment of EFMP personnel may be occurring because HMX-1 is not seen as a "deployable" unit, and personnel are not credited with Accumulated Deployed Time for required detachment deployments. This, along with the fact that aviation peculiar MOS opportunities near the major military medical centers in Washington are quite limited, and such assignments might be currently viewed as productive because they keep the individual Marine "within the MOS" for career purposes. While taken together both of these facts make sense, when the actuality of deployment for nearly half of the average tour is thrown into the equation, the answer changes drastically. Simply stated, fleet squadron assignment rules for EMFP personnel should be applied to HMX-1.
D.22.214.171.124 Under current personnel policy, HMX-1 is assimilating a "fair share" of enlisted personnel who are on their first tour of duty following boot camp and aviation specialized training. These "schoolhouse" troops currently comprise approximately 25% of the enlisted accessions to HMX-1. It takes approximately two years of the current four year HMX-1 tour to thoroughly train these schoolhouse" troops on their particular aircraft and move them towards a CDI stamp. Because of the particularized mission tasking within HMX-1, and the consequent inability to provide these personnel actual fleet experience with deploying units on the total mission spectrum, these personnel never completely learn what will be expected of them when they report to a follow-on assignment if they remain on active duty. They will likely leave HMX-1 as a noncommissioned officer and yet not comprehend standard fleet maintenance processes and procedures. This is especially true when they are incorporated into the VH mission. Even though fleet-type aircraft fly daily on the Greenside their mission requirements are specific and detailed as well, and the mission profiles do not lend themselves to a training mission for enlisted crew without adverse impact on the mission at hand.
Recommendation: Dramatically reduce the use of "schoolhouse" or initial accessions enlisted personnel at HMX-1. A further recommendation is the establishment of minimum requirements for enlisted personnel along the lines they are now exist for pilots.
D.126.96.36.199 It was also learned that approximately 15-20 percent of assigned personnel are unable to obtain the ultimately required "Yankee White" Clearance from the WHMO and the Department of the Navy. Additionally, it was reported that about 20 percent of the people reporting in are either not qualified or haven't been properly screened prior to their assignment and/or arrival at Quantico. A follow-on problem is created when a Marine (officer or enlisted) is unable to obtain the required clearance: that Marine is still carried on the rolls--and counts against the manning of the Squadron--until he or she is transferred from the rolls. This causes an "ineffective" number which degrades mission performance for about six months. There are currently have 54 personnel onboard that are unable to obtain the required clearance--a significant number when compared to the Squadron's T/O and detachment-oriented mission tasking. In any event, the clear import of those who cannot be cleared for "Yankee White" access is that they must all remain on the Greenside. This impacts the normal flow of personnel from Greenside/Whiteside after approximately their first two years with the Squadron, and causes exacerbation in already tight deployable numbers which are occasioned by others, such as those in the EFMP, as mentioned above.
Recommendation: Strengthen existing prescreening requirements, reinforcing the current program of HMX-1 recruiting tours where the integral Counterintelligence asset travels with the team and ensures both initial screening and the submission of SSBI requests for all who pass initial screening.
D.188.8.131.52 The fact that Whiteside VH aircraft are unique within not only the Marine Corps, but also in the world means that once personnel are trained to fly and maintain them as enlisted maintenance personnel and/or aircrew, every effort should be made to create some mechanism for a return on that investment by at least reviewing the possibility of reassignment of previously assigned HMX-1 personnel who have worked the VH program.
Recommendation: Assess the pros and cons of instituting a return pipeline of prior HMX-1 Whiteside trained personnel back to the squadron at later junctures in their careers.
D.184.108.40.206 The maintenance personnel are required to hangar each aircraft daily. Because of the very tight internal hangar space available, aircraft parking and spotting is extremely tight. Towing of Whiteside aircraft inside the hangar space is an extremely tedious operation, requiring the exercise of untoward manpower expenditures to ensure that rotor blade contact is not made with walls or other aircraft. Human error factors are simply impossible to consider--towing inside the hangars is a zero defect operation in all respects although movement of aircraft inside the hangar is a continuous requirement as aircraft always hungered unless flying or outside for specific maintenance, and aircraft are likely to be moved several times during a normal day. Maintenance personnel involved in movement within the hangar must manually lift and pull down on rotor blades and rotate rotor heads when towing the aircraft to permit clearance and avoid damage. Illustrative of this problem is the fact that catwalks were constructed above the overheads in the maintenance shops inside the hangars to permit personnel to walk the rotor blades and facilitate safe aircraft movement.
D.220.127.116.11 Under the normally crowded conditions within HMX-1's hangars, the outbreak of fire could well cause the destruction of up to three VH assets. Additionally, the hangar deck floor is uneven, especially near the doors, creating gyrations and/or movement in the rotor blades which can serve to interfere with safe passage of the aircraft.
Recommendation: Hangar bays should be modified and/or replaced to allow for jack and cycle on any aircraft spot.
D.18.104.22.168 Another issue exists concerning the use of cleaners and solvents. Hangar drains empty directly into the Potomac River owing to the age of the facility and its design during a period when even the most elemental of environmental controls was lacking. While personnel are, of course, cognizant of this shortcoming in design, daily maintenance always carries with it the possibility of inadvertent spills of materials in use during even routine maintenance, which could become both a public relations and environmental nightmare.
D.22.214.171.124 Maintenance spaces are both aged and extremely cramped. Whiteside flight line facility is located in a trailer which houses 74 people. Flight line personnel have resorted to a "hot desk" system due to insufficient space for everyone. Lighting in the maintenance shops is likewise inadequate. Many routine maintenance issues have not been addressed in a timely manner. In Greenside maintenance, computers must be covered during rainstorms to prevent their being wet by leakage.
D.126.96.36.199 At MCAF Quantico, ramp space is not in conformance with Navy standard requirements. Three separate fences have to be negotiated to tow an aircraft to the wash rack, and since only one wash rack drain has a scupper, only a single aircraft can be washed at a time. This is problematic, since aircraft must be frequently washed to meet HMX-1 standards (usually weekly).
D.188.8.131.52 CH-53Es will fit only in one hangar, as will the MV-22. Maximum capacity for that hangar will be four MV-22 aircraft. In stark contrast, Anacostia is a very good facility, which provides all necessary facilities required for maintenance.
That the President of the United States not fly aboard rotary wing assets which are not "bonded" aircraft in the HMX-1 "VH" aircraft inventory, based upon an inability to ensure the requisite maintenance and security measures have been followed in all instances for President rotary wing flights.
