Local

April 20, 2012

Edwards parachute testers jump at chance to test

Tags:
by Jet Fabara
95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Air Force photograph by 1st Lt. Jonathan Sepp
Senior Airman Jonathan Case, 418th Flight Test Squadron Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialist and test parachutist, jumps during a parachute test April 10 with a new constant-wear back-style parachute that is intended to eventually replace the old parachute system equipped on the AC-130 Gunship.

In an environment where flight test is synonymous with the words Edwards Air Force Base, aircraft aren’t the only components being tested on a continued basis.

Thanks to a team under the 418th Flight Test Squadron, the Parachute Test Team at Edwards continues to provide peace of mind for flyers and aircrew personnel who rely on knowing their parachute system has been tested and proven to work.

“The last thing a pilot wants to think about in flight test is jumping out of the aircraft so it’s our responsibility to ensure an unproven parachute system functions without any room for error,” said 1st Lt. Jonathan Sepp, 418th Flight Test Squadron Test Parachute Program commander. “Although we don’t develop anything, what we do is personnel testing which involves testing parachute systems based on the needs of the Air Force and verifying that it actually works.”

Although the team officially falls under the 418th Flight Test Squadron, Sepp said there are many other entities that play a role in executing each test with the employment of associate organizations under the 412th Test Wing.

“Because it’s a real small team, we depend on a test engineer who writes the test plans, airdrop and drop zone personnel, a team of parachute riggers who pack and inspect all the parachutes during tests as well as an operations manager and the test parachutists, which includes Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists,” said Sepp, who also doubles as a flight test engineer for the Parachute Test Team.

When it comes to the parachute’s design, Sepp said the test team provides feedback that will eventually be incorporated into the overall design of the unproven or proven parachute system.

“Initially, when there is a new parachute system, the harnesses are brought to us and we’ll hang from a crane in order to perform a field analysis,” added Staff Sgt. David Watters, 412th Operations Support Squadron SERE specialist. “Additionally, we’ll apply the different configurations necessary for the different types of jumps to see how it feels, to include being dragged down a field. It’s a very hands-on approach after the analytical side is completed.”

After the teams write up the human factors portion that inquires about how everything feels once the parachute is worn, while in use or when simply wearing the parachute system, Watters said the remainder involves the operational portion at a local drop zone.

Aside from the testing parachutes, Watters said a good portion of the testing also involves an aircrew member’s helmet; maintaining proficiency in airborne photography; testing new instruments that come out; and even testing everything from boots, uniforms and commercial products the Air Force may consider buying.

“Although it is called test parachuting, it’s not just about testing new parachutes, we also test aircrew equipment capability and compatibility with an old parachute developed in a new way to wear,” said Senior Airman Jonathan Case, 418th Flight Test Squadron SERE specialist, currently in a billet for a test parachutist.

Currently, the team is testing a new back-style parachute on the AC-130 Gunship that will act as a replacement for the old parachute system equipped on the aircraft and contain a new and more comfortable constant-wear system, according to Sepp.

“The parachute system that is being testing right now is a constant wear parachute and will enable aircrew on that aircraft to get out faster, giving them a much higher rate of survival if something did happen to the aircraft,” said Case. “As with anything in flight test, it has to be proven before it can be taken in a real world situation. You’re not just counting on yourself; you have other team members that depend on you as well and you don’t want to put a live individual under a worst case scenario for the first time with something that has never been tested.”

Initial testing on the AC-130 Gunship parachute system is expected to be completed this month.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Separated but not alone

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho–As the dawn broke out over the mountains, I woke up to the sun peeping through my window. Once I got up I went straight to the kitchen to make my family breakfast yet in the back of my mind, all I could think about was, how am I going...
 
 
duck-blind2

Duck blind drawing slated for Aug. 8

Waterfowl hunters can participate in the annual duck blind drawing scheduled Aug. 8 at the Rod and Gun Activity, Bldg. 210. Base hunting permits may be submitted to drawing officials from 9 a.m. until the actual drawing begins,...
 
 
LPGA1

Free golf clinics with LPGA tour player

Air Force photographs by Rebecca Amber Ladies Professional Golf Association tour player Stephanie Louden demonstrates how to correctly use three golf clubs, a wedge, a 7-iron and a driver during the free golf clinic July 24. Lo...
 

 

NASA’S American Eatery (Bldg. 4825)

Aug. 3-7 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday Beef taco salad Tuesday Lasagna Side salad and garlic bread Wednesday Country fried steak Mashed potatoes and gravy Vegetables Thursday Orange chicken Fried rice and egg roll Friday Baked cod Macaroni and cheese Broccoli All Blue Plate Specials — $7.89 Drink not included. Medium Beverage, $1.99; Large,...
 
 

Air Force promotes fatigue countermeasures

Human fatigue results from sleep deprivation. Fatigue has become a growing concern in the Air Force as sustained and continuous operations, along with global deployments, are stretching the ability of our forces to meet growing mission demands. Some Airmen may question whether fatigue is really a big enough hazard to worry about. Fatigue can decrease...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Chrissy Best

Losing sleep: CSAF shares what keeps him up at night

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Chrissy Best Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III speaks with 501st Combat Support Wing Airmen during an all call at Royal Air Force Croughton, England, July 16. Welsh explained the...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>