PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pilots and crew from the 911th Airlift Wing in Coraopolis rehearsed a series of targeted airdrops over a Consol Energy site in Ohio Thursday afternoon.

As a C-130 transport plane approached a target near Cadiz, Major Diane Patton explained that the drops would mimic battle conditions.

“We’re simulating hostile environment for the C-130 to ingress the drop zone. We’re going to have the three drops performed at different altitudes, simulating different capabilities of our aircraft. The first drop is a heavy equipment airdrop. It simulates a large piece of equipment or a vehicle. The C-130 doesn’t need visual contact with the ground to perform this air drop. The crew can navigate with onboard systems to simulate being in the weather.”

The idea is to increase the proficiency of air crews, so they can make a drop at any place, any time. Ground support communicates with the six-person crew.

Maj. James Linscott knows from experience that success is critical.

“In Afghanistan,” he recalls, “we did an air drop, building a forward operating base. If I was not on target, those guys would have to put themselves at risk going out to get that load. So the closer we are to being on target, the safer our guys on the ground ae going to be.”

Thursday’s practice pays off. Each drop lands well within the target area.

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