Published in The Enterprise Ledger
By Brent Zell (Jun 12, 2017)
ENTERPRISE, Ala. - By the time most people read this, James Bullinger will be near the top of the world.
Bullinger, of Level Plains, was scheduled to be scaling to the highest point along the equator this week, as his latest mountain-climbing adventure took him to Ecuador to tackle Cayambe and Chimborazo.
The number of feet climbed in the two conquests will be 18,996 for Cayambe and 20,565 for Chimborazo.
“I’m excited, but I’m also a little apprehensive because of the altitude,” Bullinger said in an interview with the Ledger before his trip began.
Bullinger was planning to make this trip in April, but it was cancelled. He gets his second chance at them, with Cayambe being the fastest point on Earth in the planet’s rotation, while Chimborazo is the closest point to the sun on Earth.
Bullinger has also scaled mountains such as Mount Shasta and Mount Whitney. He said he most enjoys the physical challenge mountain climbing presents, as well as the “sheer beauty and majesty” of being up in the mountains. In one of the videos on his YouTube channel, Bullinger and the rest of the climbers he was with atop Mount Whitney were there when the sun rose that morning. The sun hits the top of Mount Whitney before it hits anywhere else in California, he said, which meant his shadow was being cast across the state.
“It’s just incredible just how far, you know, my shadow was being cast — out toward the Pacific Ocean,” he said.
Bullinger said tens of thousands of people apply to get permits to climb Mount Whitney, but not everybody makes it to the summit.
“I kind of feel blessed to do that,” he said of getting to the top.
To deal with the challenges high altitude presents, including acute mountain sickness, Bullinger has purchased an altitude training system that allows him to take oxygen out of the air when breathing through the device’s mask. For example, he recently was able to simulate air conditions at more than 16,000 feet for more than an hour to help his acclimation. He also has used a painter’s mask by taping down the air flow going into the mask, forcing him to breathe through two tiny air holes. That simulates close to 8,000 feet in altitude, he said.
“You have to really exert pressure on you lungs to suck the air in, and it creates a little bit of hypoxia [oxygen deficiency], which also helps with basically tricking your body,” Bullinger said.
Other training he has done includes running stairs at the Enterprise High School football stadium and at the Fairfield Inn and Suites.
Bullinger is being joined on the trip by Nick Ciuzio of Enterprise.
Two college students were recently awarded an Adam Gay Scholarship.
Since 2004, Navigator Development Group Inc. has awarded scholarships for educational expenses at an accredited two-or-four year college for the children, grandchildren and other dependents of its employees.
This year’s recipients of a $1,000 scholarship were: Katie Clarke of New Brockton and Samantha Bullinger of Enterprise.
Katie is a two time recipient of a Navigator sponsored scholarship. She is currently attending Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in Opp in the cosmetology department and will continue her education to become an esthetician.
Samantha Bullinger is a senior at Auburn and plans to graduate in December. Following graduation, she will begin her graduate studies in Industrial Organizational Psychology.
Headquartered in Enterprise, Navigator is a service disabled, veteran-owned small business with a diversified portfolio of services in the aviation, training and technology markets.
The new CAE Dothan Training Center boasts state-of-the-art classrooms, a suite of high-fidelity simulators and training devices inside its modern facility. But what’s brought into the facility that speaks volumes for it’s high tech capability is a tiny little chip the size of a camera memory card.
Each day when student aviators take off, that chip records a video of inside the cockpit with them flying with an instructor. Every action and comment is capture for later evaluation.
The training center is designed to provide a comprehensive fixed-wing flight training for U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force pilots and other customers. This is all accomplished through CAE and it’s team members, which includes Navigator Development Groups Inc.
Officials from CAE officially held a grand opening last month on the 79,000-square-foot facility, which included a fly-by from two of aircraft used for training, the Grob G120TP.
During the ceremony, CAE USA President and General Manager Ray Duquette said the vision of CAE is to be the recognized global training partner of choice. “We want to enhance efficiency, enhance safety and very important to the military is enhancing readiness,” he said. “We want to be the recognized partner of choice, which means we are doing what we said we would do, and doing it well.”
Duquette said CAE has not been alone on this journey to offer a competitive training service and deliver a solution in a short time frame for the Army.
“This project would not have been possible without our industry partners right here in Alabama,” he said. “And I thank our employees for your commitment to this partnership in doing what we said we would do—delivering in just 12 months a modern, flexible and cost effective training capability.”
The center, located at the Dothan Regional Airport, will train Army rotary wing helicopter pilots transitioning to the Army’s fleet of more than 350 fixed-wing aircraft. The program also offers a new Intial Entry Fixed-Wing Flight Traing program for the Army C-12/RC-12 Huron and the recurrent training of the Air Force C-12 Huron pilots.
About 600 students will go through the course each year. The course includes many hours of simulator and live flight training.
Members of Navigator’s enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System-Initial Variant Modification (EMARSS-IVM) New Equipment Training (NET) Team successfully trained the first group of key personnel at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
The Navigator team conducted the Initial Key Personnel Training (IKPT) for selected aviation and intelligence members from November 7 to December 16, 2016 at the U.S. Intelligence Center of Excellence (USAICoE) at Fort Huachuca.
During this time, the team successfully trained and certified the Army's first MC-12S-2 EMARSS-M (Multi-Intelligence) and MC-12S-3 EMARSS-V (Vehicle and Dismount Exploitation Radar) pilots, payload operators, remote sensor operators and mission managers. The EMARSS-IVM IKPT took place over a six-week period and consisted of four separate courses that provided military and civilian students with the required skills to operate and manage the MC-12S-2/3 aircraft, onboard sensors, and support equipment.
EMARSS is a manned multi-intelligence aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system that provides a persistent capability to detect, locate, classify, identify and track surface targets at day or night in near-all-weather conditions with a high degree of timeliness and accuracy. When fielded, EMARSS will provide direct support to brigade combat teams.
The students were trained to effectively perform their individual roles as an integrated and unified aircrew and mission support teams. The EMARSS-IVM NET Team will conduct the 15th Military Intelligence Battalion (Aerial Exploitation) Unit Training at Fort Huachuca from January 9 through February 24.
Navigator, a subcontractor to Sierra Nevada Corp (SNC) on the EMARSS-V program, provides instructional material and technical manual development, and training delivery.
From left to right: James Burton, instructor pilot; Ben Oliver, operator instructor; SSG Pimentel, mission manager; SFC Luis Lozada and SSG Nathan Hudson, payload operators; John Carr, operator instructor; and Mike Wear, instructor pilot.