Defense

May 3, 2013

New parachute test to provide AC-130 aircrew with the best

Tags:
Jet Fabara
412th Test Wing Public Affairs

Tech. Sgt. Joseph Monreal, 418th Flight Test Squadron NCOIC of the Test Parachuting Program, deploys the Low Profile parachute after exiting a SC.7 Skyvan during a LPP test April 12, 2013 over the Edwards Farm Dropzone. The Low Profile Parachute is intended to replace the BA-22 parachute which is currently configured for use in the AC-130 gunship.

There’s a lot to be said by AC-130 gunship aircrew members who are proud of their heavily armed aircraft.

These aircraft have the latest in sophisticated weapons, high tech sensors, navigation and fire control systems; however, it lacked one thing – a lightweight parachute that was agile enough for the entire crew to use.

Thanks to the work of the Aircrew Performance Branch Program Office, part of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Agile Combat Support Directorate, and testing completed in April by the Global Reach Combined Test Force Test Parachutist Program, crew members aboard AC-130s will now have a lightweight alternative, the Low Profile Parachute.

“The LPP program is success story for Air Force Materiel Command’s newly established five-center construct. The five centers, which report directly to AFMC, include Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Air Force Test Center, Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, and Air Force Sustainment Center,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Lemanski, AFLCMC Aircrew Performance Branch†program manager. “The men and women of two of these centers, AFLCMC and AFTC, worked very closely to select and test a low-cost, commercially available emergency egress parachute suitable for the AC-130 community. Within AFLCMC, the Aircrew Performance Branch is responsible to the Air Force Program Executive Officer for Agile Combat Support for acquiring LPPs within cost, schedule and performance requirements and timelines.”

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Mensch, 418th FLTS parachute test jumper, exits a SC.7 Skyvan with a Low Profile parachute April 12, 2013 over the Edwards Farm Dropzone. The Low Profile Parachute is intended to replace the BA-22 parachute which is currently configured for use in the AC-130 gunship.

“Ultimately, AC-130 crew members needed a chute that was easy to walk around with while they executed their mission and they needed a parachute rig that was lighter and slimmer,” added Tech. Sgt. Joe Monreal, 418th FLTS NCOIC of Test Parachutist Program, who was also a test jumper during the test phase of the LPP. “After carefully going through the research, planning and selection phase in 2010, the LPP eventually proved to be the best alternative.”

According to Monreal, the LPP is intended to replace the BA-22 parachute which is currently configured for use in the AC-130 and weighs approximately 40 pounds, depending on the configuration.

“In addition to weighing nearly one-half of the BA-22, this new parachute will help save the Air Force money on the purchase price of emergency chutes and on the repacking cycle, but more importantly, it will help save lives of crew members that may find themselves in an egress situation,” added Monreal.

With the execution phase beginning in early February 2012, the team of test jumpers, flight test engineers, human factors engineers, rigger support specialists and drop zone safety officers, all said that to get to the completion phase, extensive training had to be completed before any of the test jumpers could don the LPPs.

“Before we could perform actual jumps, we first had to accomplish wind tunnel training in Perris, Calif., with the parachutes,” Monreal said.
“After this, we outfitted dummies with the LPPs and used a World War II B-25 Bomber and SC.7 Skyvan to drop them out of the bomb bay. Soon after this, we began staging out of the California City airport in order to execute live drops at the Edwards Farm Drop Zone.”

During the duration of the test, the team flew approximately 55 sorties with challenges along the way, according to Monreal.

“Some minor malfunctions, such as line twists, were experienced, not to mention some hard openings at high speeds and some hard landings, so you can say we all definitely earned our pay,” said Monreal. “But, in the end, we all feel that this new system will help AC-130 aircrew members across the Air Force accomplish the mission more effectively and safely.”




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


 
 

 
Navy photograph

Triton has first cross-country flight from Palmdale

Northrop Grumman photograph The MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System takes off from Northrop Grummanís Palmdale, Calif., facility Sept. 17 for its first cross-country flight to Naval Air Station Patuxent, River, Md. PALMDALE,...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic

Future of NATO: Adapting to a new security environment

Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic Gen. Phillip Breedlove informs the assembled crowd about the results of the recent NATO Summit and the areas of instability that affect Europe that have regional implications. Seated in...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

AFRL commander describes Air Force’s technology vision

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello takes a question from an audience member after discussing Air Force Research Laboratory breakthrough technologies during the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air ...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Timothy Young

F-35 on time to deliver global security, Air Force official said

Air Force photograph by SrA. Timothy Young An F-35A Lightning II, assigned to 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron, takes flight July 18, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Work leading up the completion of the multinational F-3...
 
 
Navy photograph

Navy’s Triton unmanned aircraft completes first cross-country flight

Navy photograph The Navy’s unmanned MQ-4C Triton prepares to land at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., Sept. 18 after completing an approximately 11-hour flight from Northrop Grumman’s California facility.   The M...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Christopher Ruano

F-16 collision-avoidance system could save lives

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Christopher Ruano The Air Force Research Laboratory Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System will automatically take over an aircraft’s flight controls if a crash is imminent. The technolo...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>