Air Force develops learning path for professionals working Military commercial Derivative Aircraft

  • Published
  • By Air Force Life Cycle Management Center
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – In an effort to better prepare Air Force acquisition, sustainment, and maintenance professionals for work on Military Commercial Derivative Aircraft (MCDA) platforms, an Air Force team recently launched the Learning Path.

“A commercial derivative aircraft is an aircraft that is already available on the open market, that the military purchases and modifies for military requirements,” said Darren Veneman, a Logistics Manager with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s (AFLCMC) Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Special Operations Forces Directorate, and the team lead that created the Learning Path. "There is a lot of complexity with MCDA programs, they are unique in many ways, and they require people to understand the acquisition and sustainment processes, and how they may be different. The Learning Path is an important tool to the MCDA community in that it provides standardized training, available MCDA information, and puts it in one centralized location.”

The Learning Path was championed by Lansen Conley, the director of Logistics and Logistics Services. The training was then created in partnership with the Air Force Institute of Technology School of Systems and Logistics and the use of the AFIT Avolve Learning Path site.
The new program is interactive and contains hours of important content including details on getting a MCDA platform on contract, maintaining aircraft airworthiness and various requirements for operating a commercial derivative aircraft.

It is designed to not only be useful to someone new to a MCDA program, but it’s also beneficial to individuals with expertise, who are looking to refresh or update their knowledge.

“Learning how to acquire and sustain aircraft to Federal Aviation Authority requirements and operating them in military environment is very complex and takes years to master,” said Timothy Gray, director of Logistics for the AFLCMC Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate. “Until recently the primary method of learning and gaining knowledge was to be assigned a job in this environment and learning from the organization, mostly thru the experiences of those who had been assigned longer.  Thanks to the Learning Path that time to learn and gain knowledge has been extremely shortened.” 

“The goals of the Learning Path are not only to engage students, but also to give supervisors and senior leadership a tool to learn and train the MCDA workforce now and into the future and to create a tool accessible in their own timelines,” added Veneman. “There are a lot of individuals that are hungry for the information that comes with this material, and I’m very encourage that we now have this resource available.” 

The Air Force operates approximately 20 commercial derivative aircraft, to include VC-25A, C-37, C-40, T-1, MH-139, KC-46A platforms. 

The military across all services utilizes MCDA systems for a variety of mission sets.  The ability to field capability by using available commercial derivative products over new developments allows for the timely support of warfighter needs.  The use of proven commercial platforms that are FAA certified with items such as existing data packages, maintenance support structures, and supply networks provide a baseline to build and deploy a MCDA with reduction in cost and schedule.

“The support of the individual Program Executive Officers and Directors of Logistics from the Presidential and Executive Airlift, Mobility and Training Aircraft, and ISR/SOF Directorates have provided me with the latitude to lead this effort and develop this tool,” Veneman said. “In addition, the support of great mentors and friends, along the way, like Dr. Robert Marx and Joel Williamson have allowed the team to grow and to create a tool that reflects the vision of all individuals who have worked to bring MCDA weapon systems online and to be successful.”

“I am extremely proud of the team’s work,” said Brig. Gen. Jason Lindsey, Program Executive Officer for Presidential and Executive Airlift. “My entire organization will benefit from the CDA training materials — engineers, financial managers, program managers, contracting officers, and of course logistics specialists.  This learning path is incredibly valuable for anyone needing to learn or be reminded about the realities of acquiring or sustaining a CDA fleet.  This was long overdue, and I’m extremely pleased to be the beneficiary of this incredible effort.” 

To set up an account on the Learning Path, DoD Common Access Card users should visit: -or-