News & Events

/KBFS Helps Restore Church Steeple in Tulsa, OK

On September 11, 2019, KBFS assisted Tulsa, Oklahoma area contractors in installing a new steeple on a church roof. The Central Church of the Nazarene, on 81st Street in Tulsa, lost its steeple, installed in 1981, to storm damage back in May. Project coordinators had been planning for the day a new steeple could be lifted into place and community members watched as KBFS’s MD530F Light Utility Helicopter did the lifting. Tulsa’s Channel 6 covered the event.

Channel 6 Coverage

The complete video capture by Channel 6’s helicopter appears below.

/KBFS Helps Restore Church Steeple in Tulsa, OK

A still fropm Tulsa SkyNews 6 footage shows the MD530F helicopter preparing to lift the steeple.


On September 11, 2019, KBFS assisted Tulsa, Oklahoma area contractors in installing a new steeple on a church roof. The Central Church of the Nazarene, on 81st Street in Tulsa, lost its steeple, installed in 1981, to storm damage back in May. Project coordinators had been planning for the day a new steeple could be lifted into place and community members watched as KBFS’s MD530F Light Utility Helicopter did the lifting. Tulsa’s Channel 6 covered the event.

Channel 6 Coverage

The complete video capture by Channel 6’s helicopter appears below.

Jan Smith, CEO, receives the Greater Alabama Council, Boy Scouts of America “Heart of an Eagle” Award

August 21, 2019 – Jan Smith, CEO, received the Heart of an Eagle Award from the Greater Alabama Council, Boy Scouts of America.  The Heart of an Eagle Award is given to deserving individuals who have demonstrated leadership, character and integrity in their service to the community, their profession and their country.  Jan was recognized at a luncheon along with Captain (U.S. Army Retired) Gary (Mike) Rose, Medal of Honor Awardee, as well as the Semper Fi Community Task Force.  Guest speaker for the event was the “Voice of the Crimson Tide” Eli Gold.  Her personal motto has served her well; ‘Destiny is a matter of choice, not a matter of chance.’ That motto has also driven her choices to serve with her personal time and philanthropy to a host of 501c3 organizations that benefit Huntsville, our soldiers, and our nation, inclusive of the following: U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville Community Foundation, Huntsville Botanical Gardens, Burritt on the Mountain, Huntsville Community Orchestra, Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology, University of Alabama in Huntsville, American Heart Association, National Museum of the United States Army, the Army Aviation Association of America, and many more.   Jan’s service to the community is in keeping with the highest ideals of what an Eagle stands for within Scouting and her recognition was well deserved. 

“Rock Steady” Team Summits Mt. Piegan

is proud to have been a sponsor for the AAAA Climb for the Soldier “Rock Steady” Team. The goal was to climb Mt. Piegan in Glacier National Park, Montana, to raise money for the veteran’s organization, Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, which is a group of vets helping vets in North Alabama. This was a 4.61 mile, very tough, climb.

The Climb took place on August 19, 2019. Participating were Steven Sanders, Sr., Steven Sanders, Jr., LTG Neil Thurgood, Cliff Calhoun, and Steve Mathias. Four of the five are current active duty, or veterans of the U.S. Army; the fifth is a former ROTC Cadet Commander and Raider Team member from Sparkman High School.

“Rock Steady” Team after completing their climb

Sponsors Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Homecoming Celebration

Apollo 11 50-Year Anniversary Celebration Patch

was proud to be a sponsor of the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Homecoming Celebration Dinner held at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center on July 16, 2019. CEO Jan Smith along with Tony Porter, Bob Johnson, Dennis Vaughn, Jim and Margenia Charlton, and Jeff and Alice Mockensturm represented . Tommy Tuberville, prior coach at Auburn University and now running for Alabama Senate (R), and Wayne Parker, his campaign manager, were the two VIP guests seated at the sponsored table.

This celebration was in recognition of the historic mission when the massive Saturn V lofted Apollo 11 astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins heavenward to the moon. The world then watched and listened as Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969.

CEO Jan Smith and VIP Tommy Tuberville at the  table

At a 1970 farewell event in downtown Huntsville, Dr. Wernher von Braun stated: “My friends, there was dancing in the streets of Huntsville when our first satellite orbited earth. There was dancing again when the first Americans landed on the moon. I’d like to ask you, don’t hang up your dancing slippers.” Nearly fifty years later, Vice President and Chairman of the National Space Council Mike Pence visited the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville and made this commitment: “It is the stated policy of this Administration and the United States of America to return American astronauts to the Moon within the next five years.”