Procure an immediate replacement VH-60N to replace the aircraft lost in the May, 1993 mishap.
Seek relief for the requirement to install the "drop in" GPS CSFIR items mandated to occur prior to the end of Fiscal Year 1998, as installation of an "integrated" system is already scheduled concurrent with SPAR and MTR schedules on the VH aircraft.
Procure an immediate replacement CH-46E aircraft to replace the aircraft lost in the September, 1996, Orlando Florida Executive Aircraft mishap.
Conduct a thorough review of the HMX-1 T/O on both Whiteside and Greenside, with a view towards drastically reducing the use of first tour personnel in the Squadron, and towards the elimination of maintenance MOS mix which fails to consider that H-1 series aircraft are no longer in the HMX-1 inventory outside the OT&E context.
Establish minimum experience and qualification levels to be met by enlisted aviation MOS personnel akin to those used for pilot proficiency determinations.
Examine extending tours for enlisted maintenance personnel where feasible and where individual Marine's situation lends itself to such action.
Strengthen and/or reinforce prescreening requirements to ensure that personnel are not even put into the feeder pipelines unless SSBI and/or prescreening is accomplished by qualified counterintelligence personnel.
Assess the feasibility of follow on and/or return tours of experienced Whiteside maintenance personnel to HMX-1.
Provide for immediate improvement of HMX MCAF Quantico facilities specifically, hangar bays, taxi and parking areas, and maintenance shop spaces, including sufficiant hangar parking areas to permit space, and including sufficient hangar parking areas to permit space for aircraft and movement and creation of ability to jack and cycle on any spot in the hangars.
Work space needs to be of sufficent space to allow maintenance in designated work centers, and lighting should be sufficient to support maintenance in work centers. exhaust fans/ducts should meet EPA criteria, and aircraft wash rack requires multiple spots with Enviornmental Protection Agency (EPA) criteria, and aircraft wash rack requires multiple spots with EPA compliant drains.
D.3.14 Command Matters
As has been stated quite often in other parts of this report, HMX-1 is a unique organization within the Marine Corps, and, due to its daily interaction with the WHMO also unique not only within DoD, but also within the entire government.
D.3.15 Lines of Command
D.3.15.1 Uniqueness within the Marine Corps is aptly demonstrated by the fact that HMX-1 has essentially three "chains of command" under which it must operate.
D.3.15.2 The first stems from the Office of the President, acting through WHMO. WHMO tasking is direct, and HMX-1 has no secondary tasking authority--either the missions are flown using HMX-1 assets or the issue is referred back to WHMO for direct tasking to whatever agency or command can supply the necessary lift. WHMO tasking is the primary and overarching basis for HMX-1's resource allocation for mission performance, and takes precedence over all other utilization requests/mandates.
D.3.15.3 The second command line is from the Commandant of the Marine Corps to the Commanding Officer, HMX-1. The designated oversight official within Headquarters, Marine Corps is the Deputy Chief of Staff for Aviation. These oversight responsibilities are normally within the purview of the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Aviation, currently Brigadier General Robert Magnus. The rationale for creating this command nexus is to ensure that HMX-1 interests are provided a voice within Marine Corps headquarters, and to likewise ensure that the Commandant is kept apprised of all matters appropriate for his addressal and has oversight of this Marine Corps operational unit, including authority for non-WHMO taskings. Simply stated, it provides a permanent link between the Commandant and an organization which daily serves in a uniquely visible and important external capacity. HMX-1 also retains this link because it is outside "forces for" lineups available for use by combatant commanders, and thus remains under Service cognizance beyond the WHMO mission. As an adjunct of its additional mission of providing helicopter orientation and training for Marine students at Quantico, the Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Developments Command (MCCDC) is provided mission tasking authority for such efforts on a not to interfere basis with the WHMO mission. There is generally no undue friction with these divergent missions, and close command relationships produce smooth interaction and readily available support for tactical exercises and administrative rotary wing support.
D.3.15.4 The third command line is associated with the Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) function which has been part of the HMX-1 mission since the formation of the squadron in 1948. Since this function is driven by the requirements, needs, and proposed equipment for fleet transport and utility rotary wing assets (including personal survival equipment for aircrew as well as aircraft items), it comes under the direction and authority of the Chief of Naval Operations (Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force) (OPTEVFOR). Recent and/or ongoing projects include a Ground Proximity Warning System (GWPS) for rotary wing fleet aircraft; a "heads up display" (HUD) for the CH-53; night vision goggle HUDs; and a forward looking radar (FLIR) system. Aircrew systems and human factors developments under review include a wireless intercommunications system (WICS) and enhanced passive noise reduction (ENPR) equipment. OT&E initiatives are received not only from fleet units, but may also result from internal HMX-1 aircrew suggestions or information. Actual tasking of aircraft support for OT&E is effectively a responsibility of the Commandant of the Marine Corps' command line.
D.3.16 The Commanding Officer, HMX-1
D.3.16.1 HMX-1 is the largest permanently constituted flying squadron in the Marine Corps. It is the only squadron which calls for a billet grade of colonel as its commanding officer. The process of selection of that commanding officer is complex, and because it demonstrates the seriousness of purpose on the part of the Marine Corps for the mission and personnel assigned to the executive support and emergency evacuation missions, it is germane to our consideration here. First, while all in the grade of colonel are eligible to assume command (the Marine Corps has no staff corps officers, and are thus all lawfully potential commanders), only those officers designated as Naval Aviators (or Naval Flight Officers) may command aviation units. A second qualifier (which excludes Naval Flight Officers and ground officers) is that he (and someday possibly she) must have served a previous successful tour as an aviator in HMX-1.
D.3.16.2 A potential commander must also be within the spectrum of those being considered for command selection by the annual Colonel Command Screening Board convened by the Commandant to select commanders for Marine Corps organizations. That screened and selected colonel (or colonel-select) must also have been screened and recommended for the assignment by the Deputy Chief of Staff for Aviation.
D.3.16.3 Once recommended and command selected by the screening board, the officer concerned is then issued orders to HMX-1, where an intensive training and currency syllabus is undertaken, designed to bring the prospective commander current on all pending issues; provide a strong predicate of knowledge of the aircraft, personnel, and generally orient him. The prospective commanding officer is totally involved in this training and assimilative effort for approximately a year, at the conclusion of which he will take command.
