A C-17 aircrew assigned to the 535th Airlift Squadron at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, spent five days at JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., practicing maneuvers and drills that they cannot normally perform back home due to flight-training limitations. This included making unrestricted-descent assault landings at the 3,500-foot landing strip in Grant County, Wash., near Moses Lake, and utilizing drop corridors that require pilots to rely strictly on their instrumentation due to weather conditions. “The Pacific Northwest offers a plethora of training opportunities that we don’t get on the islands of Hawaii,” said Capt. Dave Morales, a 535th AS pilot, who was along for the Nov. 12-17 training. Another example, Morales noted, was taking advantage of the area’s mountainous terrain to conduct low-level terrain-following sorties. (Lewis-McChord report by SSgt. Mike Meares)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.