The Air Force’s first E-4B simulator is up and running

  • Published
  • By Justin Oakes
  • 8th Air Force & J-GSOC Public Affairs

E-4B pilots and flight engineers have a new way to accomplish training thanks to the delivery of a new E-4B-specific simulator.

The milestone was commemorated during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a facility in La Vista, Neb., April 14.

“The acquisition of the E-4B simulator is the culmination of hard work between Kallita Air, CymStar and the Air Force to bring a dedicated E-4B training capability to the warfighter at their home station,” said Maj. Gen. Andrew Gebara, 8th Air Force commander and ceremony officiator.

Prior to the local trainer, 595th Command and Control Group operators and maintainers were required to train in a 747 simulator with various contractors in locations across the U.S. The recent acquisition of the E-4B simulator is a first for the Air Force.

In September 2020, an indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract valued at approximately $9.5 million was awarded to CymStar for the build and delivery of an E-4B training system in order to meet the training needs of Air Force Global Strike Command.

Testing of the system took place in the months leading up to the facility opening.

“We assessed the visuals and the new air refueling capability,” said Maj. Chris Shuler, E-4B simulator test director and AFGSC E-4B functional area manager. “Other focus areas also included electronics, fire protection, the fuel system, the oxygen system, engine controls and hydraulics (just to name a few) to ensure those components were well represented in the simulator.”

The E-4B simulator achieved initial operational capability (IOC) April 1.

Pilots and flight engineers will be the primary users of the simulator, however aircraft maintainers will utilize the sim to perform engine run checks and obtain quick start certifications.

“The most unique feature of the simulator is that it 100 percent replicates the flight engineer’s panel in the E-4B,” said Lt. Col. Derek Ligon, 595th Command and Control Group deputy commander. “Currently, our flight engineers train on a 747-200 panel, which is significantly different that the one aboard an E-4B. This requires engineers to receive additional training before they can be qualified on the E-4B.”

The E-4B-configured simulator is also expected to provide aircrews vital air fueling training.

“One of the toughest aircrew currencies to maintain is air refueling due to the demand on tanker support during limited training sorties,” said Maj. Scott Henderson, AFGSC Survivable Mobile Command Center Requirements Division chief. “Acquisition of a simulator with day and night air refueling capabilities is crucial to pilot and flight engineer mission readiness.”

Location is another added benefit.

Aircrews will be allowed more training time due to the facility’s proximity to Offutt AFB. Previously, aircrews had a travel requirement to achieve initial qualification training (IQT) and perform simulator proficiency events -- which will no longer be the case.

Increased simulator usage also transfers a portion of the training burden off of active E-4B aircraft, making room for other operational priorities.

“We are expecting numerous positive operational impacts as a result of the new E-4B simulator, and our team is eager and ready to put it to the test,” said Ligon.