Testing the Sophistication of the C-130J Super Hercules, USAF Simulates Flight with One Pilot

Testing the Sophistication of the C-130J Super Hercules, USAF Simulates Flight with One Pilot
Testing the Sophistication of the C-130J Super Hercules, USAF Simulates Flight with One Pilot

Washington - The sophistication of the C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft continues to be tested by the United States Air Force (USAF), with flight simulations with only one pilot and one loadmaster. This simulation is to prepare the US Air Mobility Command (Mobility Air Forces) for emergency scenarios so that it can operate with a minimum crew.

The C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, made by Lockheed Martin, is usually operated by two pilots and one loadmaster. The loadmaster crew is responsible for loading placement, loading and unloading of cargo, passengers, and various other related duties specific to C-130J operations.

The C-130J Super Hercules aircraft is used to perform tactical airlift missions as it is designed to operate from harsh locations and rough airstrips. The Super Hercules aircraft is capable of transporting personnel and materials to conflict locations that are quite far away.

The US Air Force developed a one-pilot-one loadmaster training concept for the C-130J Super Hercules at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas. This initial exercise will take place on the ground in a flight simulator, so that all pilots and loadmasters are familiar with the concept.

"Usually there will be two pilots and two loadmasters, but this trains pilots how to operate the aircraft safely with only one other crew member (a loadmaster) on board," said Capt. Abigail Plunkett, head of training for the 19th Operations Support Squadron (OSS). The War Zone.

In a press release shared by the 19th Airlift Wing, Tech Sergeant Benjamin Baughman, head of flight training group for the 19th OSS, explained that the new one pilot-one loadmaster syllabus will be split into two parts.

The first will consist of instructor-led ground training and the second will focus on simulator training. However, there are currently no plans to conduct a limited-crew test flight of the C-130J proof-of-concept. In other words, the syllabus of the C-130J one pilot-one loadmaster will remain in the simulation environment.

"We are not trying to train loadmasters to fly, but we are training them to be able to help pilots get the plane safely from point A to point B. As of now, we will only complete this training in the simulator," said Plunkett.

The introduction of the one pilot-one loadmaster concept is in line with the Air Mobility Command's (AMC) ongoing efforts to test how realistic reduced crew operations are for the airlift fleet. This concept is being explored by AMC with the KC-46 Pegasus tanker.

Last October, the Air Force completed two sorties using KC-46As from the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas. The tanker flew with only one pilot and one operator. An instructor pilot was also present, but only as a safety observer.

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