A quiet corner of Oklahoma has become a center of training excellence for the USAF’s heavy-lift C-17 Globemaster III and KC-135R tanker crews. It is also planned to be the training base for the forthcoming KC-46A Pegasus. Combat Aircraft takes an access-all-areas look behind the scenes.

ALTUS AIR FORCE Base in Oklahoma is home to the 97th Air Mobility Wing (AMW) and is pretty much a perfect training base. It enjoys an average of 300 days of good flying weather per year, has a lot of open airspace and easily accommodates some of the largest aircraft in the US Air Force inventory.

The station has two resident units: the 58th Airlift Squadron (AS) flying the Boeing C-17A Globemaster III, and the 54th Air Refueling Squadron (ARS) with the KC-135R Stratotanker. It is here that students coming out of basic pilot training learn their trade as co-pilots on the Boeing heavies, soon to be joined by the new KC-46A Pegasus.

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