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Archive for the ‘Aviation’ Category

USAF Rated Preparatory Program Now Accepting Applications for FY21 Spring Class – Open to Enlisted

Thursday, November 19th, 2020


Active duty Department of the Air Force officers and enlisted Airmen and Space Professionals interested in becoming a rated officer have until Dec. 31, 2020 to apply for the Spring 2021 Rated Preparatory Program.

This will be the third year that the Air Force has partnered with the Civil Air Patrol for this training. The 2021 class will take place at the Denton Enterprise Airport in Denton, Texas.

“The Rated Preparatory Program provides Department of the Air Force officers and for the first time enlisted applicants, who are interested in cross-training to a rated career field the opportunity to gain and strengthen their basic aviation skills,” said Col. Scott Linck, Aircrew Task Force deputy director. “This program will allow them to enhance their knowledge through developmental modules and acquire valuable flight time in order to increase their competitiveness as candidates for future undergraduate flying training boards.”

Applicants selected for the RPP will first complete an online self-paced ground course followed by a one-week in-resident course to introduce them to aviation fundamentals. Program participants will garner approximately seven to nine flight hours, ground instruction and additional training time in a flight simulator.

Officers who complete the program are required to apply to the next available Undergraduate Flying Training selection board. Enlisted participants who complete the program are required to apply to at least one of three Air Force commissioning sources: U.S. Air Force Academy, Reserve Officer Training Corps or Officer Training School.

Airmen who can meet the requirements below are encouraged to apply:

1. Any active duty officer who meets UFT board requirements.

2. Any active duty enlisted Airman or Space Professional who meets UFT board requirements and qualifies for a commission through one of the three commissioning sources (Reference PSDM 20-96 for further information).

3. Be a U.S. Citizen.

4. Be of high moral character and personal qualifications (members currently having open law violations or criminal investigations, previously convicted by court-martial or having received an Article 15 are ineligible to apply).

5. Have the unit commander’s approval and endorsement.

6. Have a current passing Physical Fitness Test score.

7. Have a Pilot Candidate Selection Method score prior to the RPP class start date.

8. Have less than 5 hours of total civilian flight time (applicants with greater than 5 hours of civilian flight time may apply, but will only be considered on a space available basis).

9. Officers: Obtain a U.S. Air Force Initial Flying Class I, 1A, Ground Based Controller or III flight physical prior to entry into the RPP.

10. Enlisted: Obtain an FAA Class III physical prior to entry into the RPP (Reference PSDM 20-96; consult a local Aviation Medical Examiner).

11. Complete an on-line self-paced ground course that will be provided prior to the class start date.

12. Be prepared to retake the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test and Test of Basic Aviation Skills at the first available opportunity upon completion of RPP, preferably within two to four weeks.

“When comparing applicant scores pre- and post-RPP, results show, on average, a 20% improvement in student AFOQT scores and a 35-point increase in PCSM scores,” said Maj. Sean Stumpf, Aircrew Task Force talent management branch chief. “Approximately 90% of officers who went through the program in 2019 and applied for UFT were selected. We are hoping for the same results from the most recent class that went through the program this summer.”

Interested applicants can find additional information on how to apply through the MyPers website.

TacJobs – 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment

Saturday, October 24th, 2020

The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment is the primary rotary-wing support to Department of Defense Special Operations Forces and offers opportunities for Officer, Warrant Officer, and Enlisted Army personnel in a wide variety of Military Occupational Specialities, not just CMF 15.

There is an application process to become a Nightstalker, with assessment, selection and training requirements.

Visit the 160th SOAR Recruiting Team for more info.

Juggernaut.Case Awarded Contract for NAVAIR Ejection-Seat Electronic Kneeboard Platforms

Monday, October 19th, 2020

Many commercial pilots have found using iPad type tablets to be a valuable tool as a kneeboard in the cockpit.  Why wouldn’t a kneeboard tablet be valuable for fighter pilots too?  But first, it would need to pass the 600KNT ejection seat blast test!

In 2018, Juggernaut.Case developed a protective case and mounting solution for fighter pilots to employ a tablet on their leg in the cockpit. The Electronic Kneeboard (EKB) program’s purpose is to allow the use of tablets to reduce reliance on paper publications and add additional functionality (such as moving maps and performance calculators) in the cockpit. As the program progresses, the ability to plan and re-plan missions in the cockpit will be developed to create a powerful tool for the pilots, ultimately replacing the fielded Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS) hardware. The final EKB system will allow users to connect in-aircraft via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB-Cable, fully integrating the tablets into aircraft systems for maximum capability. As part of the Juggernaut.Case slogan, PROTECT – MOUNT – CONNECT, this naturally falls into place with high-strength, shielded connections to the airframe with quick-disconnect cables specially designed for these cases.

