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What is crew rest? 

Crew rest is the required rest period for aircrews to safely execute a mission.  Regulations limit flight time and specify how much continuous rest is required to maintain a safe aviation system.

Is there a “valid time” or validity window associated with quiet hour waivers at ETAR?

ETAR quiet hour waivers do not have a "valid time" other the actual "day", or QH period, requested. If the mission slips in to the next QH period, a new request will have to be made.

My mission was already scheduled close to maximum duty day, and then had a Human Remains movement added. We delayed during our itinerary, which forced us into another crew rest and delayed the HR movement. Was there no backup for this mission?

Similar to short notice aeromedical evacuation requirements, when we receive a HR requirement, TACC sources the most expeditious flight available to get one of our fallen warriors home. We don't have enough aircraft/crews to maintain dedicated backups, and given how frequently missions change, we generally don't gain anything by identifying additional backup missions once the best option has been executed. Unfortunately, unanticipated delays do occur, but rest assured that TACC will always strive to meet a requirement for the dignified return of our fallen warriors as quickly as possible.

How many diplomatic clearances does TACC process each day? 

The exact number of diplomatic clearances vary from day-to-day based on the missions that are in execution.  On average the TACC processes 1,000 diplomatic clearances per day.  In 2011, the TACC processed 311,577 clearances.

Any insight from the FMs on CFPs requiring a level off altitude well before the aircraft can actually climb to that altitude (thus causing problems with fuel required estimates)? 

Flight Managers, Flight Planners, Long Range TACC Planners, and general users of ACFP have no performance references to validate the ACFP outputs. ACFP uses Flight Performance Modules (FPMs) based on the data either provided directly from the manufacturer or derived from the performance charts in the MDS -1-1. This data is the same data available to the aircrew. If there is a significant difference between the output of ACFP and the T.O., we recommend report this up your Stan/Eval channels to HQ AMC/A3V for resolution.

 Due to a strong tailwind, my CFP flight time to a large AMC base in the CONUS was reduced significantly from the planned flight time listed on my GDSS frag. Can this cause problems at the destination station?

GDSS cuts are based on historical / statistical / seasonal flight times of different airframes. This estimate serves as the "planned" flight time until the FM begins their mission review 6 hours prior to takeoff. At that point, the FM will adjust the flight times using CFP and forecast wind inputs. Standard TACC mission controller procedure would be to call the destination station and tell them to check GDSS arrival times for the tail so they have situational awareness. However, large AMC bases are required to monitor as well.

Essentially, there are multiple layers of "eyes" on flight time changes like this one‐‐the FM makes the changes required for your IFM paperwork, TACC controllers notify the downrange station of the change, and the destination AMC presence (if applicable) is further required to watch inbound traffic using GDSS to ensure you receive timely support when you arrive.

If you do find that your earlier arrival is a "surprise" to the destination station‐‐especially a base with a large or home station AMC presence‐‐please let us know, and we will investigate it both at our end and at the particular station, to see where there may be a communication issue or a need for additional coordination.

 My IFM package was missing an 1801 for leg 3 of a multi-leg mission plan.

Per AMC/A6IM, there is a known computer problem that occasionally prevents the 1801 from being attached with the crew papers in GDSS. This glitch occurs once or twice a month. The GDSS folks have taken steps to minimize the problem, but a long-term fix would require an extremely expensive re-work of the software replication agent. The work‐around is for the crew to ask the flight manager to re‐send the 1801 or for the crew to download the package again (the 1801 will eventually show up in the papers). Given the frequency of the problem and the relatively simple work‐around, it is not cost effective to completely fix the computer glitch. In light of this, however, please continue to call your flight manager for any issues you see with your IFM packages.

 What does TACC do to mitigate the impact of deteriorating weather conditions at the destination airfield while a sortie is en route?

This is a great example of how aircrew and TACC share the responsibility to ensure mission success. To counter the impact of changing weather conditions, MDSV3 guidance directs pilots to update destination weather en route and prior to initiating descent. TACC weather personnel on the floor also monitor deteriorating weather conditions at destination airfields, and alert FMs when fields drop below minimums on active mission legs. However, this is manpower dependent (given up to 450 TACC controlled aircraft flying, daily). Our Weather Directorate has developed additional tools to help highlight fields that drop below minimums and spur corrective FM action, but we can't guarantee we'll catch every affected field that falls below minimums. To the maximum extent possible, we do try to assist in catching these types of issues prior to arrival, but as the expert‐on‐the‐aircraft for your particular mission, we rely on the AC's knowledge, expertise, and SA as we work with you from the TACC floor to accomplish the mission.

 While crossing the Atlantic en route to CONUS, I discovered I had enough fuel to overfly my planned fuel stop and proceed direct to the destination. However, when I contacted my Flight Manager, I was informed that I might have to wait a few hours for customs support at the destination station if I flew direct—even though it was a main AMC base. Why is that?

TACC can only request customs support‐‐we do not directly control them. In this case, the DO/FM team passed on what they had been told by your destination station. There, as at other non‐international airports, customs personnel may have to drive possibly a number of hours to the military location, so even a couple hours notice may require additional time for customs response.

