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.


 
 

 

Headlines October 1, 2014

Veterans: Substantial VA staff will face discipline - A substantial number of VA employees will face punishment for the veterans treatment scandal, the new national commander of the American Legion predicted Sept. 30, indicating that the slow pace of discipline has more to do with the hoops the department must jump through than it does a...
 
 

News Briefs October 1, 2014

Egypt president gives army control of arms imports The Egyptian president has amended a law, giving the country’s army control over weapons and ammunition imports. The Sept. 30 statement from the presidency says Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi changed articles stipulating that a permit for weapons’ imports has to be granted by the Interior Ministry, which is in...
 
 
atk-test

ATK successfully tests Orion launch abort motor igniter

NASA and ATK successfully completed a static test of the launch abort motor igniter for the Orion crew capsule’s Launch Abort System. Conducted at ATK’s facility in Promontory, Utah, this test is the next step towa...
 

 
uav-coalition

Small UAV coalition launched to advance commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles

Leading technology companies Oct. 1 formally announced the formation of the Small UAV Coalition to help pave the way for commercial, philanthropic, and civil use of small unmanned aerial vehicles in the United States and abroad...
 
 
Navy photograph

NAWCWD manned for unmanned systems

Navy photograph A rail launch is performed during Integrator unmanned aerial vehicle testing at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division China Lake, Calif. Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division scientists, engineers, techn...
 
 
NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich

NASA employees go ‘above and beyond’

Courtesy photograph NASA Chief Scientist Albion Bowers, Christopher Miller and Nelson Brown receive the Exception Engineering Achievement Medal at Armstrong Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The prestigious award ...
 




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>