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Lockheed Martin is testing winglets and other drag-reducing modifications to cut the fuel consumption of C-130 Hercules and C-5 Galaxy airlifters.
With large-scale wind tunnel testing completed, Lockheed is fabricating a shipset of winglets for flight testing on a C-130 in 2012. The modification could be available for both retrofit and forward-fit by early 2014.
Computational analysis and small-scale tunnel tests have been completed on the C-5 winglets. Large-scale tunnel tests are planned for 2012, leading to flight tests in 2014 “if the customer is interested,” says Jack O’Banion, director of advanced development programs at Lockheed’s Marietta, Ga., plant.
The 5-ft.-tall winglets are projected to reduce cruise fuel flow by 170 lb./hr. on the C-130J and “probably more” on older versions of the Hercules, he says. They are designed to be fitted to any C-130 with the beefed-up “enhanced service life” center wingbox. This has the extra structural margin to accommodate winglet-induced bending loads.
Winglets for the C-5M are 6 ft. tall and projected to reduce cruise fuel flow by 1,100 lb./hr. This is on top of the 8-20% improvement in fuel efficiency that comes with re-engining of the C-5 with General Electric CF6-80C2 high-bypass turbofans, O’Banion says, adding that the wing already has sufficient margin to accommodate the winglet loads.
Lockheed Martin in August flight tested an aft-body drag-reduction modification on the C-130. This comprises a series of 36 vortex generators mounted on the aft fuselage. These “microvanes” alter the aft-body flowfield to pull the underbody vortex closer in and reduce base drag, he says.
Results are still being analyzed, but indications are the microvanes will reduce total drag by up to 3.7%, O’Banion says, for a fuel-consumption reduction of 2-3%. No significant changes in aircraft handling have been observed, he says.
The vortex generators, mounted in rows on the aft fuselage on either side of the rear loading ramp, are planned to be available by the end of 2012 for forward-fit and retrofit to the C-130J and earlier Hercules.
Another fuel-saving modification being studied for older C-130s is an upgrade to the latest Series 3.5 version of Rolls-Royce’s T56 turboprop, coupled with Hamilton Sundstrand’s NP2000 eight-blade propeller.
For the C-5, Lockheed also is working on a drag cleanup that is expected to improve fuel efficiency by 2-3%. This would include new seals on the flight controls to minimize aerodynamic leaks that cause drag; and new seals in the pressurization system to reduce bleed-air demand on the engines and thus improve their fuel efficiency.
In addition, equipment installed on the C-5s over time — such as defensive systems — would be cleaned up to reduce parasitic drag. “We are in the process of laying out a detailed program for the Air Force, including the business case and potential benefits,” O’Banion says.
The C-130 and C-5 drag reductions are part of an initiative by the U.S. Air Force to cut its fuel consumption. Other elements include drag cleanups on the Boeing C-17 and KC-10 and engine upgrades on the KC-135.
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Boeing joined the U.S. Air Force at Joint Base Lewis-McChord to help dedicate a C-17 Globemaster III airlifter to the members of the U.S. armed forces who have received the Congressional Medal of Honor.
A C-17 tail number 99211 was officially dedicated by Gen. Raymond Johns Jr., commander of Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., officially as Spirit of the Medal of Honor in a ceremony attended by several Medal of Honor recipients.
“It’s humbling to be here in the presence of America’s bravest patriots,” said Boeing C-17 Program Manager Bob Ciesla. “The Congressional Medal of Honor serves as a symbol of courage and military heroism in defense of America’s freedoms. Likewise, whenever this C-17 flying the insignia of the Spirit of the Medal of Honor lands, the spirit of America’s bravest will land with it, bringing hope, saving lives and preserving peace.”
The ceremony is part of an Air Force tradition to dedicate aircraft to significant people, events and places. Spirit of the Medal of Honor joins C-17s dedicated to groups including U.S. prisoners of war and troops missing in action; military families; Purple Heart recipients; and those serving in Operation Enduring Freedom.
