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452nd AMW, 163rd AW partner up for Malyasia Airshow

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Micah M. Coate
  • 452nd AMW Public Affairs

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, CALIF. — Airmen from the 452nd & 163rd Maintenance Squadrons here exhibited one of March’s MQ-9 Reapers and C-17 Globemaster IIIs at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition Tuesday March 26 through Saturday March 30 in Langkawi, Malaysia.

LIMA is one of the largest maritime and aerospace exhibitions in the Asia-Pacific region, which brings together government and military leaders and civilian industries from all over the world.

Staff Sgt. Theodore Allen Billingsley, an Avionics Technician assigned to the  163rd AMXS, said that the invitation came from the Malaysian Air Force.  The invitation was also extended to remotely piloted aircraft displays from Turkish and Chinese forces.

In order to get to the event, the remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) had to be deconstructed, packed and loaded into the C-17 for the fifteen hour flight that included stops in Hawaii and Guam.

However, less than an hour into the first leg of the flight, the team encountered an unexpected challenge when built up fuel vapors were accidentally released from the container that housed the RPA pieces, and the air crew thought that they were experiencing a fuel leakage while mid-air.

“They made us put on EPOS (Emergency Personal Oxygen Systems) hoods,” said Billingsley. “I texted a picture to my friend and he asked me what kind of Area 51 stuff were doing.”

Then, once in Langkawi, the crew experienced a few hiccups with setting up the drone display including a temporarily closed flight line, a four hour wait for a forklift and a few miscommunications with the Malaysian air traffic controllers.

Eventually though, the RPA was successfully built back up and put on display, along with the C-17, for the five-day-long show. Overall, Billingsley said the trip was a great experience.

"It was very humid and hot, but a lot of fun,” said Billingley. “It was a beautiful island and I think that we did awesome out there.”