Air National Guard's 174th Attack Wing flies first MQ-9 mission from Hancock Field
HANCOCK FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SYRACUSE, N.Y. (12/15/2015)(readMedia)-- The New York Air National Guard's 174th Attack Wing will conduct their first MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft flying operation from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base and Syracuse Hancock International Airport Wednesday, December 16.
Members of the area news media are welcome to view the flight operations. Wing Commander Col. Greg Semmel will speak about the return of flight operations to the air base.
WHO: Colonel Greg A. Semmel, 174th Attack Wing Commander
WHAT: The first launch and recovery of the MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base and Syracuse Hancock International Airport
WHEN: 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 16, 2015. Members of the Media MUST be at the Thompson Road gate of Hancock Field Air National Guard Base NO LATER THAN 12:45 p.m. for access to the military installation.
WHERE: Main Hangar, Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, 6001 Molloy Road, Syracuse, NY 13211.
Coverage Opportunities: New York Air National Guard Commander Maj. Gen. Anthony German and Colonel Greg Semmel will provide brief statements in connection with the first flight from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base and the Syracuse Hancock International Airport. Immediately following, media will be able to gather imagery of the first launch of the MQ-9 off of Hancock Field Air National Guard Base and Syracuse Hancock International Airport.
Following the launch event, there will be a brief question and answer period with Semmel.
Members of the Media must contact Major Sandra Stoquert, the wing Public Affairs Officer NLT 11:30 a.m. at (315) 233-2651 or 2408 for access to this secure military facility. Entry will be through the Thompson Road gate.
Additional video, courtesy of the 174th Attack Wing, will be provided after the event.
MQ-9 Operations at Hancock Field
Prior to this week, all flight operations of the MQ-9 aircraft were conducted at Wheeler Sack Army Airfield at Fort Drum.
The FAA approval follows a technical and operational review for the safe and effective takeoff and recovery of MQ-9 aircraft at Hancock Field, home to operator and maintenance training of MQ-9 crews.
The FAA modified airspace around Hancock Field in 2013 to expand available training areas and provide transition from high altitude down to Hancock Field.
The 174th Attack Wing will be the first Air Force organization in the United States to fly the remotely piloted aircraft in class "C" airspace, the common airspace around commercial airports.
Class C Airspace is generally that airspace from the surface to 4,000 feet above the airport elevation surrounding airports that have an operational control tower, are serviced by a radar approach control, and have instrument flight operations or passenger terminals.
Over the past week, the Federal Aviation Administration granted approval for the wing to begin launch and recovery operations with the MQ-9 Reaper aircraft from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base and the Syracuse International Airport.
"Flying from Hancock Field will increase student production by up to 50 percent at our Formal Training Unit (FTU), while also reducing the operational risk to unit personnel who travel to and from Fort Drum on a daily basis," said Col. Greg Semmel, 174th wing commander. "Having this ability will result in a savings of over $1 million in taxpayer costs."
174th Attack Wing
The 174th Attack Wing was established in 1947 as the first Air National Guard flying unit in New York State. Throughout its history, it has flown F-47 Thunderbolts, F-51 Mustangs, F-84 Thunderjets, F-86 Sabres, A-37 Dragonflies, A-10 Thunderbolts and the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
It currently flies the MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft.
The wing also trains all MQ-9 maintenance technicians for the Air Force, Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve. The wing also conducts qualification training for MQ-9 pilots and sensor operators at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base and Fort Drum, operating out of Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield.
At the same time the wing deploys members oversees to support MQ-9 operations and other Air Force commitments and operates MQ-9s in the Central Command area of operations from a facility at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base.
The wing also maintains the air-to-ground gunnery range at Fort Drum, used by Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units across the northeast.
Members of the 174th Attack Wing also respond to state emergencies and other state domestic operations missions when called upon and maintain high-tech communications and command and control equipment that can be called upon by the governor of New York when required.