How USAF Flight Attendants Earn Their Wings> Air Education and Training Command> Post Display
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – You won’t find them on a cargo plane or fighter plane, but flight attendants are important crew members on distinguished visiting planes. They begin their journey here at the 344th Training Squadron Career Airmen Center of Excellence.
Approximately 42 students become certified U.S. Air Force flight attendants each year through the Basic Flight Attendant course.
The BFA course lasts 25 academic days and is divided into three blocks: General Flight Attendant Knowledge, Mission Scenarios (Culinary) and Aircraft Emergency Procedures. Each class has a maximum of six students.
“It allows us, as instructors, to give the right amount of attention to all students,” Tech said. Sgt. Becca Rumsey, student teacher of the BFA course.
When learning outside of the classroom, students receive hands-on training in a static Boeing VC-135E aircraft located outside of the school. The plane has already flown military leaders and their guests around the world.
“Having this plane allows them to practice playing,” Rumsey said. “They can see and feel how it’s going to work on an airplane.”
At the end of August, the six students in class 21-008 were on their last block of training – emergency procedures or plane exit.
“This block is where they learn their main job of getting passengers off the plane safely,” Tech said. Sgt. Autumn Murphy, Section Head and BFA Course Instructor.
During the evacuation training, the six students took turns going through the procedures for planned and unplanned evacuations. Rumsey acted as a pilot or aircraft commander during practice. During the planned evacuations, she provided specific instructions to the students. The unplanned evacuations began with a strong “BRACE, BRACE, BRACE” command from Rumsey.
Most of the students trained in other Air Force career areas. The 21-008 class was an even mix of NCOs and Airmen.
“Recently we have started to take Airmen out of basic military training,” Rumsey said. “It was an adjustment; we had to fill these roles as mentoring and teaching non-commissioned officers.
“This is the second step on their journey to becoming a certified flight attendant,” said Murphy. “Prior to this course, they were following the fundamentals of flight attendants, which last for nine days. “
The foundation course is also offered at the 344th TRS here.
“The first block concerns the flight attendant mission. We inform them of the different planes, crew positions and bases where they might be stationed, ”said Rumsey.
During mission scenarios or cooking blocks, students learn to plan, prepare, cook, and create their own meal plans. Student meal plans should include a boarding drink, salad, soup, main course, and dessert. They also learn the importance of food storage, food safety and how to manage food allergies in passengers.
“We take the students shopping for the meals they are planning,” said Rumsey. “As flight attendants, we will plan and shop our meals. We make everything from scratch, so everything we serve is fresh.
“We also teach them how to interact with passengers,” Murphy said. “They have to remember that they are the flight attendant and that it is their job to protect the passengers. “
After completing the BFA, students take Survival Escape Resistance and Escape Courses at Fairchild AFB, Washington. Once they have completed the SERE, they will receive additional training at their duty station.
“We are face to face with world leaders,” said Rumsey.
“It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had, but definitely the most rewarding,” Murphy said.
All six students in class 21-008 have successfully completed the BFA course and are on their way to becoming fully qualified flight attendants in the Air Force.
“I’m so happy with how far we’ve come,” said Rumsey.