Pittsburgh ARS signs agreement, improving training options

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The Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station signed an IGSA with the Western Reserve Port Authority in Youngstown, Ohio, allowing its 911th Airlift Wing to conduct the required number of short-filed landings for aircrew readiness, 27 Sept 2021.

Currently, this training is conducted in South Carolina, but this agreement will give the 911th Airlift Wing a closer location to conduct its training until the necessary alterations are made to infrastructure at Youngstown ARS, Ohio.

“This agreement allows our aircrews to fly to a regional airport 20 minutes away and conduct more training events,” Colonel John Robinson, 911th Airlift Wing Commander said. “Currently we fly to South Carolina which requires more flight-time and fuel for training. This IGSA marks a great utilization of government resources, we are going to save millions of dollars in fuel costs and more efficient use of our aircrew’s time on training events.” In the interim, to accommodate day training, the WRPA will resurvey the general aviation runway and repaint it conforming to military training dimensions.

For night training, WRPA staff will place infrared lights, allowing C-17 aircrews to use night vision goggles to land on a completely blackened, lights-out runway.

The agreement also allows for port authority staff to place modular runway lights that identify short-field boundaries. These lights permit C-17 short-field operations at a local regional airport versus flying to training bases hundreds of miles away. Additionally, over the long-term it permits the WRPA to modify the runway with recessed lights and resurvey the existing runway to conform to daytime Air Force training configurations.

Other exciting infrastructure projects are underway in the region. The 2018 Air Force Energy Analysis Task Force identified a deficit of suitable landing zones for C-17 operations in the Midwest and Northeast U.S.

The task force findings presented an opportunity for nearby 910th Airlift Wing at Youngstown ARS to increase the installation’s military value and the Federal Aviation Administration’s traffic-count for the regional airport by submitting a Military Construction request to widen the existing short-field landing zone.

With such dedicated partners at work throughout the area, the AFCP Program anticipates many more successes ahead for this region.