In August 2018, a series of windblast tests were conducted to verify the structural integrity of the EJ-SEAT EKB Holster Assembly during high-speed ejections.  A series of four (4) windblast tests were conducted using the Windblast Lab at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The 600KNT blast tests subjected the EKB and Holster Assembly to the highest dynamic pressure that would be experienced in an in-envelope ejection with the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) seat. The 22-degree pitch tests matches the angle of the seat coming out of the cockpit and into the air stream; the 45-degree pitch tests simulated the seat pitching back under the drogue parachute.

All tests conducted in the series were rated Acceptable and Successful. No damage was observed on the holster, aircraft or crash test pilot in any tests. Similar tests were successful at the test facility blast chamber in Toulouse, France in November of 2018.

There are several versions of the EJ-SEAT EKB for current tablets including the Samsung Tab Active 2 and 3, iPad Mini 5, and Tab S2 8.0. Tablet cases for future tablet models will fall within the test if they utilize the approved base mounting platform. The EKB is currently being flown by more than twelve different Air Forces/Navy/Marine Corps Wings worldwide. Aircraft platforms include: F-16, F/A-18, F-35JSF, as well as A-10 and F-22.

The base platform utilizes two high-strength straps secured with ITW-AustriAlpin GT COBRA Polymer Buckles. The SLEEV Case for the tablet is hard mounted with fasteners to the holster assembly to ensure its integrity during ejection if the pilot does not doff this system prior to ejection. An additional strap attaches to the pilot’s kit to ensure the EKB stays in place on the leg during entry/egress of the cockpit.

The entire EJ-SEAT EKB Kit (Mount & SLEEV) retails for $400 and is available at: shop.juggernautcase.com/products/mount-ejection-seat-ekb-solution

The Aviator Kneeboard.Mount which interfaces all 8-series tablet cases ($105 – Mount Only) is also available for non-ejection seat rotary/fixed-wing applications and features a single-strap design utilizing the BOA Fit System: shop.juggernautcase.com/products/mount-aviator-kneeboard-boa-fit-system

All of these aviation platforms carry NSN’s, are Berry Amendment Compliant, and Made in the USA.

Juggernaut.Case is based in Scottsdale, Arizona where all of it’s products have been designed, engineered, tested and assembled for over the past 20 years.

Air Mobility Liaison Officers Sharpen Their Tactical Edge with IZLID

Saturday, October 10th, 2020


The 621st Mobility Support Operations Squadron is adding another weapon to an already stocked arsenal to enhance situational awareness and tactical edge for its air mobility liaison officers.

The Infrared Zoom Laser Illuminator Designator will replace the dated signal light gun currently used by AMLOs to signal and direct aircraft.

“AMLOs use this equipment in a tactical environment, designating the landing zone for inbound aircraft,” said Maj. Stephen Quinn, 621st MSOS AMLO. “The IR beam is covert, but highly visible for the night vision goggle-wearing aircrew, and allows the AMLO to easily guide the aircraft to the threshold.”

The IZLID is a compact, lightweight infrared laser used for pointing and marking by military forces. The laser is a powerful long-range illuminator, small enough to fit in the user’s pocket and sufficient enough to direct airstrikes.

The new laser is “covert and portable compared to the old light guns,” said Quinn, and more effective in a tactical environment.

“The most important aspect is enhanced situational awareness for aircrew at the push of a button,” Quinn said. “Landing zone approach lights vary in effectiveness, but a quick lase with the IZLID can prevent a crew from selecting the wrong aimpoint.”

The expectation is to utilize the IZLID for all future landing zone operations in-theater. The squadron is planning on purchasing five IZLIDs for deployment use and in garrison training.

“It’s awesome and worth the price,” Quinn said. “AMLOs are basically Jedis already, and this gives us a lightsaber to help with the job.”

A win for AMLOs is a win for the whole squadron. 

“Every day, week, month, and year we get closer and closer to what is needed for MSOS and AMLO Nation equipment-wise,” said Staff Sgt. Sededrick Parks, 621st MSOS supply and equipment manager. “I believe this equipment has catapulted us further in that direction.”

By TSgt Luther Mitchell Jr., 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

AeroVironment Successfully Completes Sunglider Solar HAPS Stratospheric Test Flight, Surpassing 60,000 Feet Altitude and Demonstrating Broadband Mobile Connectivity

Thursday, October 8th, 2020

• Sunglider reaches stratospheric altitude in 20-hour test flight 

• Successfully demonstrates broadband mobile communication on consumer smartphones, linking teams in Tokyo, New Mexico and Silicon Valley

The HAPSMobile Inc. Sunglider™ solar-powered HAPS successfully completed its first stratospheric flight and demonstrated broadband mobile communication on September 22, 2020 (Photo: AeroVironment)

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., Oct. 7, 2020 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), today announced the Sunglider™ solar-powered high-altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) achieved key test milestones, including reaching an altitude of more than 60,000 feet above sea level and successfully demonstrating mobile broadband communication. Sunglider’s development and testing is funded by HAPSMobile Inc., a joint venture majority-owned by SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) and minority-owned by AeroVironment.

