Groundbreaking marks significant step in enhancing student pilot training

Staff Writer
Alice Echo News Journal

Naval Air Station Corpus Christi made a significant step towards enhancing student pilot training and modernizing facilities with the groundbreaking ceremony for P-450 Consolidated Squadron Operations, Academic and Flight Training Facility, July 30.

P-450 will consolidate the Training Air Wing 4 and its squadrons’ staff in one facility adjacent to the flightline.

Training Air Wing 4 is currently located away from the airfield in Building 1824, which was constructed in 1972, when Naval Air Training Command headquarters moved to Corpus Christi. The four squadrons that will be collocated in the facility – Training Squadrons 27, 28, 31 and 35 – are currently working in Hangars 55, 56 and 57, which were constructed in 1941.

The 44.2 million, 3-story, 116,920 square-foot facility will provide a permanent, modernized workspace for staff and squadron personnel who execute the T-6B and T-44C undergraduate flight training programs. It will contain classrooms, administrative spaces and squadron ready rooms. P-450 will support about 1,072 personnel, including 670 student naval aviators.

“Naval Air Station Corpus Christi has been home to pilot training since 1941,” said Capt. Chris Jason, NASCC commanding officer. “Across our historic flight line, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard students of today walk the same hallways as some our nation’s greatest heroes, including President George H. W. Bush, and Astronauts Alan Shepard, John Glenn, and Neil Armstrong. Though proud of this heritage, today’s students and instructors require a modernized facility that provides the highest quality training possible. We are thrilled to see construction begin on P-450 and will be eager to open the doors to a modernized facility that will produce trained pilots ready for today’s challenges.”

“We are excited to begin the construction of the new P-450 Consolidated Squadron Operations, Academic, and Flight Training Facility,” said Public Works Department Construction Manager Laura Burnett. “This is the first building of its kind to be constructed on base since the completion of the Flight Simulator – Building 83, in 2012.”

The new building will be constructed of precast concrete panels on a steel superstructure, a standing seam metal roof, and a deep auger pile foundation system. The structure of the building has been designed to prevent progressive collapse and will be the most resilient structure on NASCC. The project includes repaving the parking areas, a new washrack facility and the demolition of Building 89 to create additional parking adjacent to the flight line.

The project will also provide Anti-Terrorism Force Protection features and comply with ATFP regulations and physical security mitigation in accordance with Department of Defense. This includes standard force protection measures, such as mass notification systems, emergency shutoffs for ventilation systems, laminated windows, blast-resistant window and door frames, and emergency lighting and signage. This facility has been designed to provide innovative technologies and advanced mechanical systems all while maintaining maximum energy efficiency.

“Public Works and Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast have worked diligently with the contractor and Training Air Wing 4 to develop a mission-ready facility aimed to support the warfighter,” Burnett said. “The entire project team is poised and ready to support the construction efforts of the contractor and deliver a high quality product to our customer.”

“Bringing the team together in a single, state-of-the-art facility will streamline processes and considerably increase efficiency of our operations,” Training Air Wing 4 Commodore Capt. Jeremy Rifas said. “It will eliminate redundancies and improve communication flow up and down the chain. Furthermore, this amazing building will provide these hard-working aviators the workplace they deserve – clean, bright, solid air conditioning, and be able to withstand all the weather Corpus Christi can throw at it. With all that is happening right now, be it COVID or the budget, starting this project on time is a real testament to Skipper Jason and his team. We’re excited to see this project become reality and eagerly await its completion.”

URS Group, Inc., was awarded the contract in September 2018 and is expected to complete construction of the facility in July 2022.

“We’re excited to be working with NAVFAC and NAS Corpus Christi on this project. We feel we are well suited for success on this project and are looking forward to successfully delivering the new consolidated squadron operations facility to NAS Corpus Christi and Training Air Wing 4,” said Nate McQueen, AECOM project manager.

Naval Air Station Corpus Christi has been training naval aviators since May 1941, just months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Today, about 400 new pilots graduate annually from TW4 and enter the fleet.

Naval Air Training Command trains the world’s finest combat quality aviation professionals.