D.3.16.4 The current commander, Colonel Frederick Geier, is slated to be in command for approximately two years. His successor, Colonel Ron Berube, is now aboard, and is undergoing the required training, in preparation of his assumption of command within the year.
D.3.17 Oversight and Inspection
D.3.17.1 Command programs and personnel come under the auspices of the Deputy Inspector General of the Navy for Marine Corps Matters (DNIGMC). The readiness and command inspection programs carried out on HMX-1 have not demonstrated major deficiencies, and previously highlighted points have been adequately addressed within the range of authority accorded the commanding officer.
D.3.17.2 Counterintelligence oversight is available through normal channels, as is assistance with the security functions generally. These programs fall under the auspices of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, who is tasked with application of the standard DoD regulations in these areas.
D.3.17.3 Within HMX-1, the Plans Department works directly with WHMO on a number of programs which are highly classified, and oversight of these programs is under the cognizance of WHMO and its staff. None of these functional areas was either observed or are subject to this review.
D.3.17.4 Naval Aviation Training and Operating Standardization Procedures (NATOPS) apply to HMX-1, including the requirement for continuing proficiency and certification. HMX-1 safety and standardization procedures are generally effective. The single exception is that no annual external NATOPS evaluation by the Model Manager for each aircraft type flown is being done.
This is reasonable as it relates to the VH aircraft (VH-3D and VH-60N) since neither is fleet-configured nor in use anywhere in the DoD other than in HMX-1. The command pilot, White House helicopter aircraft commander (WHHAC), and White House co-pilot designators on VH (Whiteside) aircraft are within the strict purview and prerogative of the Commanding Officer (CO), HMX-1. The CO, HMX-1 is, pragmatically, the Model Manager for the VH-configured aircraft. This fact should be memorialized and a specifically stated exception to general NATOPS requirements put in place.
The CH-53D/E and CH-46E Greenside aircraft are, however, essentially fleet versions (except for minor modifications not relevant to NATOPS qualifications). They reasonably come within the purview of standard NATOPS testing mandates. The annual external NATOPS certification requirement should be implemented expeditiously. The absence of compliance with this technical requirement did not produce any evident degradation in aviation safety and/or standardization within HMX-1 according to the most recent Safety Survey, and the evaluation by Colonel Roger Dougherty from the Naval Safety Center (as part of the team's efforts). Aircrew training in safety and standardization was, to the contrary, a good news story. Remedial action on this single aspect of technical compliance will serve to put the icing on the cake of an otherwise superb program in HMX-1.
D.3.18 Span of Control
D.3.18.1 The CO, HMX-1 is faced with considerable challenges in the exercise of his office. The demonstrated success of the squadron in performing its missions is a product of the mutually supporting efforts of the almost seven hundred and fifty members of the squadron. This large number of personnel under the span of control of a single individual--who is also personally designated as the President's Helicopter Pilot--serves as a testament to the dedication and abilities of the CO, but simultaneously highlights the stark contrast to the span of control evident in the case of the President's Air Force One Pilot, whose sole responsibility is for the small numbers of personnel directly serving aboard Air Force One and its backups. HMX-1's commander must not only personally act to fly the President, but also to ensure that the emergency evacuation mission (at both the Anacostia facility and "on the road" with the President) is always ready to execute, and that sufficient assets are "forward deployed" to all locations at which the President will need them for WHMO-tasked lifts when Air Force One touches down.
D.3.18.2 Such staging requires a significant number of aircraft and personnel be detailed in traveling detachments of several aircraft each, often without significant local military facilities and/or support. Overall cognizance and responsibility for these aircraft, personnel, and, above all, the mission of executive rotary wing transportation that they are tasked with creates an almost constant high degree of "churn" for the CO.
D.3.18.3 Added to this concern on the aviation side relating to WHMO taskings and the constant emergency relocation mission, is the additional burden of aircraft (and now airfield at MCAF Quantico) security for HMX-1 and its assets. This effort entails supervision of nearly two hundred military police and counterintelligence assets on a worldwide basis.
D.3.18.4 The daily need for local support missions for the Commanding General (CG), MCCDC, for the Commandant of the Marine Corps through the CMC Air Transportation Coordination Office (ATCO), the ongoing V-22 departmental efforts, and the OT&E mission contribute to the crowded schedule of the CO. Additionally, he is also one of the tenant commanders aboard Marine Corps Base (MCB), Quantico, and thus may be involved in meetings and functions as required by both CG, MCCDC, and the CG, MCB Quantico (since CG, MCCDC has plenary authority over the MCB and its operations).
D.3.18.5 The normal matters of supply, budget, and fiscal planning inherent in any command are also present, but exacerbated here by the fact that the constant deployment of squadron personnel creates administrative and budget issues not normally seen in a Marine Corps squadron, including the large personnel load occasioned by a squadron staffed to nearly 100 percent of its Table of Organization (T/O) strength. This staffing level is both positive (all billets filled for operations, maintenance, and security), and negative (more people bring more issues to be acted upon). The single common denominator and common factor is the CO--who remains responsible for all.
D.3.19 Overall Assessment
D.3.19.1 HMX-1 is clearly both an unusual and a unique command. I am taken with not only the fervor and enthusiasm with which taskings are undertaken, but also with the proven professionalism of those who perform them. This command is clearly committed to professional accomplishment of whatever is tasked to it to the best of the considerable collective abilities of its members. Pride of ownership is evident. Participatory leadership has produced personnel at all levels who are ready, willing, and able to contribute to the overall goals of the command, and whose contributions are recognized by those in positions of leadership.
D.3.19.2 Although I have noted the impact of frequent and repeated deployments of the squadron and its assets, this brings with it an opportunity for those who deploy to teach, learn, and put into practice the wide spectrum of their collective experiences. Junior enlisted personnel are able to closely observe the "master journeymen" of their specialties in action, as they are on hand at every juncture. They are able to ask questions, accomplish tasks, and be exposed to a learned critique of their efforts--all the while ensuring the mission is accomplished. With training and appropriate security clearances, most enlisted maintenance personnel move from Greenside to Whiteside missions. From my perspective, it is this kind of experience that positively reinforces the academic learning which precedes initial assignment, and actively enhances skills achieved in earlier aviation assignments as well. In short, I perceive HMX-1 to be a well-led command, with high morale, a thorough appreciation of the importance and criticality of its mission, and a spirit of camaraderie sparked by the depth of experience and pride in profession as both aviation specialists and Marines. I make this statement at the risk of sounding like a cheerleader rather than a serious, critical reviewer, but I do so only after what I am confident has been a calculated, in-depth, critical, and wide-ranging review, undertaken by a team of dedicated professionals who approached their tasking with no preconceived result other than to objectively determine whether the rotary wing support provided for taskings by the WHMO is being accomplished with diligence in ensuring safety of flight and timeliness and accuracy in the mission.