The FM's intent is not to discourage you from electing to overfly‐‐they are postured to support, but ultimately left it to your discretion. In this case, as well as with future opportunities, TACC is here to support the execution of your mission effectively and as efficiently as possible‐‐generally, the AC, as the "expert‐on‐the‐aircraft," is in the best position to determine the right option to complete the mission.

 Why do weather reports in my IFM package only provide a forecast for +/- 1 hour around scheduled arrival? This does not provide very much information in the case of a significant mission delay.

Weather information provided for inclusion in IFM packages is required to "meet the request" of the Flight Manager, which is, by AFI definition, the arrival time +/‐ 1 hour. This also potentially avoids confusion, providing an easier‐to‐read report on forecast arrival weather without having to pick it out of a more complex TAF report. In the event of delays, however, TACC weather personnel are available 24/7 to provide updated weather information. Crews are absolutely encouraged to contact a TACC weather briefer any time they have questions or require updates as a result of mission itinerary or time changes.

 Why were the weather forecasts in my IFM package so different from the observed headwinds and other conditions we experienced during the flight? These differences resulted in a much greater fuel burn than that indicated by CFP calculations

TACC weather forecasts come directly from data provided by external agencies (typically, Operational Weather Squadrons that report on a specific part of the world). TACC weather personnel then use that data to build the weather products included in your IFM package.

Although we can't directly affect the weather data provided to us, given specific actual weather conditions, we can compare the observed conditions to the provided forecast and query the external agencies regarding significant and/or recurring discrepancies. In the future, when you observe significant disparities between forecast and actual weather conditions, please provide us as much information as possible regarding your observed conditions (wind velocities/date/time/location), so we can better investigate or identify any issues within the weather reporting system.

As you know, those weather/wind forecasts directly impact fuel calculations within the CFP. Those automated calculations are based on ‐1‐1 guidance and do take into account full instrument approach procedures, tech order aircraft performance models, etc. TACC does not have the ability to "tweak" CFP calculations. However, we do add fuel to the resulting calculated required ramp fuel to account for aircraft specific biases or AMC‐directed guidance.

 Why would the FM not automatically provide an updated CFP when I identified updated/different cargo load information on the next leg?

The flight manager will typically run a new CFP when they become aware of payload deviations. The FM Ops Manual has payload deltas by MDS, that if exceeded require a new CFP. The delta for the C5 is 10K, which did not render an automatic update in this case. Also, as you get closer to takeoff, you may be able to run an updated flight plan faster than the FM running a new CFP (due to existing CFPS software).

Unfortunately, our flight planning software takes some time to generate an updated CFP--it's for this reason the FM most likely offered a new CFP as an option, as opposed to automatically running one so close to takeoff. We do have new flight planning software in development to address this issue--however, it will still take some time to bring this software online. In the meantime, when your launch sequence permits, you can expect updated CFPs from your FM to accommodate significantly different cargo weights.

When are Maintenance Response Teams utilized?

When there is no infrastructure on the ground, or the maintenance that is in place cannot accopmlish the required fix, a Maintenance Response Team is tasked to travel to the aircraft's location to evaluate the situation and make the proper corrections.

My C-17 mission would have run much more smoothly had we been allocated and planned for an Extended Range aircraft—why didn’t TACC set us up for an ER aircraft to begin with?

Unfortunately, there is no way for us to guarantee an ER aircraft will be assigned to a particular mission. Initial home station departures are assigned aircraft by the host Wing, and depend on local maintenance and operations schedules well beyond TACC control (which can also change hours before departure). In the system, given mission recuts/diverts/in‐system‐selects for higher priority pop‐up missions, en route MX issues, and in‐system tail swaps for maintenance rotations, guaranteeing an ER jet on missions is difficult to impossible.

Not knowing in advance as to whether an ER jet will fly a given mission introduces significant planning challenges for TACC. Assuming an ER jet when planning a mission can result in a late need to re‐plan for fuel stops as the mission enters execution, while planning for a non‐ER aircraft can lead to mission plans that are unnecessarily long and possibly fuel‐inefficient.

The TACC floor ultimately "picks up the pieces" when aircraft assignments change, and puts together an executable plan to move the mission within the constraints of aircraft performance, Diplomatic clearances (Haz Cargo, ICAO specific clearances, etc) and available airfields. Although this occasionally leads to issues such as the problems you experienced, it is an inevitable part of continually striving to maximize the use of limited aircraft assets.

 What publication has the timeline for when load plans/HazDip are due to TACC once the ULN is complete?

The publication with the timeline is in JOPES Vol III Enclosure C for the TPFDD LOI.

 Why do I have to explain my mission to duty officers in such detail, aren't they looking at my mission?

Unlike flight managers who plan 8-12 missions daily and flight following 8-12 others, duty officershave a broader perspective and are looking at all the active sorties within a single mission concept.  The TACC command and controls nearly 450 mobility sorties each day, so there is a lot going on when an individual calls in, and therefore the more detail provided, the more helpful a duty officer can be.

