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Maryland Air National Guard introduces C-27J to local community

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Jessica Donnelly
  • 175th Wing
The Maryland Air National Guard performed a tactical training mission and conducted a static display of the C-27J 'Spartan' at the Wicomico Regional Airport in Salisbury, Md. Nov. 30.

The Maryland Air National Guard coordinated with the Wicomico Regional Airport to allow media, local community members and airport personnel to tour the C-27J and have the opportunity to ask the flight crew questions about the aircraft.

"Today served as a meet and greet for the local community to come out and see the aircraft," said Lt. Col. Gordon Kinney, 135th Operations Support Flight commander.

The crew also performed a landing zone operations training mission where they used the assault zone marking panels funded and installed by the airport. 

"The panels are used to give the pilots a visual 'box' to properly align and place the aircraft during landings," explained Kinney.  "Previously Delaware [National Guard] would provide semi-permanent approach panels, but the weather conditions would cause them to deteriorate."

Robert Bryant, Wicomico Regional Airport manager, explained that the airport built the new landing panels to be more durable and permanent, as opposed to the cloth panels, to allow for the military personnel to be able to use the runway for training purposes.  Through this partnership, the Maryland Air National Guard is able to use the marking panels to better prepare the unit to be ready to deploy with the aircraft in 2012.

"We're focused on getting our crews ready for the deployment in the spring," added Kinney.

The day's events gave the Maryland Air National Guard the opportunity to train with the panels that the airport had installed and talk to the airport personnel, building a rapport between the National Guard and the Wicomico Regional Airport to be able to conduct more training scenarios in the future.  It also gave the local community around the airport a chance to become familiar with the new aircraft so they can recognize it when we are in the area, added Kinney.

The Maryland Air National Guard recently transitioned from the C-130J 'Hercules' to the C-27J 'Spartan' as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure decision. The unit currently has three C-27s and is slated to receive a fourth aircraft during fiscal year 2012.

Because the new aircraft resembles a smaller version of the C-130 it is not able to handle the same payload as its predecessor; however, its reduced footprint makes it valuable for landing at a greater number of shorter and narrower airfields, explained Kinney.  The C-27J's size also makes it ideal for our domestic mission by being able to service the smaller regional airports during state emergencies, such as snow storms and hurricanes.