Fort Bliss Soldiers experience ‘Tornado’ at Holloman AFB
Spc. Travis Attebery,
TF Red Ball, 2nd Bn., 356th LS Regt., 402nd FA Bde.:
HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. – Eleven servicemembers from 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, and 402nd Field Artillery Brigade and 5th Armored Brigade participated in a tour of a Tornado aircraft and flight simulator given by the German Air Force Flying Training Center at Holloman Air Force Base Friday.
The aircraft flown in the flight simulator was also the German Tornado. The Tornado was built for supersonic speeds at low altitudes to bomb under the radar undetected. Pilots trained at Holloman Air Force Base practice flying at altitudes of 100 feet. This comes as a unique opportunity for German pilots because European airspace is tightly restricted. The lowest the Germans can fly in their own airspace is 500 feet, and even then, there are not many places for them to drop bombs. Also, it can take more than an hour to get to those areas, and there is only one place in Europe that allows laser guided bombs to be dropped.
More bombs drop in the United States by the German Air Force Flying Training Center than all of the German squadrons combined in Germany.
This simulation is designed to train pilots on the aircraft and get familiar with how it handles in the air.
Sgt. Ramon Mendoza, a Soldier from C Company, asked “Where is the missile button?”
The buttons were there, but because the simulator at Holloman AFB is directed toward flying, there are no missiles or bombs programmed during the flight exercise. Six Soldiers were able to take on the challenge of piloting the Tornado and practicing barrel rolls, loops and maintaining low altitude flying.
The jet had to land and Maj. Robert Wagner, commander of Task Force Red Ball, 2nd Battalion, 356th Logistics Support Regiment, 402nd FA Bde., was behind the controls and served as the liaison between the German Air Force and Fort Bliss.
“It’s going happen; no way he’s going to land,” said Spc. Peyton Woolly, TF Red Ball, as Wagner made his approach.
Moments later the screen flashed red as Wagner came in too hard and too fast. CRASH!!
“This was very generous of the German Air Force,” said Woolly. “It’s an amazing experience that many people don’t get.”
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