 Why was one leg of my mission planned for 260,000 pounds of cargo when we only had 130,000 pounds?

This mission is one of many that prove a long-standing issue with cargo weights as reflected in GDSS. In this instance, because the 260,000 was included in your computer flight plan, it is most likely because the FM received this at the "6-hour prior" call to ATOC before departure.  There is a commander-led effort in progress atTACC to rectify this.  We realize the importance of accurate cargo loads in generating precise and fuel-efficient computer flight plans.  We are committed to fixing this issue.

Can you add lattitude and longitude markings to weather maps (wind / Tstorms / icing / etc), so they can be used to compare data to the flight plan?

The TACC lead scripter coordinated with the agencies that produce these charts to include lat/long markings on these particular products. Just to clarify, latitude and longitude positions will not be added to the hazards themselves (i.e. severe turbulence over England), but only as a reference in the map background. These notations should now be appearing on some of these particular charts, and will be included in additional products as updates are made to the software system that produces them.

 During my last mission, Air Traffic Control amended my flight plan to a different route from the one provided in my IFM package. This is the third time ATC re-routed me along this particular itinerary, and it appears to be the locally preferred traffic routing. Is there a way I can submit this routing to TACC for inclusion in future IFM packages?

Our Flight Plans and Global Airspace branch coordinates future flight plan routings; please pass the routing you've observed to that branch.

 During my last trip, which consisted of two different types of missions combined (a “front half” and “back half” mission), I had to coordinate with TACC for an extra crew rest due to an excessive number of flying hours planned within 7 days. Why was my mission planned to exceed 7 day flight hour limitations?

There are 3 separate Planning Directorates within TACC, each of which is responsible for a different mission type. However, all TACC Planners are required to check overall 7‐day times when planning missions. Although this particular mission was planned by the same Directorate, different divisions (planning shops focused on more specific mission types) each planned their respective half of the mission, and erred in not accommodating the 7‐day flight time overage when joining the two missions.

To correct this problem, a TACC working group recently implemented a standardized TACC planning checklist. We are in the process of incorporating this product into the daily operations of all three TACC Planning Directorates. This checklist includes a specific step to ensure that flight hour restrictions are not exceeded once two separate missions are connected and flown by one crew. In the meantime, the Planning Directorate that handled your mission passed your feedback to their supervisors, and highlighted it as a particular item of interest during the review process.

 How does flight level wind data get input into FM package?

Our standard procedures call for us to include wind charts in IFM packages. Specifically, we include the planned flight level, 10,000ft, and 24,000ft. At the time we received this feedback (Sept 2012) the organization creating these charts had experienced several extended outages over the course of about 6 months that resulted in the inability to provide the products. It is possible that missions that had packages missing flight level wind data were built during these outages. Normally, this product is automatically included/added to the package, and the TACC Weather Directorate was alerted to watch for any ommissions. Although this issue should now be corrected, please let your FM know immediately if you notice any products missing from your IFM package.

 Is it possible to regularly schedule longer-than-minimum crew rest times (preferably 18-20 hrs) on a particular OEF Channel mission?

The only time Channel schedulers plan minimum ground time for any mission would be due to MOG or OPS hours at one of the downrange locations. XOG schedulers assume a minimum of 18+00 for crew rest times, then make adjustments as needed but rarely go lower than 18+00.

We also consider previous crew feedback regarding crew rests at particular stops along the itinerary (for example, recommending less crew rest on one location vs. the next one). We accommodate requests where possible, but do not generally go lower than 18+00. Schedulers look at the length of the crew's last duty day and, if possible, give them a couple more hours of crew rest at larger/better equipped en route locations if the prior duty day was longer than 21+00. Every mission is different and Channel schedulers try to consider all possible scenarios.

 Where can I pass on airfield-specific information that would be useful to other aircrews or mission planners?

Please pass that information to the AMC Airfield Helpdesk for potential inclusion in the airfield's Giant Report.

How can I contact a specific organization assigned to the 618th AOC (TACC)?

Contact the base locator at 618-256-1110 (DSN 576-1110).

Where can I submit a Freedom of Information Act request to the 618th AOC (TACC)?

Send your request via e-mail to amca6.a6obr@scott.af.mil or mail your request to: 

203 WEST LOSEY ST, RM 3640 
SCOTT AFB IL 62225-5223 

The telephone number for the point of contact is 618-229-5402 or 618-229-5710. 

"If dissatisfied with the response from the center, you may contact the FOIA Public Liaison, HQ AF FOIA Office at (703) 588-6102 or email af.foia@pentagon.af.mil."

Can I work with the 618th AOC (TACC) to have humanitarian donations moved overseas?

Contact USAID for assistance in transporting humanitarian donations.

Contact Us

To contact a specific individuals or sections on Scott Air Force Base, call the base operator at 618-256-1110.

For media visit requests please contact the 618th AOC (TACC) through email at 618tacc.pa@us.af.mil or call the  Public Affairs Officer at 618-229-2999.