D.3.19.3 One factor, however, needs highlighting. The rotary wing detachments that support Presidential missions are significantly larger, more complex, and longer in duration than the Air Force One missions. Rotary wing aircraft themselves are more complex, and, in both military and civil applications, are maintenance intensive. Finally, rotary wing operations in support of Presidential missions entail a mix of ferry flights or transport inside larger cargo aircraft, site maintenance (especially after transport inside larger cargo aircraft), and rehearsals--all in addition to the actual Presidential support mission as tasked by the WHMO, or an emergency relocation alert. As a result, the possibility of some type of complication arising is higher for rotary wing support of a single Presidential trip than it is in Air Force One's mission. The quality of HMX-1 leadership, pilots, support personnel, and equipment is the highest. Even so, a greater number of people, aircraft, moving parts, coordinating agencies, and supporting events creates opportunity for complications.
D.3.19.4 The quality of command is best demonstrated, I believe, by the demeanor displayed by all personnel--from Commander to the lowest ranking enlisted member--during our review. Every person we contacted was immediate, positive, and helpful in his or her support for our efforts. Colonel Geier went out of his way to ensure that anything necessary to our efforts was taken care of with dispatch, and without fail. The attention to detail in this respect was both genuine and noteworthy. Although no one in HMX-1 could anticipate what our review might portend, that was never the point of departure. They just told us what we wanted to know, showed us what we needed to see, and depended on their way of doing business to pull them through. It worked.
D.3. 21 Human Resources
D.3.21.1 Marine Helicopter Squadron (HMX-1) is the largest permanently formed aircraft squadron in the Marine Corps with 96 officers and 625 enlisted to support and operate a Primary Aircraft Allowance totaling 31 aircraft of four different types. The major divisions within the unit are standard Marine Corps squadron "S" sections (Admin, Operations, Logistics, Adjutant, and Safety & Standardization), Medical, Whit House Liason Office, Executive Alert Facility, Plans, Security, Communications, Fiscal, Aviation Supply, Operational Test & Evaluation, Executive Flight Detachment maintenance department ("Whiteside"), and Marine Corps maintenance section.
D.3.21.2 This span of functions is unusual for a squadron and, in the Marine Corps, a similar capability can be found only at the aircraft group level. However, even a Marine aircraft group does not provide such unique functions as the HMX-1 Security, White House Liason and Alert Facility sections which have no counterpart elsewhere in Marine aviation. Unlike the Marine where the group commander has a number of subordinate squadron commanders, the commanding officer of HMX-1 is solely responsible for all assigned divisions in addition the his primary duty as the Presidential Helicopter.
D.3.21.3 The missions assigned to this squadron are a mix of standard Marine aviation missions, such as helicopter support for the Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC), and unique missions, such as helicopter transportation in support of the White House Military Office and operational test and evaluation of helicopters and related systems in support of the Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force (COMOPTEVFOR). Support for these and other assigned missions has forced the growth of HMX-1 to current size and complexity.
D.3.21.4 Squadron manpower requirements cross most Marine Corps military occupational specialty (MOS) lines in both aviation and support functions. To properly staff such a diverse and unique organization, Headquarters, Marine Corps, and HMX-1 have established a number of formal policies and informational procedures. These measures have been routinely effective as evidenced by the current high level of manning in the unit.
D.3.21.5 Squadron manpower policies and procedures are keyed to the most demanding and important missions of Executive Helicopter Transport and Contingency Support. The most qualified personnel available, officer and enlisted, are assigned to billets that directly support these two primary tasks. No matter where assigned, all Marines associated with these missions must obtain both a Top Secret clearance through a Defense Investigative Service Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI) and Yankee White Access through approval by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. These clearance requirements may take up to a year to complete, have high standards for approval, and influence personnel assignment at HMX-1 more than any other fact.
D.3.22 Table of Organization
The current T/O contains an adequate number of billets and includes many improvements over previous versions due to input from external review agencies and squadron change requests. In a few are the document does not reflect the full range of tasks required to properly support squadron missions.
D.3.23 Aircraft Maintenance
D.3.23.1 The T/O of the aircraft maintenance departments contain a high percentage (56 percent) of E-4 and below which results in the assignment of many inexperienced, first-tour Marines. First tour personnel hamper both maintenance departments' efforts in manning billets requiring years of experience such as Collateral Duty Inspectors, Quality Assurance Representatives and Maintenance Controllers. This problem is particularly acute on the Whiteside since this department maintains aircraft that do not exist anywhere else in the Marine Corps. Even experienced personnel cannot be assigned to the Whiteside inspector or supervisory billets until they have completed extensive training in the VH type aircraft. Rarely will a first tour Marine gain enough skill and experience to serve in these billets.
D.3.23.2 Support for deployed detachments drives personnel requirements beyond T/O in both maintenance departments in order to meet the minimum supervisory needs of detachments in areas such as Maintenance Control and Quality Assurance. These areas are "overstaffed" at the expense of work center manning to meeting mission and safety requirements.
D.3.23.3 In effect, a "permanent detachment" exists at the Alert Facility at Anocastia, Naval District Washington, which is supported by HMX-1 Marines commuting from their base to MCAF Quantico. This facility is a restricted access compound manned solely by HMX-1. Support for the contingency mission at this facility requires the full-time presence of not only aircraft, aircrew and maintenance personnel, but also personnel to manage the facility itself. The Executive Maintenance Department provides manning for all Alert Facility enlisted billets (minus Security) on a rotating basis from the available population of aviation MOSs. Maintenance personnel are required to train in bulk fuel truck licensing due to lack of such specialties in the current T/O. Unlike fleet squadrons, HMX-1 has no supporting Marine Wing Support Squadron from which to draw such support.
The Flight Line Clinic provides dedicated aviation medical support to HMX-1 and is particularly important during deployments to foreign countries where medical support may not be readily available. Although the current structure is adequate for the mission, the T/O lists the Aviation Medical Technician (8406) specialty for assigned corpsmen. To properly support overseas deployments, the Independent Duty Corpsman specialty is more appropriate and would provide a more robust medical capability to detachments.