C-17s have been dedicated to individuals including former President Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope and Medal of Honor recipients Sgt. John Levitow and Col. Joe Jackson. The aircraft also have been named for places such as Long Beach, Calif., where the C-17 Globemaster is built.
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Boeing remains confident of bolstering its C-17 backlog with additional international sales on top of the expected order from India, despite the challenges of maintaining unit cost in the face of reduced production rates, possible gaps in the delivery stream and no new U.S. Air Force orders.
Although the company is in the midst of a planned drawdown of production from 15 to 10 per year, “the goal is to maintain the same price,” says Tommy Dunehew, C-17 business development vice president.
Despite this being a challenging target, additional international business should help to balance the books and fill potential gaps as the company looks to stabilize at the reduced rate in 2012, Dunehew adds.
Boeing says the Indian government is “going through the final steps” toward confirming its order for 10 aircraft, with the first expected to be delivered at the end of 2012.
Based on the existing production profile, and depending on the outcome of talks over other customer deliveries planned for next year, the U.S. Air Force is set to receive its final C-17 Globemaster in September 2012.
Aside from India, additional international C-17 orders are in the cards from Kuwait, which has a letter of request for a single aircraft announced last September, plus an additional two held as options by Qatar. “Interest in Southeast Asia is growing, and there’s more in the Middle East,” says Mark Kronenberg, Boeing vice president of international business development.
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Now that the nearly 700,000-square-foot complex that will house the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing and their USAF School of Aerospace Medicine has been completed here, equipment is being moved in – including the first of two Lockheed C-130 trainers that will be used by the school.
A C-130 mock-up fuselage to be used in training medical evacuation staff
USAFSAM uses the fully functional C-130s and other aircraft simulators to train aeromedical evacuation teams, including flight nurses, aeromedical evacuation technicians and critical-care aeromedical evacuation teams, said Col. Charles Fisher, USAFSAM commander. The first C-130 arrived at Wright-Patterson Mar. 5, 2011, from Brooks City-Base near San Antonio, Texas, and was pulled into USAFSAM’s Aero-medical Evacuation Training Center early on Mar. 7.
Barbara O’Brien, 88th Air Base Wing Civil Engineering Programs Division deputy director, said, “This BRAC program for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — 13 projects, $353 million in construction, and nearly six years in the making — has culminated here with delivery of the largest project, the 711th Human Performance Wing Complex, nearly three months ahead of schedule.”
88 ABW Civil Engineering’s efforts began with site surveys back in 2005 followed by project programming, concept development and master planning, Ms. O’Brien said, culminating in their partnership with the Louisville District of the (U.S. Army) Corps of Engineers to lead the massive design and construction effort for the installation.
Ms. O’Brien noted that the 711th Human Performance Wing Complex is the largest single civil engineering effort for the installation in more than 50 years.
“Of course, many (civil engineers) would not encounter this unless you were building a new installation or going through a base realignment and closure,” she said.
88 ABW Civil Engineering’s and other entities’ efforts have not gone unrecognized, she said: “This is an award-winning program. We have garnered several Air Force Design and Department of Defense Value Engineering Awards, and we are certainly pleased to participate in what may be a once-in-a-career program for many Air Force Civil Engineers.”
The C-130 simulators will be joined by a Boeing C-17 Globemaster, a Boeing 767 and a helicopter, all to be used to train aeromedical evaluation teams and troops.
“We place (the students) in an immersive training environment that includes very realistic flights with high-technology simulated patients in each of our two C-130 trainers,” Colonel Fisher said. “These are fully instrumented, fully operational aircraft without wings. We can simulate onboard emergencies with them. When you are inside, the sound, the feel, the environment, is absolutely realistic, and we are able to challenge our team with highly complicated missions that are modeled on actual missions and challenging patients who have returned from combat environments.”
He added that the school’s staff participates each week in global telephone conferences to discuss new technologies, capabilities and patients.
“With this training, our graduates are able to return people home with an almost 100 percent survival rate,” he said.