 CEO Jan Smith and Margrit von Braun with an indoor replica of the Saturn V

Many renowned dignitaries were in attendance, including Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11 & Gemini XII), Tom Stafford (Apollo 10 & Gemini VI), Al Worden (Apollo 15), Jack Lousma (Skylab 3 & STS 3), Ed Gibson (Skylab 4), Bob Springer (STS 29 & 38), Bob Stewart (STS 41-B & 51-J), Jan Davis (STS 47, 60 & 85), and Larry DeLucas (STS-50). Other honored guests were author Homer Hickam; Saturn/Apollo veterans; Dr. Wernher von Braun’s children, Iris Robbins and Margrit and Peter von Braun; and Marshall Space Flight Center Director Jody Singer.

While the night had several speakers, the two that were exceptionally notable were Ms. Margrit von Braun and Governor of Alabama Kay Ivey. Ms. von Braun, daughter of Dr. Wernher von Braun, was the keynote speaker, and Governor Ivey paid tribute to the role of Huntsville in the success of the Apollo Program and to emphasize the important mission of MSFC in “return to the moon and beyond.”

A spectacular light show completed the night’s events.

Sponsors Alabama Update Luncheon

CEO Jan Smith and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey

was pleased to be a sponsor for the Alabama Update Luncheon on July 10, 2019 at the Huntsville Madison County Chamber in downtown Huntsville. The featured speaker for this event was Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. Prior to the luncheon, CEO Ms. Jan Smith, SVP Bob Johnson, AMCOM Express Director Jim Charlton, and JRS3/MDA Director Jeff Mockensturm were invited to attend a major donors’ reception.

Governor Ivey is no stranger to hard work, having worked on her father’s farm in South Alabama. After graduating from Auburn University, Governor Ivey worked several jobs until she became the Reading Clerk of the Alabama House of Representatives and was the Assistant Director for the Alabama Development Office.

While pursuing her service to the State of Alabama, Governor Ivey has accomplished many “first” distinctions. In 2002, Governor Ivey was the first Republican-elected State Treasurer since Reconstruction, and was re-elected in 2006. In 2010 she was elected Lieutenant Governor, which made her the first Republican woman to hold the office in Alabama history. In 2017, Governor Ivey was sworn in at 54th Governor for the State of Alabama due to a vacancy and elected to serve a full term in 2018, which made her the first Lt. Governor of Alabama elected to a full term after taking over as Governor due to a vacancy. As a Girls State alumnus, she is also the first to be elected to a constitutional office in Alabama.

Governor Ivey is an active member of her church, serves as a board member to several organizations, and has received numerous awards for her service to the State of Alabama.

Attends USAACE Aviation Industry Days

Pictured at the Aviation Industry Days booth is Gary Servold, Director CDD Ft. Rucker, and Jennifer Otstot, Ft. Rucker Office Manager.

The US Army Aviation Center of Excellence (USAACE) held its annual Aviation Industry Days Event July 24th-25th at Fort Rucker’s “The Landing” facility. This event offers a first-hand look at the latest innovations in Aviation. joined over 40 different exhibitors that came to offer an insight on their company, capabilities, products, services, and new technologies. The USAACE and Army Futures Command (AFC) provided insightful briefings and discussion panels on critical Army Aviation issues.

This forum allowed the opportunity for recruiting, client interface, and to update our knowledge of Army and Aviation issues, challenges, and opportunities. Many of the patrons were eager, providing resumes after learning about all has to offer and its broad range of capabilities. Fort Rucker employees volunteered to man the the booth and had the opportunity to meet USAAC/AFC leadership and interface with our customers and potential future customers. Their professionalism, knowledge, and positive attitude were the key to our success and showcased talent and capabilities to event attendees.

Proudly Supports “Climb for the Soldier” AAAA Team!

AAAA Climb for the Soldier: S3 Proudly Supports the Rock Steady Team and Our Nation's Veterans

On August 19, 2019, a team of five Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA) members will embark on a challenging climbing expedition in the heart of Glacier National Park, Montana. Team “Rock Steady” has set their sights on reaching the summit of Mt. Piegan in an effort to raise money to support Combat Veterans along the way. System Studies & Simulation () is proud to be one of the sponsors for this inspiring team.

“Climb for the Soldier” alumni Steven Sanders, Sr. and Steven Sanders, Jr. will be joined for this year’s event by friends and fellow AAAA members Neil Thurgood, Cliff Calhoun, and Steve Mathias. While Steven, Sr. and Steven, Jr. have almost ten years of experience climbing at Glacier National Park, this will be the first climb for the other members of Rock Steady.

The route covers 4.61 miles of challenging terrain and over 3000 ft. of elevation change. The ascent will begin at the Siyeh Bend Trail Head in Glacier National Park, 6000 ft. above sea level. The team plans to climb to the summit of Mt. Piegan, over 9000 ft. above sea level, and team members are hopeful time and conditions will permit an attempt to summit Mt. Pollock as well. The team will enjoy breathtaking scenery and views while facing the challenges of scrambles over difficult terrain, including large scree fields and glacier snow, and possible encounters with active wildlife, including bears and mountain goats.

