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Airborne Warning not Aircrew?

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Cajun

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G'day all, I believe this has been mentioned in another thread but was never really hashed out.

With the shift of the load master qualification badge from the 'closed-wing' configuration to the full-on aircrew wings in the not-so-distant past, I was wondering if a similar case could/should be made for the Airborne Warning qualification? At least for the AWACS folks, if you show up to work in a flight suit, board an aircraft, take off, and perform your duties while airborne, why would you not be considered aircrew? Maybe I'm touching on a sensitive subject here, but just some food for thought. Has this/is this/will this ever be looked at?

Cheers
 
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aesop081

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I think a case could probably be made for it.

One thing i can think of is that i have never seen a loadmaster return to TFC tech job on the ground. Do AC Op / AEC go back to tower/IFRCC/North Bay type employment after an AWACS tour or once they are in the AWACS world stay there for the remainder of their career ??
 
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aesop081

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Cajun said:
why would you not be considered aircrew?

IIRC, the "stub wings' are refered to as "flight crew" and represent speciality employment. For those with the "full-on" wings, flying is not a speciality employment of our MOC....flying IS our MOC.

This could be the distinction and the justification for AWACS pers to wear 'stub wings".
 

Zoomie

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CDN Aviator said:
One thing i can think of is that i have never seen a loadmaster return to TFC tech job on the ground.

Happens all the time.  Until they actual separate TFC tech from Loadmaster - they will be back and forth.  I forsee something happening with the FE's and Loadies combining - maybe they could be called Flight Engineers??  :)
 

Journeyman

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Zoomie said:
Happens all the time.  Until they actual separate TFC tech from Loadmaster - they will be back and forth.  I forsee something happening with the FE's and Loadies combining - maybe they could be called Flight Engineers??  :)
The Air Reserve used their "Tech Crewman" as FE/Loadies, and they wore the "stewardess wing" (not a slag, I just have no idea what the generic 'maple leaf/small wing' badge is called).

Combining FEs and Loadies, given the egos of both, would lead to a massive bottom lip  ;)
 

Cajun

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In terms of AEC's/AC Op's going from an AWACS job to back to the tower/North Bay, would this not be akin to a Pilot/ACSO/AESOP doing a ground tour? Correct me if I'm wrong but typically, the guys/gals that are currently considered aircrew go back and forth throughout their careers. Is this similar for AWACS types? I was also under the impression that "Air Operations" occupations, at least for officers, consisted of PLT/ACSO/AEC. Perhaps further justification for a move away from the stub-wings...? I don't know.
 
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aesop081

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Cajun said:
Pilot/ACSO/AESOP doing a ground tour? Correct me if I'm wrong but typically, the guys/gals that are currently considered aircrew go back and forth throughout their careers.

Many do not and have never left flying billets. I work with 2 guys who each have 15 years of flying and no ground job in sight. A trade like mine has far more flying billets that ground billets. Ground jobs are just temporary situations and the intent is nearly always to go back to a flying billet.



"Air Operations" occupations, at least for officers, consisted of PLT/ACSO/AEC. Perhaps further justification for a move away from the stub-wings...? I don't know.

The air operations branch consists of everyone who wears the AF cap badge. I hardly see that as a justification for changing wings.
 

Cajun

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Hey buddy, doesn't make much difference to me either way. Just curious if it had ever been looked at, or why it hadn't considering the job those folks are doing once AW qual'd.

The old man is a loadie though and I'm sure he'll be quick to point out the ole aircrew wings mighty quick if I come back to the valley with a set of stubs on haha.
 

Griffon

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Wow, this thread is really making think twice about the things I had to say about "harshness on new members" yesterday... :facepalm:

CDN Aviator...I applaud your patience.
 
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aesop081

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Cajun said:
Hey buddy, doesn't make much difference to me either way.

In the end, it makes no difference to me either so i will not lose any sleep over something like that. I fly because i love the job, not because my wings look different. I suspect that anyone working on AWACS does so for the job itself and not the "bling" but i could be wrong.

Griffon said:
CDN Aviator...I applaud your patience.

I'm not always an arsehole.........
 

Cajun

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Did I offend someone? If so, that wasn't the intent.

Back to the original topic...

I was just curious as to the distinction between the stub-wings and aircrew wings and how that was determined. I'm sure most AEC's in AWACS jobs don't think about it either. The fact that some trades seemed to be switching from one to the other (loadmaster/SAR Tech) was what caught my attention. I would be curious to hear from an AWC on the subject.
 