D.3.25 Contractor Support
Both maintenance departments cite instances where contractor support may supplant or augment current T/O requirements. Tasks such as secretarial support, maintenance of aircraft logs and records, aircraft painting, tools control, and maintenance of support equipment peculiar to HMX-1 present opportunities for dedicated civilian support in areas that would benefit from billet continuity without degrading military technical skills.
D.3.26 External Support
D.3.26.1 HMX-1 relies on the staffs at Headquarters Marine Corps, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, the Operational Test and Evaluation Force, and the White House Military Office (WHMO) to provide coordination, tasking and other higher level staff functions in support of the squadron's assigned missions. Although this degree of staff interaction and oversight is complicated and somewhat unusual for most operational units, these relationships have supported squadron mission performance.
D.3.26.2 Only once change has been proposed by the squadron to enhance interaction with upper echelon staffs. On an "experimental" basis beginning in 1995, HMX-1 placed an experienced squadron White House Liason Officer in the Military Airlift section of WHMO. This officer has greatly increased the understanding of helicopter support requirements at WHMO and simplified squadron support of Executive missions. The squadron commander recommended that this billet be made a permanent part of WHMO and be reflected as a Joint billet in that structure. The officer currently assigned counts against the squadron T/O and is required in his former billet.
D.3.27 Personnel Screening
D.3.28.1 The first step in assignment of personnel to HMX-1 is a screening process conducted in the field to both select the best available personnel and screen out individuals who cannot qualify for the required security clearances. This begins when an individual requests consideration for a tour with the squadron either through a visit team from HMX-1 or through an application via the chain of command. Screening requirements and procedures are well defined in Marine Corps Order 1326.7C which stipulates that an interview be conducted by Counter Intelligence Specialists. During CY95 alone, HMX-1 Security counter-intelligence teams conducted five recruiting /screening trips and screened 294 personnel.
D.3.28.2 The screening process is largely effective as evidenced by the relatively low number of unclearable personnel currently on hand (54 or just over 7 percent of the squadron's T/O), but this success depends heavily on the individual applicant's efforts and those of his parent unit. If the applicant submits inaccurate information or omits important facts, clearance delays and unnecessary transfers can occur. Parent fleet units, which are often short of experienced Marines, are not eager to lose highly qualified personnel to HMX-1 This is sometimes reflected in the administrative delays encountered in processing applications or, in some cases, unfavorable endorsements by the Marine's chain command.
D.3.28.3 On rare occasions, personnel transfer into HMX-1 without having completed formal field screening by qualified interviewers, or, in a few instances, without pre-screening of any kind. Security estimates that this is the case for less than 10 percent of personnel received annually.
D.3.29 Personnel Reliability
D.3.29.1 Oversight of clearance eligibility is the responsibility of the squadron Security section which currently monitoring the status of 785 individuals. Key indicators such as legal, financial, domestic, mental instability, or other problems are reported to Security via co-workers, supervisors, Legal Officer, Substance Abuse Control Officer, medical, and other means. Incidents are documented in individual case files. For incidents reported on cleared personnel, Security will recommend to the squadron commander either continuation or revocation of clearances.
D.3.29.2 Security is reviewing the feasibility of detailed psychological screening to augment the success of initial screening and avoid loss of personnel due to clearance revocation. A test program will be conducted this year on military police school graduates who have been nominated for an assignment at HMX-1.
D.3.30 Clearance Process
D.3.31.1 After initial field screening of personnel, a clearance package is developed and submitted to the Defense Investigative Service which conducts the SSBI required for Top Secret clearance. The completed SSBI is submitted to the Department of the Navy Central Adjudication Facility which grants the TS clearance. The approved package is then returned to HMX-1 Security for review and recommendations for Yankee White access. After a positive recommendation, the package is forwarded to the Secretary of the Navy White House Liaison Office, where a final review is conducted, and then to the Office of the Secretary of Defense for final Yankee White access approval. This entire process takes from six months to a year and, once begun, delays are rare.
D.3.31.1 To provide the necessary "cleared" manpower base, every Marine assigned to HMX-1 must be prepared to eventually occupy a billet associated with Executive missions and, in reality, most billets in the squadron have some degree of association with those missions. Individuals who fail to qualify for a Top Secret or Yankee White clearance while assigned to HMX-1, or those whose clearances are revoked, cannot be assigned to most billets in the unit and, as a result, effectively decrease the personnel base on which the squadron depends. Of the 785 cases currently monitored by Security, a total of 54 personnel (or 7.25% of T/O) are ineligible for clearances. Of this total, 26 are ineligible for Yankee White and 24 are ineligible for Top Secret.
D.3.31.2 In a recent effort to reduce the number of clearances required by the squadron and provide more flexibility in personnel assignments, HMX-1 reviewed its T/O and could identify only thirteen billets in the entire organization which do not require clearances.
D.3.32.1 The impact of clearance requirements is most evident in the aircraft maintenance MOSs. Since the Whiteside maintenance department cannot employ any uncleared individuals, all maintenance personnel in this category are held in the Greenside maintenance department, and only after clearances are approved will transfer to the Whiteside occur. Although maintenance personnel comprise a large percentage of the squadron population, the number of Marines in any one maintenance MOS is relatively small. Even a few "unclearables" in a particular MOS will create a chokepoint on the Greenside and dramatically decrease the squadron's ability to assign cleared personnel to the Whiteside maintenance department.
D.3.32.2 By excluding officers (96 total) and Security personnel (148 total), where pre-screening is highly effective, and Whiteside personnel (193 total), who are already cleared, it is readily apparent that the bulk of clearance-ineligible personnel will appear in Greenside maintenance where most of the squadron's remaining enlisted personnel are assigned. Although the 54 unclearable personnel currently on hand is relatively low for the entire squadron, in the Greenside maintenance department, which rates only 191 personnel by T/O, this figure would represent over 28 percent of the allowable population.
D.3.32.3 Added to this problem is the current construction of the two maintenance department T/Os. The Whiteside rates 193 organizational level maintenance personnel which are drawn from a Greenside organizational level personnel base of only 123. When unclearable personnel are considered, the Whiteside is required to replace losses from a Greenside base effectively half its size.
Due to recent changes, a conflict currently exists in directives governing the investigative requirements for Top Secret clearance and Yankee White access. HMX-1 Security noted that the Defense Investigative Service stipulates that the SSBI for Top Secret clearance must span the past seven years while the Office of the Secretary of Defense Executive Secretariat requires that the background investigation for Yankee White access span the past ten years. The SSBI is the basis for both clearances and, under current guidance, will not support Yankee White requirements. HMX-1 covers the three year gap through squadron screening procedures.