The C-17 simulator is in final construction in San Antonio and will come to Wright-Patterson in several months. The Boeing 767 is a civilian reserve air fleet trainer, the only one of its kind in the world. Plans call for it to be located alongside the building.
“What you are watching is the movement of a massive organization from Brooks City-Base to here with no break in mission along the way,” Colonel Fisher said. “We have continued all of our classes, lab work and consultations and created and staffed a whole new facility, without disrupting the mission along the way. We’ve done that with a lot of work and a lot of very long hours for the entire staff to keep that bridge going. Despite the challenges of moving, the school continues to function every day. The school’s laboratories process about 45,000 specimens each week and haven’t missed a day of productivity due largely to the incredible coordination and dedication of the staff.”
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A biplane and the Air Force Thunderbirds fly over Luke Air Force Base
The largest F-16 pilot training base in the world, Luke will welcome around 200,000 civilians Saturday and Sunday during the Luke Days 70 Years of Thunder open house and air show.
“This is a chance for taxpayers to see what they’re paying for,” said Col. Robert McCutchen, the open house director. “And it’s our opportunity to showcase the world’s greatest air force. The public can see the hardware that fought in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, all the way back to World War II.”
Since the early 1980s, retired C-141 Air Force pilot Jim Flonacher has taken his family and his camera to the base to watch dozens of fighter jets soar, and to see dozens of bombers and cargo aircraft on display.
Flonacher, 62, of Peoria, said it was at a Luke open house that his son, Michael, fell in love with military aircraft while sitting in the cockpit of an F-15. Now, Michael is a third-generation pilot and an instructor at the Air Force Weapons School at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey.
“I love the sounds of the aircraft, and the smells of the fuel,” Flonacher said. “To me, it’s the sound of freedom.”
This weekend, Flonacher will take his young grandchildren to see a C-17, the aircraft their uncle flies. They’ll also be able to see the B-25, a twin-engine bomber similar to the B-26 Marauder that Flonacher’s dad flew during World War II.
In all, more than 80 aircraft representing the last 70 years of Air Force innovation will fly in the shows or be on display.
Both days, flights start at 11 a.m., immediately following the singing of the national anthem. Static displays include a B-52, F-16, C-130 and MIG-17.
Guests will see the evolution of warplanes during the Air Force Heritage Flight Program demonstration, which features aircraft used in the 1940s flying alongside modern-day jets.
“It’s a kind of time warp in space,” McCutchen said.
The Thunderbirds, the Air Force’s tight-flying demonstration team that first launched at Luke in 1953, will perform its signature diamond formation, fast rolls and inverted flight, all synchronized to music. The famous squadron will perform around 2:45 p.m. each day.
Other highlights include the Army’s Golden Knights, an acrobatic parachute team, and the F-22 Raptor Aerial Demonstration Team, which will show the precise maneuvering and acrobatic capabilities of the advanced stealth warplanes.
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On Feb. 9, Officials stated that the C-17 Globemaster III was recently certified for unlimited usage of hydro processed blended biofuels known as hydro treated renewable jet fuels.
Dr. Kevin Geiss, the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for energy, says “This certification marks the Air Force’s first platform to be fully certified using an HRJ blend.” He also says “This marks a significant achievement for the Air Force, our alternative fuel certification office and our partners in both industry and across the Department of Defense.”
The certification for usage of HRJ biofuel blended with petroleum-based JP-8 fuel represents part of ongoing efforts by Air Force officials to certify and test biofuels from non-petroleum sources.
The move to certify the fleet using the HRJ blend of fuel represents the Air Force’s commitment to assuring the supply, no matter the source, meets the service’s required standards, and demonstrates the Air Force’s commitment to reducing its dependency on foreign sources of oil, Dr. Geiss added.
“We’re very proud of this certification,” said Terry Yonkers, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics. “By using a ‘pathfinder’ approach, we’ve taken the success of our processes developed in our previous alternative fuel certifications work and learned how to efficiently streamline our HRJ certification efforts, while guaranteeing the fuel blend will work without notable difference to the pilots.”
