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Total Force test team takes AF award

A total force integration team of active-duty testers and Air National Guard Airmen were rewarded recently for their combined efforts on a money-saving C-130H propeller system.

The C-130H NP2000 test team made up of 417th Flight Test Squadron and Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing personnel earned the 2019 Gen. Mark A. Welsh III One Air Force Award. More than eight different organizations were ultimately involved with the test effort.

“Congratulations to this innovative and strategic-minded team for creating positive impacts across the total force,” said Brig. Gen. Scott Cain, 96th Test Wing commander at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. “This successful initiative paved the way for future integrated efforts.”

This joint testing began in January 2018 when aircraft and team arrived here.  The ANG C-130H model was fitting with a new propeller system that added two more blades than the typical six-blade engines seen on most models.

A C-130H taxis through the fog upon arrival at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 11. Air Force’s first fully upgraded C-130H is here for test and evaluation on its new modified propeller system and engines. (Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr.)

The goal of the TFI testing was to collect data and confirm increased fuel efficiency, reliability and overall performance improvements could be gained from the new propellers and upgraded engines.

The benefits of the upgraded system included shorter take-off roll, improved climb, quieter operations, and lower operating and support costs, according to Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, the program office for the test.

The testing was proven successful decreasing aircraft fuel costs by 10%.  The success led to the fast-tracking of the plan to swap the fleet’s aging propeller blades to the newly tested ones.

Locally, the expertise among the testers and ANG allowed the team to reduce the required test flights by 21 percent saving the project $850,000 and four-months of evaluations.

“The biggest reason for our success was the effort of the Wyoming ANG Airmen,” said James Jeffrey Hoy, 417th FLTS lead flight test engineer for the team.  “This program required a large, sustained manpower effort and they met this while also maintaining their operational state in Cheyenne.  Their constant support allowed the team to execute the program without sacrificing test schedule or data quality.”

A 153rd Airlift Wing maintainer plugs in a generator cable into her C-130H after arriving at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 11. Air Force’s first fully upgraded C-130H is here for test and evaluation on its new modified propeller system and engines. (Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr.)

The One Air Force award is given for mission success achieved by a team made up of two or more Total Force components. It recognizes the team that best demonstrates improved effectiveness, operational readiness or mission accomplishment through integrated solutions.

The 417th FTS is assigned to the 96th Test Wing at Eglin. The 417th FTS has been at Eglin since April 2019. From March 1989 to October 1995, the 417th was assigned to the 412th Test Wing at Edwards AFB, Calif., where it was responsible for flight testing the C-17 Globemaster III, and from March 2006 to February 2012, when it was responsible for flight testing the Boeing YAL-1A Airborne Laser.
 
 
 

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