As an added incentive to complete the climb and for esprit de corps, Rock Steady is using this opportunity to raise money for the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA), Tennessee Valley Chapter. In addition to company donations, climbers are collecting pledges of $1 for every 100 ft. of elevation completed in the climb. The team’s travel costs and climbing expenses are self-funded; all proceeds will go directly to the CVMA and their mission to help veterans in North Alabama and support deployed Soldiers during times of need. The team’s goal is to raise more than $3000 for the CVMA, and is excited to be one of the corporate sponsors that can help make this goal possible!

For more information about the climb or to inquire about pledging support, visit the link below:

https://www.emailmeform.com/builder/emf/janicedarrowby/climbforthesoldierpledge

Photo by Jonathan Ouimet on Unsplash

/KBFS Crestview Successfully Executes First Year (Plus) of Training with Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX

A view from within the aircraft shows an instructor preparing to toss the SATB while the aircraft is aloft.

/KBFS loadmaster instructor Sean Sullivan throws a standard air training bundle (SATB) from the aircraft on a recent training sortie

On 22 May, /KBFS Crestview graduated C-208B Class 19-02, composed of four Cessna Caravan pilots from the C-208B Airland/Airdrop Mission Instructor Qualification Course. These individuals will take their newly acquired knowledge of the Cessna Caravan overseas where they will immediately begin training their host-nation counterparts. A first for Crestview was running simultaneous training in two separate courses; the aforementioned airdrop course ran simultaneously with the still ongoing RC-208 Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Class 19-03, comprised of four USAF pilots and mission system operators (MSO). Over the next 2.5 years, , Inc and KBFS will supply dozens of qualified Air Force Instructor Pilots, Loadmasters and Mission System Operators to the Air Advisor program, ultimately ensuring the success of this vital mission overseas.

A view from the cockpit as the aircraft approaches a mountain landing strip

/KBFS instructors fly approach to mountain landing strip with an Air Force student

The Cessna 208B Caravan is a highly versatile aircraft that features a powerful Pratt & Whitney PT6A-140 engine producing 867 shaft horsepower (shp): the aircraft is capable of hauling up to 14 passengers or 3,692 pounds of cargo. The ’Van can even be equipped with floats for amphibious operation. Originally designed with a round dial or “steam gauge” cockpit in 1981, starting in 2008 the aircraft came equipped with the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit from the factory. The aircraft was intended for hauling passengers and cargo, but was quickly adopted by the military and given the designation of U-27A. Since that time, the Caravan’s mission set has expanded to include airdrop, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), and ISR (designated the RC-208B for Afghanistan); attack versions (the AC-208 “Combat Caravan”) are currently being operated by numerous countries.

/KBFS’s Caravan training courses are designed in a modular fashion to allow the customer to essentially “choose their own adventure.” Typically, the government students attend FightSafety International’s tried and true Caravan simulator training in Wichita, KS. With this course under their belt, students arrive in Crestview, FL to begin live flight training in /KBFS’s aircraft. Upon arrival, all students attend Qualification/Instrument training; this is where the students learn the basics of operating the aircraft safely.  Once this first phase is complete, the students’ progress to the tailorable mission-specific training, including airland and/or airdrop or ISR. Optional courses are also offered, including mountainous flight and night vision goggle training (NVG).

With the success of the current Caravan program and the previous Pilatus PC-12NG courses (which ran from 2014–2018), rising demand is driving continued growth in Crestview.  The US Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command (AETC) is gearing up to send even more students in 2020 than in 2019. Additional work from the nearby Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) is anticipated as well.  Air Forces Northern (AFNORTH) will continue to sponsor a minimum of two Mexican military and law enforcement classes each year as well. To meet this added demand, Crestview has secured a lease on a second aircraft and hired two additional part-time pilots.

For additional information, please contact Marcel Benoit, C-208, PC-12, MD530F and Mi-17 Training Program Manager.

/Kachemak Bay Announces Move to New Hangar

KBFS – Hanger 11

Kachemak Bay Flying Service (KBFS) recently moved its Part 141 flight training and Part 135 On-Demand Transport operations.  S3’s wholly-owned subsidiary for commercial aviation operations did not leave Draughon-Miller Airport in Temple, TX – just moved these operations to the other side of the airport to Hangar 11 where flight training and transport are now only two doors down from KBFS’ Part 145 Avionics Repair Station.  KBFS sought to move operations during the late summer to more closely consolidate administrative and management functions for the multiple certificates it currently holds from the Federal Aviation Administration.  In the near future, once approved by the FAA Flight Standards District Office in San Antonio, the Part 145 Repair Station will also occupy Hangar 11, leaving Hangar 10 to accommodate only general aviation inspections and maintenance.  This consolidation in Hangar 11 will have the needed side effect of allowing faster scheduled services for aircraft owners who require work not associated with avionics.  All avionics installations and repairs will occur in Hangar 11 once FSDO approval is received.

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Last Updated 10/04/2022