Blackadder1916

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If only more people held the view of Gold Hat, the Mexican bandit chief in "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre"

"Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!"

Journeyman said:
The Air Reserve used their "Tech Crewman" as FE/Loadies, and they wore the "stewardess wing" (not a slag, I just have no idea what the generic 'maple leaf/small wing' badge is called).
It is the basic "Flight Crew Badge".

Cajun said:
I was just curious as to the distinction between the stub-wings and aircrew wings and how that was determined.  . . . The fact that some trades seemed to be switching from one to the other (loadmaster/SAR Tech) was what caught my attention.  . . .

Take my poor recollection of rumour and smart-assed commentary with a grain of salt.  It's been decades since the number and types of aircrew badges started expanding and back then my primary interest was in the "timmy wings" that I eventually received - Aeromedical Evacuation Badge.

Until the late 70s and early 80s the number of aircrew badges was very limited.  There were full wings for Pilot, Navigator, Flight Engineer, and Observer (the one later called AESO, not the TacHel type).  Stubby wings were the basic Flight Crew Badge (loadmasters, flight stewards/attendants and anyone else who filled an establishment position that required they fly regularly as crew), Flight Surgeon and ParaRescue Specialist (open to all trades in the CF and eventually became a separate trade, SAR Tech - they got a new full wing badge then).  Some of this restrictiveness probably evolved from the badges in the RCAF - they had even fewer.

More and more occupations started lobbying to get specialized badges for themselves because they were . . . well, special.  One of the first new ones to be approved was probably Tactical Helicopter Observer Badge, (they may have had something earlier but that wasn't really Air Force).  We medics (and nurses) finally got something to put on the flying suits we occasionally wore.  Loadmasters devolved to their own separate badge (primarily men back then, they didn't want to be confused with a "flight bag" on the 707s) . . . and on and on.

One of the criteria (smart-assed commentary) I heard back then for why the SAR Techs got a full wing was "they have to open doors in flight and leave the aircraft".  This may be one of the reasons why loadies finally got a full wing - they have responsibilities in the back of the aircraft that "directly" relate to maintaining proper function of the aircraft in flight.  While other "timmy wing" types may have important functions relating to the mission of the aircraft, their jobs are not as directly related to the proper functioning of the aircraft.
 

Cajun

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Blackadder1916 said:
One of the criteria (smart-assed commentary) I heard back then for why the SAR Techs got a full wing was "they have to open doors in flight and leave the aircraft".  This may be one of the reasons why loadies finally got a full wing - they have responsibilities in the back of the aircraft that "directly" relate to maintaining proper function of the aircraft in flight.  While other "timmy wing" types may have important functions relating to the mission of the aircraft, their jobs are not as directly related to the proper functioning of the aircraft.

Fair enough, makes sense to me. Thanks for addressing my question.
 

fire_guy686

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CDN Aviator said:
One thing i can think of is that i have never seen a loadmaster return to TFC tech job on the ground.

It happens all the time.  My Sgt and WO were both loadmasters before coming here.
 
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aesop081

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MAMS_933 said:
It happens all the time.  My Sgt and WO were both loadmasters before coming here.

Fair enough. I have never seen it happen, thats all.
 

Zoomie

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CDN Aviator said:
I have never seen it happen, thats all.

Granted that there aren't any Loadies posted to Comox - so how could you see it happen.  :p
 
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aesop081

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Zoomie said:
Granted that there aren't any Loadies posted to Comox - so how could you see it happen.  :p

I know many of people ,in many MOCs, on many bases. I'm grown up enough to know theres a whole other world outside of my own.
 

formerguard

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Cajun:  I'm fairly certain that there's a staff paper floating around on this exact subject.  Bear in mind, I'm going off memory here, so my recollection may not be 100%, but I believe the answer was that full wings were reserved for MOCs/positions contributing to the operation of the aircraft & it's flight systems - NAV, Pilot, etc.  There's a big difference between the 'front end' (flight crew) and the 'back end' (mission crew) on the AWACS.

And yes, some people do get posted back to AWACS units multiple times in their careers.
 
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I find the fact that we even draw a distinction between one set of air force personnel and another rather sad. It reeks of elitism in an organisation that holds itself out as professional.

As for AEC, with the exception of the badge, they are treated as aircrew even when not in a flying position (read AWACS). In particular medical requirements, between meal suplliments, etc.
 
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