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Check Out These Photos Of An A-10 Warthog Pilot During Simulated-Contaminated Airfield Operations

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A-10 AERPS
A 442nd Fighter Wing A-10. (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bob Jennings)

An A-10 pilot has recently carried out training with protective gear: here are some photos showing the somehow curious boarding procedure.

Simulated-contaminated airfield operations were carried out at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, recently.

Capt. Curtis Lackey, an A-10 pilot with the 358th Fighter Squadron boarded his Thunderbolt II aircraft wearing protective gear and the images the U.S. Air Force has released provide some interesting details about the somehow curious procedure the Warthog pilot had to follow to board the jet.

In particular, the shots show Lackey on the flight line, in a plastic over drape. Under the drape, the pilot wears a chemical- and biological-resistant flight suit and the AERPS (Aircrew Eye Respiratory Protection System) mask, used to provide the pilot with breathable air and mask defogging in a contaminated environment.

A-10 AERPS
US Air Force Capt. Curtis Lackey, an A-10 pilot with the 358th Fighter Squadron, dons a plastic over drape to simulate taking off from a contaminated airfield June 4, 2021, on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bob Jennings)

Before boarding the jet, the pilot removes his plastic over drape and overboots to avoid contaminating the jet.

A-10 AERPS
US Air Force Capt. Curtis Lackey, an A-10 pilot with the 358th Fighter Squadron, removes his plastic over drape before boarding the aircraft. (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bob Jennings)

Special flight gear, including masks and gloves, protect the head, eyes, and respiratory system of the user from chemically, biologically, and radiologically toxic environments, allowing aircrews to safely operate in virtually any hazardous environment. While the odds of protective gear being required are fairly low, U.S. aircrews regularly train to operate in contaminated airfields.

A-10 AERPS
US Air Force Capt. Curtis Lackey, an A-10 pilot with the 358th Fighter Squadron, boards an aircraft after having his overboots removed to avoid contaminating the jet. (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bob Jennings)

Indeed, all the aircrews, including pilots, WSOs (Weapon System Operations) and loadmasters train with AERPS equipment, consisting of a rubber mask, multiple layers of boots and gloves, fan filter system and an audio and speaker system.

Exercises are important to assess the ability of the aircrews to safely execute missions using pieces of equipment that may limit their ability to breathe, move and communicate. Depending on the simulated scenario, the ability to don and doff masks or gloves before or after take-off, or approaching the battlefield, may also put to test.

David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

The A-10C Demo Team Unveiled Their “Warthog” In Vietnam-Era Camouflage Color Scheme

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The Demo Team’s A-10C takes off after the unveiling of the new paint scheme for the 2021 airshow season. (Photo: U.S. Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II demonstration team)

The SouthEast Asia camouflage of the A-10C, inspired by the F-105 Thunderchiefs of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, will honor the unit’s Prisoners of War, Missing in Action and Veterans.

The U.S. Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II demonstration team is being assigned a new jet ahead of the 2021 airshow season. The aircraft, serial 81-0962, was recently repainted by the 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, in the Vietnam-era SouthEast Asia (SEA) camouflage. The A-10 is not new to camouflages, as it was painted with the green and gray European One camouflage during the Cold War.

The Team said that the new paint scheme was inspired by the F-105 Thunderchiefs that the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing (former designation of the current 355th Fighter Wing based at Davis-Monthan) flew during the Vietnam War. To honor the Prisoners of War, Missing in Action and Veterans, the starboard side of the A-10’s nose features the names of all the unit’s members who lost their lives or were captured during the conflict, accompanied by the National League of Families POW/MIA flag.

In honor of all the Vietnam War Prisoners of War, Missing in Action and Veterans…this one is dedicated to you. 🇺🇸 🐗 Davis-Monthan Air Force Base United States Air Force Air Combat Command

Pubblicato da A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team su Venerdì 26 febbraio 2021

The upper surfaces of the A-10C have thus been painted with medium green, dark green and dark tan patches, while the lower surfaces have been painted with camouflage gray, in line with the same colors used by the US Air Force aircraft during the Vietnam conflict. On the fuselage the aircraft also shows the insignias of the 354th and 357th Tactical Fighter Squadrons, which have been redesignated 354th and 357th Fighter Squadrons in 1991.

The aircraft was unveiled at the presence of many Veterans and their families, which had the privilege of witnessing its first flight with the new colors and then get to see the aircraft up-close after it landed. The aircraft was reportedly flown by Capt Haden “Gator” Fullam which, according to the Air Combat Command 2021 Demo Team and Heritage Flight Support Manual, will be the Team’s new Commander and demo pilot. The official announcement is due to arrive soon, as the demo teams are scheduled to fly together during the Heritage Flight Training Course from March 3 through 8 at Davis-Monthan AFB.

The camouflaged A-10C on the ramp at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. (Photo: U.S. Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II demonstration team)

The new specially painted “Warthog” follows the one that was unveiled in 2019 and flew during the 2020 airshow season, which featured green paint overlapping the standard low-visibility gray scheme on the jet’s upper surfaces, invasion stripes on the lower surfaces of the engines and the wings and the insignias used by the U.S. Army Air Forces until 1947. The special scheme was said to be inspired by P-51 Mustangs which used the same scheme during World War II, even if the P-47 Thunderbolt had a much similar livery.

Stefano D’Urso is a contributor for TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. He’s a full-time engineering student and aspiring pilot. In his spare time he’s also an amateur aviation photographer and flight simulation enthusiast.
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