D.3.34 Assignment Process
D.3.35.1 Staffing of HMX-1 is the responsibility of Manpower and Reserve Affairs at Headquarters, Marine Corps, which has established a number of policies and procedures to accomplish this task. Current policies include designation of the unit as an Excepted Command to allow personnel staffing to approach nearly 100% of the squadron's Table of Organization and routine approval of four year tours with the unit. Informal procedures include direct liaison, and an unusually close working relationship, between squadron manpower representatives and Headquarters assignment monitors and, more recently, tour extensions for assigned personnel to accommodate the operational tempo associated with the Presidential election. Current efforts have been routinely effective as evidenced by the current high level of manning in the unit.
D.3.35.2 Headquarters also attempts to accommodate repeat tours in HMX-1 to provide continuity and enhance experience levels in the squadron. This is done in cooperation with HMX-1 by flagging the individuals who have completed a first tour and are requested for immediate return. A one year unaccompanied overseas tour is then assigned followed by immediate return to the squadron.
D.3.35.3 During interviews, Whiteside maintenance personnel proposed creation of a secondary MOS for Presidential Crewchief, similar to the current Presidential Support MOS, in order to improve the tracking and assignment process. This additional tool would enhance the squadron's efforts to pre-select previously qualified individuals for assignment and, in the long term, help reduce peculiar training requirements.
D.3.35.4 Squadron representatives have also proposed the creation of an HMX-1 monitor billet within Headquarters to coordinate the efforts of the many individual monitors involved in manning the squadron. At present, maintenance representatives meet with the Marine Corps assignment monitors about once a month to scrub the personnel assignments. This places a demand on the available time of senior enlisted maintenance personnel in both maintenance departments, but is felt necessary to keep qualified Marines flowing into the squadron. Squadron personnel felt the a single point of contact modeled after Headquarters Drill Instructor and Recruiting programs would enhance the current assignment process.
D.3.35.5 HMX-1 has also instituted internal policies to ensure the best possible spread of available personnel. These detailed procedures are keyed to the manning of billets to support the missions of Executive Helicopter Transport and Contingency Support and are designed to both limit the impact of inevitable gaps in assignments and provide clear direction to squadron divisions in carrying out internal transfers of personnel. The most qualified personnel available, officer and enlisted, are assigned to billets that directly support these two primary tasks.
D.3.35.6 Inaccuracies in forecasts for inbound personnel complicate the squadron's internal management of assignments. The roster of inbound personnel is unstable and does not allow the squadron to accurately project fills for specific billets. Aborted assignments result in delays while the monitors regroup, and this often requires extension of tours for on-hand personnel so that critical billets re not vacated. As Marines are extended, a "bow wave" of personnel with mature assignment dates is created in the Whiteside maintenance department which in turn increases the demand on the Greenside for replacements.
D.3.35.7 The only general Marine Corps assignment policies that do not mesh with the specific requirements of HMX-1 are those that deal with Exceptional Family Members, special medical care for active duty Marines, and single parents. All three categories limit the ability of an individual to deploy. Marines with Exceptional Family Members or who require special medical care are assigned in a geographical region where programs are available to meet their needs. The D.C. area has many facilities that provide such support, and HMX-1 is the only aviation unit in the area where Marines in these circumstances who hold aviation MOSs can be assigned. Single parents do not specifically require assignment in the D.C. area, and are not barred from service with HMX-1, but present the same problems for unit deployments as in the fleet.
D.3.35.8 Currently only 22 Marines assigned to HMX-1 fall into one of the three categories cited above, but half of this number are assigned to the Greenside maintenance department. Of the Greenside personnel, all are more senior enlisted Marines (five Gunnery Sergeants, two Staff Sergeants, and four Sergeants). In some cases these individuals may be clearable, but they are rarely deployable. Their assignment to HMX-1 ultimately increases the individual deployment tempo of other Marines in the squadron.
Due to current assignment policies and the configuration of fleet units, HMX-1 will receive CH-53 maintenance personnel with backgrounds in the CH-53D, CH-53E or both. The current transition of the squadron from the CH-53D to the newer CH-53E will require re-training of both on-hand personnel and new arrivals who have worked only on the CH-53D. If training devices are required, there are none on-hand to accomplish this training. Additionally, Computer Based Training is not available and could also be of great benefit for both initial and refresher training for maintenance personnel.
Approximately six years ago, the Inspector General of the Marine Corps identified several deficiencies in the provision of medical support to HMX-1. Following review of the recommendations made at that time, HMX-1 now has its own organic medical department, Composed of two full qualified flight surgeons, four corpsmen and an Aeromedical Safety Officer (AMSO).
D.3.37.2 The medical department is located conveniently to HMX-1 workspaces, on the first deck of the administration building aboard MCAF Quantico, Virginia. Space in the clinical care areas is also provided for one dental officer and one dental technician, who are sent from the Main Quantico Dental Clinic to provide examination and referral support services only. The AMSO is assigned to the Operational Test and Evaluation department of HMX-1, which is located within MCAF Quantico as well.
D.3.38 Policies and Procedures
D.3.38.1 The HMX-1 medical facility uses established operating procedures for clinical facilities under the control and guidance of current Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) directives for clinical operations. A recent inspection by the Inspector General for the Surgeon General resulted in a satisfactory finding, with only minor discrepancies.
D.3.38.2 The AMSO policy guidance is derived from the same safety regulations which govern Naval aviation safety and standardization generally. Documentation of completion of required training and qualifications entered is consistently being entered into Unit Training Jackets and safety training records as required by regulations.
HMX-1 T/O calls for two qualified flight surgeons, and both billets are currently staffed in accordance with the T/O requirement. For corpsmen are also listed on the T/O, all of whom are to be filled from Military Occupational Field (MOS) designator 8406 (Aviation Medical Technician). These billets have not been filled as required. Until recently, only two were assigned for a period of approximately five months. A third has been recently assigned, and the fourth is programmed to be aboard by November 1996.
D.3.40 Aeromedical Support Services While Deployed
D.3.40.1 During CONUS operations, medical support for HMX-1 must be procured either through nearby military Medical Treatment Facilities (MTFs), or on the local economy in the same manner as would be the case for any other military member on temporary duty assignment. This necessity for obtaining treatment at civilian facilities has presented some difficulties for HMX-1 personnel, for obtaining treatment at civilian facilities has presented some difficulties for HMX-1 personnel, particularly when deployed to remote CONUS locations. Additionally, the deployed detachments are deprived for expert monitoring of human factors concerns in deployed CONUS situations.