Mr. Yonkers added that unlike conventional jet fuel, biofuels burn cleaner without compounds like sulfur.
According to Jeff Braun, the Air Force’s alternative fuel certification office chief, the blended fuel evaluation that combined additional analyses from Boeing, Parker ESD and Pratt & Whitney resulted in no significant differences in engine stability, thrust response or engine steady-state performance.
This certification clears the C-17 to fly on a volumetric blend of up to 50 percent HRJ fuel with 50 percent JP-8, as well as a blend of 25 percent HRJ, 25 percent synthetic paraffinic kerosene fuel, and 50 percent JP-8, Mr. Braun said. “We expect to conclude HRJ flight testing within the next 12 months, supporting fleetwide HRJ certification within the next 22 months,” Mr. Braun said.
In addition, the ground and flight demonstrations performed by the Air Force flight test center confirmed normal operations using the blended fuel, he said.
“When blended as we’ve done, this is a potential drop-in solution for jet fuel for our aircraft, requiring no modification to systems or special handling or monitoring,” Mr. Braun said.
“The Air Force is seeking alternative fuels that are ‘greener’ than the existing petroleum fuels paradigm, but don’t add to, or complicate, any logistical considerations for our jet fuel needs, and have the potential to be cost-competitive,” Mr. Yonkers said. “And HRJ blended fuels have us very excited.”
Mr. Yonkers added that Air Force officials will bring the achievement to their partners within the DOD and industry, and will work to further integrate efforts on testing alternative fuels and the certification of platforms.
“This is a big deal,” Mr. Yonkers said.
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A 535th Airlift Squadron aircrew from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and the U.S. Navy Special Warfare Unit One from Guam teamed up to drop a boat out of the back of a C-17 Globemaster III using the Maritime Craft Aerial Delivery System recently.
With more than 19,000 pounds locked in, and parachute riggings in place, the joint team strapped in was ready to go. The weather was ideal, the sea state was low and the jet had no maintenance issues. The training stage was set and execution was the only thing on their minds.
“This training is so important for forging and refining joint capabilities in the Pacific,” said Capt. Alan Partridge, a 535th AS C-17 pilot. “The (Naval Special warfare Unit One) is extremely good at what they do, but don’t have dedicated aerial delivery. The 535th is a fully capable air land and airdrop C-17 squadron in Hawaii with boat-drop-qualified aircrews. The more we train together, the more prepared we will be for (U.S. Pacific Command) and (U.S. Special Operation Command, Pacific) to leverage their assets in response to the challenges of the future.”
The Maritime Craft Aerial Delivery System is an airdrop insertion capability for Naval Special Warfare Rigid-hull Inflatable Boats and Special Operation Forces personnel employing Air Force aircraft. The system provides the special-operations community the ability to deploy the specially designed boat beyond the range of detection systems such as radar, infrared or thermal enhancement, acoustical sensors, human intelligence, signal intelligence and active patrols.
The C-17 arrived on the pre-coordinated drop zone to good conditions for the training exercise. When all signs pointed toward a green-light drop, the pilots lined up the plane along the designed flight path. The loadmasters opened the ramp in the back. The 15-foot drogue chute was released, fluttering in the wind behind the plane. Once it was released, a 25-foot drogue parachute pulled the boat out of the back of the plane, with nine high-altitude, low-opening jumpers immediately following.
“It was a complete success,” Captain Partridge said. “From an Air Force perspective, we accomplished all of our planned training and increased our boat drop qualified pilot and loadmaster force for JB Hickam.”
The loadmaster echoed the pilot’s opinion, only from a different point of view.
“This drop went extremely well,” Sergeant Baker said. “Anytime you can drop a piece of equipment and personnel from the aircraft safely, and without any damage or injury, then, in my opinion, it was a successful drop.”
