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Photo courtesy of the Air Force Flight Standards Agency Headquarters
Airmen with the Air force Flight Standards Agency run through their responsibilities in the Air Traffic Control Simulator. (Photo courtesy of the Air Force Flight Standards Agency Headquarters)
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AFFSA: new command at Tinker, new commander

Posted 9/28/2007   Updated 9/28/2007 Email story   Print story


by Brandice J. Armstrong
Tinker Public Affairs

9/28/2007 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE -- AFFSA -- Cleared for takeoff.
   The Air Force Flight Standards Agency, an Air Staff Agency, which recently relocated its headquarters to Oklahoma City as an associate unit of Tinker, is working on a new motto or "hooah" shout.
   "We are global operations," said Col. Kevin Degnan, AFFSA commander, who arrived at Tinker in June from the Inspection Division of the Office of the Inspector General at Air Education and Training Command Headquarters at Randolph AFB, Texas. "We set policy for global flight operations, and focus on air traffic control and airfield management."
   More specifically, AFFSA designs and writes the basic flight regulations and flight rules. They also support flight operations by examining the advanced cockpit displays and navigational capabilities, and support international flight rules. Yet, this only makes up about one-third of the AFFSA mission. The remaining two-thirds are dedicated to air traffic control and landing systems and airfield management.
   "We are essentially the lead command for the Air Force, for the acquisition and sustainment of those ATCALS," the colonel said. "We're here to be the Air Force's expert on these issues."
   In addition to its other responsibilities, AFFSA also writes policy and oversees the air traffic standards and evaluations program for the major commands when they execute inspections.
   AFFSA also offers an Advanced Instrument School, which had been at Randolph AFB, until a Base Realignment and Closure directive realigned them to AFFSA about a year ago.
   "They are the Ph.D.-level, Air Force graduate-level, school for instrument flight," Colonel Degnan said. "So we get senior instructors and evaluators from every airplane in the Air Force."
   The colonel said senior instructors and evaluators venture to AFFSA for a two-week in-depth course to learn policies and instrument procedures.
   "It takes them from being very capable pilots to being instrument experts," Colonel Degnan said.
   Within the next year, the colonel said the AFFSA hopes to add two F-16 simulators and two generic transport simulators to add an application segment to the theory and policy part of the class.
   "In a sense, almost everything we do is unique because there's no other organization in the Air Force that does it," the colonel said.
   Nearly 170 military members, civilians and contractors make up the AFFSA. They are spread out between three sites in the Oklahoma City metro including Bldg. 201W at Tinker, an office building on Mid-America Boulevard and the Federal Aviation Administration's Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center on S. MacArthur Boulevard, which will ultimately be the headquarters location in the next couple of years.
   Approximately 70 AFFSA members relocated from Andrews AFB, Washington, D.C., about a year ago due to the BRAC.
   AFFSA operates on an annual budget of $20 million, which is used to acquire and sustain ATCALS equipment. About $1 million of the budget is used toward temporary duty assignments.
   Because AFFSA is a staff agency, the unit does not deploy together as a group. But, on average, about 10 members are always deployed. Typical deployments are 179 or 365 days, Colonel Degnan said.
   So, at the end of the day, "AFFSA -- Cleared for takeoff" could be an appropriate motto.

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