D.3.40.2 During OCONUS Operations, the assigned flight surgeons deploy with the detachments. This can result in a suspension of "at home" medical support for those members of the squadron who remains at its permanent location. Replacement of one 8406 Aviation Medical Technician with an MOS 8425 Independent Duty Medical Corpsman (IDC) would improve medical support flexibility by enabling the command to take advantage of the IDC's advanced training and capabilities, and could permit elimination of the need to shut down "at home" medical operations.
D.3.41 Current Aeromedical Status
D.3.41.1 Assigned corpsmen provide training support to the squadron in such innovative preventive medicine areas as "self aid" and "buddy aid," as well informational briefings and training regimens in a wide variety of other medical topics. Additionally, they provide support for squadron activities such as rifle range and physical fitness testing.
D.3.41.2 When, as is the case at the present time, HMX-1 is not staffed at the full manning levels in the T/O, medical support of HMX activities is compromised. The degradation of services must be noted in the context of the fact that the squadron is unique in both function and the fact that it breaks the normal assignment mold on the Marine Corps personnel front-being kept at approximately 100 percent of T/O requirements. Thus the numbers of assigned medical and aeromedical personnel on hand are similarly critical.
D.3.41.3 Personnel-related recommendations: That DC/S-M&RA-preserve ongoing continuing coordination with the Surgeon General to emphasize the critical requirement of ensuring each of the flight surgeon, AMSO, and corpsman billets are kept filled, without gapping, and with sufficient personnel turnover time to ensure continuity of human factors monitoring. Additionally, one 8406, Aviation Medical Technician corpsman billet should be changed to reflect instead a total of three 8406 corpsmen and one 8425, Independent Duty Corpsman. Each of these billets should be continually addressed as a priority fill situation with the Chief of Naval Personnel.
(Medical Personnel Status)
D.3.42.1 The two medical officers on staff are licensed medical practitioners with additional training and are designated as U.S. Naval Flight Surgeons. Both are fully credentials and have clinical privileges appropriate to or in excess of their assignments.
D.3.42.2 The Senior Medical Officer has additional Board Certification in Family Practice. This is an added benefit, in that he can provide a higher level of clinical expertise than most fleet aviation squadrons enjoy. This expanded clinical has been of great benefit to HMX in terms of broader scope of practice and the fact that squadron dependents are also seen. This has a powerful effect on the sense of family "ownership" and belonging to the squadron. It also provides a sense of accessibility and security in light of the significant deployment time accrued by the active duty members of the squadron, during which their families can be cared for.
D.3.42.3 Additionally, both Medical Officers are fully NATOPS qualified in physiology and survival training and regularly fly in squadron aircraft. Recurrent clinical training is required under BUMED directives in order to maintain clinical privileges and credentials, and has been accomplished in accordance with the stated requirements.
D.3.42.4 The AMSO is a trained physiologist, with additional military training as a U.S. Naval Aerospace Physiologist. He is fully trained and current in aviation physiology and survival training, and regularly flies in HMX aircraft as is required by General NATOPS.
D.3.42.5 It was determined through a series of interviews with the senior enlisted leadership within HMX-1 that each member of the Medical Department provides frequent, direct training support to HMX members in a wide range of areas, and that each of these leaders within the squadron were satisfied with, and confident in, the medical care being received by their personnel.
D.3.43 Equipment and Resources
D.3.43.1 The medical department is well-equipped to handle routine medical care cases. The qualifications of the senior medical officer exceed the equipment available to perform certain procedures. Those procedures would be more appropriately referred to a more capable facility anyway, as is the case with HMX-1.
D.3.43.2 The HMX-1 Medical Department's supply and equipment budget is provided through agreements with Claimancy 18 within the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, and total $3,000 annually. This rather austere budget requires referral a number of cases to the Mainside Medical Clinic in order to remain inside the budgeted amounts. Such referrals are often within the medical expertise range of the caregivers, but must be referred for fiscal reasons, resulting in inconvenience and loss of time for squadron personnel.
Recommendation: Reassess the current budget amounts for the HMX-1
Medical Department practices, several specific areas of concern arose which
do not fit clearly within the defined aeromedical category under which I
worked. They do, however, appear worthy of mention as matters which might
be seen to bear on the overall HMX-1 mission posture, and they are therefore
included for that purpose:
D.3.44.1 Aeromedical support provided to HMX-1 is excellent, and exceeds support provided most fleet squadrons. All non-medical squadron members interviewed considered medical department members to be integral components of the squadron, who were actively involved in all aspects of squadron operations, readily available for all aspects of support, and committed to the HMX-1 mission.
D.3.44.2 The Medical Department personnel interviewed were likewise outspoken in their praise of the quality of leadership of both officers and enlisted personnel, and the emphasis on safety of mission accomplishment. The senior SNCOs were particularly singled out as being critical elements in early identification of potential aeromedical problems in assigned personnel, and rapid referral for evaluation. The scheme of detachments, which places leaders and troops in a very small and concentrated areas for long periods of time, works positively for HMX-1, in that this gives the officers and SNCOs the opportunity to really discover what is happening with their personnel, permitting early resolution and intervention prior to many problems even becoming mature enough to otherwise be noticed.
Recommendation: That Headquarters, Deputy Chief of Staff for Aviation
(ASM), and HMX-1 review current squadron T/O and recommend changes to account
Recommendation: That Headquarters, Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower
and Reserve Affairs (MMOA & MMEA) and HMX-1 evaluate
Recommendation: That Headquarters, Deputy Chief of Staff for Aviation
(ASM/ASL), and Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command
Recommendation: That HMX-1 formally request, via the chain of command, resolution of the conflict between OSD and DIS directives governing length of background investigations for TS and YW clearances.
D.4 Other USMC
D.4.1 Background and Safety Record
D.4.1.1 The Marine Corps does not routinely provide air transportation for high-ranking civilian dignitaries. All civilian Code 1 missions flown by the Marine Corps are tasked directly to HMX-1 by the White House Military Office, as well as some civilian Code 2 and below. During FY96, a total of only thirteen civilian Code 2 flights were authorized by the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC); three were performed by HMX-1, five were tasked to Operational Support Airlift (OSA) aircraft in CONUS, and five were tasked to tactical helicopters either in support of official visits to CONUS military installations or military exercises overseas. Civilian Code 2 missions represent less than 1 percent (13 of 5443) of the total airlift requests approved by CMC.(HQMC ATCO data sheet).
