During January, five personnel from the Inter-American Air Forces Academy, 318th Training Squadron (IAAFA; Lackland Air Force Base, TX) attended STAR4D® training. STAR4D and IAAFA have been working together since 2004 through the train-thetrainer program. Through this program, personnel from military instructional facilities can be trained to become STAR4D certified instructors. Instructors master the techniques and technologies STAR4D uses in its own training program, and learn ways to effectively teach their own training course. Facilities are also supplied with the necessary equipment such as spray guns, scales, and in some case, a VirtualPaint. Once certified and supplied with equipment, training can be conducted at the base utilizing STAR4D’s effective methods and materials.
One similarity between the STAR4D and IAAFA training is that both conduct training at their home facilities but also travel to conduct training on-site from time to time. Through the IAAFA course, students go through a 6-week session. The first half of the session is done in the classroom with the second half being hands-on, in-the-booth instruction and practice. Within that, 10 hours are spent training on the VirtualPaint.
Results from IAAFA’s training show consistent increases in transfer efficiency with reductions in both gallons of coating used and VOC's generated. Through STAR4D training efforts, IAAFA personnel estimate a savings of 5-8 times in waste reduction.
IAAFA has appreciated the quality assistance provided by the STAR4D program. During the most recent training course in Cedar Falls, they were impressed with the level and variety of experience of STAR4D staff commenting that it was not only one facet of the industry they are experts in, the staff have their own specialties whether it be CARC versus powder coating, or automotive finishing versus industrial. Personnel were also introduced to the newly developed blasting system which is similar to the VirtualPaint, except it focuses on blasting technology rather than paint application.
Within the U.S. Air Force, IAAFA is the only STAR4D certified training facility. They train new and experience spray technicians from 26 countries with the mission to train and educate America’s aerospace leaders, in Spanish. In 2010, IAAFA is expecting a new training facility to be complete; similar in setup to the STAR4D facility, IAAFA will be able to run a more efficient program with the potential for side-by-side VirtualPaint systems.