The flight profile for the delivery of the MCADS takes the aircrew to 3,500-feet for free fall parachutists, or 1,250-feet for static-line jumpers. No matter what the scenario, the JB Hickam aircrew will put the C-17 through its paces to be a force multiplier.
“As we hone our skills together now, we are also looking at more robust, scenario-based joint training options in the future,” Captain Partridge said. “The goal is to train like we’d fight.
Source : US Air Force
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Last Friday, Feb. 4, US safety investigators said that an American Airlines airliner and two Air Force cargo jets flying together averted a possible collision last month over the Atlantic Ocean.
Flight AA951, a Boeing 777-200, heading southeast to Sao Paulo from New York’s John F Kennedy airport, was 80 miles into its January 20 flight when warning systems alerted air controllers that it was heading in the direction of the C-17s flying northwest bound for New Jersey, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement.
Controllers handling the military flights received the same alerts and the converging planes were ordered to change course, coming about a mile from each other. Safety investigators are reviewing controller handling of the flights.
The Federal Aviation Administration is also reviewing the matter and said controllers at its busy New York center are taking another look at procedures, including guidelines for handling military planes flying in formation.
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent U.S. government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation. In this role, the NTSB investigates and reports on aviation accidents and incidents, certain types of highway crashes, ship and marine accidents, pipeline incidents and railroad accidents. When requested, the NTSB will assist the military with accident investigation.
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On Dec. 10, officials at Headquarters Pacific Air Forces released the results of their investigation into a fatal C-17 Globemaster III aircraft mishap which occurred on July 28 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
Gen. Gary North, Pacific Air Forces commander, directed an investigation into the incident which resulted in the deaths of the four crewmembers aboard, the destruction of the $184 million aircraft and damage to part of the Alaska Railroad.
The accident investigation board found clear and convincing evidence the cause of the mishap was pilot error. The investigation revealed the pilot placed the aircraft outside established flight parameters and capabilities. During the mishap sortie, the pilot aggressively flew the aircraft in a manner inconsistent with established flight procedures, resulting in a stall. The pilot failed to take required stall recovery actions.
Furthermore, the board concluded the co-pilot and safety observer failed to recognize or address the developing dangerous situation. As a result, the C-17 stalled at an attitude and altitude from which recovery to controlled flight was impossible.
Brig. Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, served as the Accident Investigation Board president. General Everhart is vice commander of the 618th Air and Space Operations Center at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. The general is a command pilot with more than 4,400 flight hours in a variety of aircraft, including the C-17.
The mishap occurred as the C-17 — tail number 00-0173 and call sign Sitka 43 — practiced for the Arctic Thunder Air Show scheduled for the weekend of July 31 at Joint Base Elmendorf- Richardson.
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Boeing delivered the United Kingdom’s seventh C-17 Globemaster III to the Royal Air Force (RAF) last Tuesday during a ceremony at Boeing’s final assembly facility in Long Beach.
“The addition of a seventh C-17 to our fleet is a significant milestone that strengthens our support of operations worldwide, especially in Afghanistan,” said Peter Luff, UK Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology. “And next year, in May, we’ll mark the 10th anniversary of the delivery of the RAF’s first C-17, which continues to perform superbly — anytime and anywhere.”
The United Kingdom’s fleet of C-17s has logged more than 60,000 flight hours, and this year supported humanitarian and disaster-relief missions to Pakistan, Haiti and Chile. Assigned to 99 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton near Oxford, C-17s provide critical airlift capability for the nation’s Joint Rapid Reaction Force. Brize Norton is the RAF’s main operating base for strategic air transport and air-to-air refueling.
The C-17 is the world’s only tactical airlift aircraft with strategic capabilities that allow it to fly between continents and land on short, austere runways.
“The C-17 provides rapid-response capability for relief missions where no other strategic airlifter can land,” said Rick Heerdt, Boeing vice president and C-17 program manager. “We are proud to be your partner on every one of those missions.”
In a related topic,Barack Obama announced this month that India and the United States have reached a preliminary agreement for the Indian Air Force to acquire 10 C-17s.
- Boeing -