It takes an entire village to raise a child, and it takes an entire squadron to get an aircraft in the air, keep it there, and make sure the personnel on board are safe. The 563rd Operations Support Squadron is one such squadron, but there is more than just aircraft maintenance involved. There are also routine inspections of safety equipment inside the aircraft to ensure the aircrew members are safe even in the case of an emergency. One of those inspections is a called a 30-day inspection.
“The 30-day inspection is a routine inspection on emergency parachutes, the back style automatic-18,” said Senior Airman Aradonis Perry, 563rd OSS aircrew flight equipment technician.
The BA-18 emergency bailout parachute is part of the emergency bailout system implemented in several aircrafts including the C-130 Hercules. The system is designed to deploy the parachute automatically at an approximate altitude of 14,000 ft. It is also capable of being manually deployed by pilots at lower altitudes. It is the aircrew flight equipment technician’s job to ensure these parachutes deploy properly.
“We go through and check the integrity of the parachutes,” Perry said. “We make sure they are operational and in working order.”
Aircrew flight equipment technicians use the 30-day inspection to make sure that all pre-positioned safety equipment including parachutes, quick-don oxygen masks, and protective clothing kits are functional, not due for an inspection, and downloaded or uploaded as necessary. Equipment that needs to be inspected or is showing some kind of malfunction is taken down and replaced with fully functional equipment ensuring that in the case of emergency, personnel can safely evacuate the aircraft.
“These inspections are really important because they allow us to be able to support the rescue mission,” Perry said. “We’re also able to see the impact the life support and survival equipment have on the aircrew members who use them on a daily basis.”