Officials at Altus Air Force Base, OK, performed a load
validation on a C-17 Globemaster III for the MH-60S Knight Hawk
helicopter recently with the help of Navy specialists. This is the
seventh helicopter model validated on a C-17. Airmen from Altus'
58th Airlift Squadron along with 21 people from the Navy loaded the
Navy helicopter onto a C-17 for the first time. The Knight Hawk is
a cousin of the Air Force's HH-60G Pave Hawk.
Before any specialized load can fly in an aircraft, it needs to
be validated, said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Lambrecht, 97th
Operations Group C-17 standardization and evaluation
A load validation includes writing the loading procedures that
will be incorporated in the loading manual. Once the procedures are
published in loadmaster's manual, any loadmaster worldwide is
authorized to transport the load.
The data and procedures have to be compatible with the other
service's procedures before a load can fly, said Richard Morales, a
Navy technical publications quality assurance specialist from Naval
Air Station North Island, Calif.
"In order for the helicopter to be deployed rapidly worldwide,
the Navy has to know how the Air Force needs it packaged for
pickup," said Jerry Bruce from Aircraft Test and Evaluation
Squadron 21 at Naval Air Station Paxtuxent River, Md. "(In this
case) we were concerned that the helicopter's rear rotor blades
would have to be scissored in order to fit into the C-17."
Scissoring the blades, or folding them together, takes time and
requires several preoperational checks. "We've been totally
impressed with the automation of the C-17," Mr. Bruce said. "We
were pleasantly surprised with its vast cargo space."
"Load validations are very rare to perform, especially at a
training base," Sergeant Lambrecht said. "Usually, Air Mobility
Command bases conduct these validations, but with the (operations)
tempo at Charleston (Air Force Base, S.C.) and McChord (AFB,
Wash.), they have been unable to do this for the past two
Sergeant Lambrect said officials from Air Mobility
Command’s test and evaluation branch asked him if Altus could
support the validation.
"After receiving approval from (Air Education and Training
Command) and 19th Air Force (officials), we accepted," he said. "We
were very fortunate to have this opportunity, and it was a good
experience for our instructor loadmasters and our loadmaster
students we brought out to the flightline to witness the
validation." [ANN Thanks Airman 1st Class Ed Bodigheimer, 97th Air
Mobility Wing Public Affairs]