Tasia Nevilles, a reporter with Sioux City, Iowa TV station KCAU 9 visited the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City this week. Nevilles was on base to do a story about the unit’s “BOSS” mid-air refueling simulator.
The BOSS or Boom Operator Simulation System is a training device that, according to the manufacture FAAC’s website, provides an “immersive training environment” for KC-135 boom operator training.
Nevilles got to spend time in the BOSS and even had a chance to lay in the simulator with 185th ARW boom operator Master Sgt. Jayson Stoos. Nevilles got to experience the same training 185th boom operators experience with the BOSS.
According to Stoss it is not unusual for the unit’s boom operators to spend long periods of time in the back of one of the unit’s KC-135 aircraft delivering fuel. Stoss said that having the BOSS allows 185th boom operators to make the most of the time afforded to them on busy drill weekends and during their scheduled training times throughout the year.
After demonstrating some of the BOSS’s capabilities Stoos switched places with Nevilles which put her in the “driver’s seat” of the simulator.
“This is like a huge video game,” said Nevilles, while struggling to get comfortable laying on her stomach in the simulator that is designed to look and feel like the real thing.
Stoos says a significant benefit of the simulator is having the training available anytime it is needed. He added that the training available with the BOSS also affects the unit’s bottom line because of cost savings in fuel.
“Another benefit is that we get to experience things in the BOSS the that allow us to be ready for emergencies, but we get to do it while we are safely on the ground,” said Stoos.
Although her first try with the BOSS was not particularly successful Nevilles said she went away with a good understanding of the unit’s unique air refueling mission.