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.


 
 

 

News Briefs June 26, 2015

Legal office closure The base legal office will be closed for legal assistance July 2. For more information, call 661-277-4310. Lt. Col. Promotion Team Edwards is cordially invited to a promotion party 4:30 p.m., June 26 at Pancho’s in Club Muroc to celebrate the newest lieutenant colonel selectees. The selectees are: Michael Batchelor, 412th Aircraft...
 
 

Leaders: the good, bad, and forgotten

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas–It’s been my Air Force experience there are three categories of leaders- the Good, the Bad, and the Forgotten. Everyone reading this probably thinks they’re in the first category, but we know that’s not the case. Airmen who work for you certainly wish that were true, but not every leader’s an...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

AFTC needs to be ‘agile, ready, right’

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, hands the Air Force Test Center guidon to Maj. Gen. David Harris June 18. Harris assumed command from Maj. Gen. Arnold W. Bu...
 

 

Enhance teamwork, effectiveness, significance and leadership skills!

Comprehensive Airman Fitness is comprised of a multitude of targeted programs and activities as well as resiliency skills taught to enable Airmen to make sound choices. The program’s goal is to build and sustain a thriving and resilient Air Force community that fosters mental, physical, social and spiritual fitness. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen....
 
 

AFMC Employee Assistance Program services

Personal problems can affect the lives of employees both at home and at work. To help prevent, identify and resolve potential stressors or issues, Air Force Materiel Command partners with Federal Occupational Health to provide our Employee Assistance Program services. EAP services are offered free (limitations apply) to civilians and their family members. The EAP...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Patric Lovato

Annie Banannie dazzles during summer reading program

Air Force photograph by Patric Lovato Balloons come to life during Annie Banannie’s story time for the kids at the base library June 19. The story’s hero utilizes laser vision, just one of his many super powers, to combat t...
 




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>