‘Blue Tail Flies’ host German counterparts

by Tech. Sgt. Markus M. Maier
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

In the spirit of partnership, the 37th Airlift Squadron hosted 11 of its counterparts from the German Luftwaffe Oct. 25 to 29.

The German airmen, along with two C-160D Transall aircraft assigned to the Lufttransportgeschwader 62, traveled from Flugplatz Wunstorf to spend a week training with the 37th AS “Blue Tail Flies” in an effort to learn about each other’s procedures and capabilities.

“We took them out to our local drop zone to see the different aircraft fly together in a formation and drop the same type of equipment,” said Capt. Matt Macfarlane, 37th AS tactics officer. “We also took them to one of our local landing zones.”

These joint training missions allowed the aircrews to compare and take notes on how well they could work together during potential real-world missions.

“We work things very similarly for the most part,” Captain Macfarlane said. “We use a lot of the same type of procedures and use our crew resource management in a similar manner. But there are definitely some differences.”

One major difference, he observed, is that German aircraft drops its load at a lower altitude than U.S. aircraft, which in a combined mission would need to be taken into consideration. There were also some compatibility issues between some of their systems.

“There are differences in how the C-130s and the C-160s are being operated,” said German Maj. Stefan Schipke, the unit’s squadron leader. “This training was very valuable and allowed us to better understand how different nations work with different types of aircraft.”

He added that he was very impressed with the men and women of the 37th AS and that his crew really enjoyed this experience.

“The 37th is very well organized,” the major said. “They also took great care of us. Everybody here is very friendly and helpful. We really enjoyed our stay here.”