D.4.1.2 Transportation of any non-DoD civilian aboard Marine Corps tactical utility or transport aircraft is by exception only and requires the specific approval of CMC (Code A). (CMC msg DTG ___) As the statistics indicate, such civilian Code 2 missions are rare and are usually driven by the specific requirements of the visit. Recent examples are a U.S. ambassador visit to a combined exercise in Thailand and a U.S. senator visit to counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean.
D.4.1.3 Although there is a higher probability under current regulations that transport of civilian Code 2s will occur on OSA aircraft, these missions are just as rare, statistically, as transport on tactical aircraft. When scheduled, OSA missions normally involve the movement of senior DoD officials to and from DoD approved facilities operating under FAA control. The Marine Corps OSA fleet that supports such missions is comprised of C-12, C-20, C-9, and CT-39 aircraft. These aircraft are identical in most respects to the civil versions from which they are derived but, when compared to the civil airline versions, have a much better safety record. Since 1980, the earliest year from which current statistics date, the Class A mishap rate for all Marine Corps aircraft has been 0.00. (NAVSAFCEN Statistics)
D.4.2.1 As previously noted, regulations governing use of Marine Corps tactical aircraft for movement of passengers are highly restrictive. SecDef Memorandum of 1 Oct 1995, Appendix A, establishes methods of air transportation available and sets restrictions for passenger transport aboard "Other Organic Airlift", i.e. airlift provided by military aircraft with a primary mission other than carrying passengers, but which have the capacity to carry passengers OPNAVINST 3710.7Q, paragraph 184.108.40.206, also establishes policy for transportation of passengers aboard Naval aircraft" No person shall be enplaned as a passenger nor shall any cargo be embarked on naval aircraft unless authorization is granted by competent authority. " As stated in CMC message ___, such authority is retained by CMC for transport of non-DoD personnel aboard USMC aircraft.
D.4.2.2 DoD Transportation ___ dated ___ and SecDef Memorandum of 1 Oct 1995, as well as CMC message ___ and applicable aircraft NATOPS manuals, provide guidance for transport of passengers aboard OSA aircraft.
D.4.3.1 All requests for Code 1 support are tasked directly from the White House Military Office (WHMO) to HMX-1. Requests for Code 2 support can be received from several outside sources (WHMO, OSD, SecNav) and are processed through the HQMC Airlift Transportation Coordination Office (ATCO). After verifying the requests, ATCO tasks OSA aircraft through the appropriate operational chain (see Figure 1).
D.4.3.2 As of 1 Oct 96, the Joint Operational Support Airlift Center (JOSAC), USTRANSCOM, will schedule all CONUS OSA support. The Marine Corps will remain responsible for executing operations and aircrew training.
[Not provided with this report.]
REINSERT Figure 1: Tasking Flowchart
D.4.4.1 Aircrew for the Marine Corps OSA community are selected for transition to a specific type aircraft from the available population in the tactical aircraft communities. Selection is accomplished through a transition/conversion board administered at Headquarters Marine Corps. Candidates must be at least second tour aviators with a requisite level of experience in their primary aircraft and, if accepted, accrue an additional service obligation upon completion of training. First tour aviators are not considered for assignment to OSA units.
D.4.4.2 Upon selection, aviators are scheduled for appropriate civilian ground schools prior to beginning the flight syllabus in the parent OSA unit. As an example, C-12 crews undergo extensive initial training with Flight Safety International and are also scheduled for annual refresher training while assigned to a C-12 unit.
D.4.4.3 Almost all OSA aircraft are maintained under contract to civilian organizations. Only the two Marine Corps C-9B aircraft assigned to VMR-1 at MCAS Cherry Point, NC are supported by Marine enlisted maintenance personnel. All are second or third tour Marines with primary training on tactical aircraft.
D.4.5.1 Organizational, intermediate, and depot level contract maintenance is provided for the C-12, C-20, and CT-39 aircraft As previously stated, organizational level maintenance is provided by USMC personnel for the C-9 aircraft. C-9 and depot level maintenance is provided by contract. However, VMR-1 is capable of performing limited intermediate level avionics maintenance (radios and navigation equipment) on the C-9.
D.4.6.1 A total of twenty-four (24) Marine OSA aircraft are located at seven CONUS and two OCONUS locations (see figure 2).
[Not provided with this report.]
REINSERT Figure 2: OSA Aircraft Locations Chart
Figure 2: OSA Aircraft Locations
D.4.6.2 Marine OSA aircraft are equipped with safety equipment consistent with like civilian type aircraft. This includes fire fighting, evacuation, survival and first aid equipment.
D.4.6.3 A number of upgrade initiatives have been scheduled to begin in FY98 to enhance safety equipment installed on DoN passenger aircraft. In some cases, interim upgrades of current safety equipment have been funded in FY97. Many of the major upgrades are programmed for installation through FY02 (see figure 3).
GPS: Global Positioning System
TCAS: Traffic Collision Avoidance System
FDR: Flight Data Recorder
CVR: Cockpit Voice Recorder
GPWS: Ground Proximity Warning System
WS: Wind Shear Detection System
ELT: Emergency Locator Transponder
Figure 3: Navigation/Safety Equipment
Donald D. Engen, VADM, USN (ret)
Joy S. Scott Shasteen, Lt Col, USAF
Robert B. Lloyd, Jr., LTC, USA (Legal Counsel)
Steve L. Williams, SGT, USMC
Gerald T. Posey, SSgt, USAF
Stephen G. Summerlin, Jr., SSgt, USAF
Walter S. Hogle, Jr. Maj Gen
Patrick F. Nolte Col
Frederick L. Jaklitsch Lt Col
Michael J. Moschella Lt Col
Joseph P. Marksteiner Lt Col
Danny Steele Lt Col
L. Dean Thomas Maj
Joseph T. Rohret Maj
Mathias C. Boddicker II Maj
Maurice J. Inkel, Jr. Maj
Gregory A. Parker Maj
Bret A Crenwelge Capt
Thomas E. Boyle GS-13
Stephen G. Summerlin, Jr. SSgt
R. Magnus Bgen
R. Dougherty Col
T. Dunkelberger Col
M. Hall Col
J. Hildreth Col
R. Leavitt Col
K. Sefton Col
S. Wagner Col
G. Reams Capt