News>Loadmasters use new parachute jettison device
Tech. Sgt. Robert Russell sets up an emergency parachute jettison device in a cargo aircraft at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., on Tuesday, April 25, 2006. The EPJS was used for the first time April 25. The product has been in development and testing since 1997. Sergeant Russell is assigned to the 43rd Operational Support Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Cassandra Locke)
by Senior Airman Cassandra Locke
43rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
4/27/2006 - POPE AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. (AFPN) -- An emergency parachute jettison device was used for the first time during a Joint Forcible Entry Exercise here April 25.
Loadmasters from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., and Dyess AFB, Texas, participated in the exercise. Chief Master Sgt. Steven Pyszka and Master Sgt. Lee McDaniel, loadmaster training instructors from Air Mobility Command, came to ensure the device was properly set up and operated.
The new jettison device has been in development since 1997. It was created to quickly and safely jettison malfunctioning parachutes during an airdrop delivery of heavy equipment.
“The capability of jettisoning extraction parachutes when they are outside the aircraft before the load has been extracted is important,” Sergeant McDaniel said. “A parachute malfunction risks the safety of the crew and the aircraft.”
According to Chief Pyszka, when a heavy equipment load is set to drop and that fails, the current protocol is for the loadmaster to take a knife to it and try to cut the lines by hand to release the load out of the aircraft.
“This is more dangerous because the load could break away while the loadmaster is cutting the lines,” said Chief Pyszka. That kind of emergency response has been done a number of times during heavy-equipment airdrop missions. The jettison device is designed to initiate a quick release of the load, in the event of a malfunction, at the flip of a switch."
Chief Pyszka said the new jettison device should be operational next year.