USAF Center of Excellence trains aircrew in fundamentals, inaugurates new altitude chamber

Chamber can hold up to 18 people; is one of ten nationwide

The Career Enlisted Aviator Center of Excellence is where enlisted aviators are trained in everything from aircrew fundamentals on aerodynamics to safety procedures in flight.

SAN ANTONIO – The Career Enlisted Aviator Center of Excellence is where enlisted aviators are trained in everything from aircrew fundamentals on aerodynamics to safety procedures in flight, and a critical part of the training includes an altitude chamber, as a way to measure a student’s physiological response to altitude.

“Our primary goal with the chamber is to teach them about hypoxia, which is the lack of oxygen to the brain caused by low pressure and not being able to pull enough oxygen molecules into your lungs because there’s less density of oxygen at altitude,” said Cameron Chisolm, an aerospace physiology technician, SSgt, USAF.

The chamber can hold up to 18 people and is one of 10 nationwide.

“So, our enlisted aviators are a vital member of the crew. They typically will go to the other chambers and we have this here for them now. So, this is dedicated entirely to the enlisted training pipeline mission at the three for 40 hours,” said Elizabeth Combs, Maj. USAF.

And not only is the Air Force’s Center of Excellence responsible for training students to efficiently transport cargo, but also provides in-flight comfort to passengers, for distinguished visitors traveling all over the world.

“We are training future flight attendants who will be going off to fly with our nation’s top leaders to include the Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, flying anywhere and everywhere,” Kaylee Northcutt, TSgt, USAF said.

Air Force flight attendants undergo three different blocks of training, including aircraft orientation, food prep and presentation.

“And then our last block is emergency procedures, where they learn to egress in aircraft. So, our standard school day is about 7:30 a.m. to 16:30 in the afternoon. It is a 25-day course, so it goes by fast. We throw a lot of information out at them, but they handle it well,” Northcutt said.

So, whether it be aircraft loadmasters, flight attendants or airborne mission systems operators, attention to detail is paramount.


About the Authors:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.