During the test flight, which began at 5:16 am MDT on September 21 and concluded at 1:32 am MDT on September 22, the AeroVironment team piloted Sunglider to a stratospheric altitude of 62,500 feet above Spaceport America in New Mexico. Sunglider successfully achieved major test objectives relating to propulsion, power systems, flight control, navigation and datalink integrity, as well as structural performance during the most turbulent phases of the flight as it entered and exited the jet stream.

The broadband communication demonstration successfully linked teams in Tokyo, Spaceport America and Silicon Valley using an LTE payload jointly developed by Alphabet’s Loon LLC and HAPSMobile. Employing standard LTE smartphones, a team at Spaceport America conducted multiple video calls via the Sunglider’s payload while the aircraft circled for more than five hours in the stratosphere.

“In less than three years AeroVironment and HAPSMobile have made incredible progress, developing two Sunglider solar HAPS unmanned aircraft and performing five consecutive flight demonstrations, culminating in this latest significant milestone,” said Wahid Nawabi, president and chief executive officer of AeroVironment. “Reaching stratospheric altitude, maintaining continuous flight for more than 20 hours, achieving key test objectives and demonstrating seamless broadband communication illustrate the tremendous potential HAPS technology offers to expand connectivity globally. We look forward to maintaining our momentum toward aircraft certification and commercialization, working in close partnership with HAPSMobile as we establish a disruptive capability that offers tremendous value creation potential.”

The Sunglider, a solar-powered HAPS, has a wingspan of 262 feet and is propelled by 10 electric motors powered by solar panels covering the surface of the wing and rechargeable battery packs, resulting in zero emissions. Flying at an altitude of approximately 65,000 feet above sea level and above the clouds, the Sunglider can carry payloads weighing as much as 150 pounds and is designed for continuous, extended missions of months without landing.


Survival Innovations – Emergency Release Assembly

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020

Now available from Helix, the Survival Innovations ERA (Emergency Release Assembly) is a quick release lanyard system which allows aircrew to tether themselves to the airframe. The lanyard can be released under load and the quick release connector on lanyard can be released remotely using a pull tab.

The ERA meets the Personal Fall Arrest system requirements of ANSI Z359:1 and is rated at 22k


Medevac Officer Looks to Help Army One Invention at a Time

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii — Mahdi Al-Husseini had his whole career figured out as he enrolled in Georgia Institute of Technology back in 2013. He knew he would graduate with a joint degree in biomedical engineering and public policy before attending graduate school for computer science.

From there, he planned to pursue a job in the defense and space industry.

The idea of joining the Army never once crossed his mind, he said. He knew nothing of his school’s Reserve Officer Training Corps, or ROTC, and the vast opportunities in the Army.

Now a first lieutenant, Al-Husseini serves as an active-duty aeromedical evacuations officer with 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii.

He is also an engineer currently developing an aerial hoist stabilization system that could help save lives during an in-air medical extraction.

“There is something unique about the medevac mission,” he said. “We ensure that America’s sons and daughters — individuals that have experienced great tragedy — have an opportunity to return home.”

Best-laid plans

While Al-Husseini’s passion for engineering never wavered during college, he did find a deeper calling to support something greater than himself.

The Army quickly soared to the top of his list, as he joined ROTC during his junior year. He was determined to give back to the people and institutions that helped him succeed.

“After I joined, I was deciding between a few different Army branches: medical services, engineering, or cyber,” Al-Husseini said. “That same year, I interned at the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Lab.”

The USAARL looks to deliver scientific solutions to help save lives, according to lab officials. Research efforts target biomedical, physiological, and psychological issues, as the Army aims to increase the performance of aviation, airborne, and ground personnel.

As an intern, Al-Husseini assisted the lab’s experimental testing efforts tied to various aviation helmets. He eventually crossed paths with two medevac pilots working on a separate project. The three became friends as they started to exchange ideas.

“This was the first time I talked in depth about the medical evacuation mission,” Al-Husseini said. “We are responsible for bringing home America’s wounded warriors. In my opinion, this is truly one of theArmy’s no-fail mission sets.”

Influenced by his peers’ passion and drive, Al-Husseini’s outlook on engineering and his future career decisions started to shift.

“My experience [with USAARL] cemented my interest in the aeromedical mission. I decided to request medical services as my first choice of branch,” he said.

“I [now] look at engineering and computer science as tools in my toolbox,” he added. “I love engineering and computer science … but as an engineer, you have to decide what to do with those tools.”

Training, engineering, competing

Shortly after college, Al-Husseini found himself at Fort Rucker, Alabama, for flight training. It was around the same time that he started building his own company, a combined team of Army aviators and engineers, to develop their Stabilizing Aerial Loads Utility System.

“When we perform a medical evacuation on a real mission, usually it is the worst day of a patient’s life,” he said. “I wanted to use my skills and tool in a way that supports these Soldiers.”

During an in-air medevac mission, pilots are trained to control the aircraft as the hoist-line sways from the downward force of air created by the vehicle’s rotor system. Commonly known as downwash, this aerodynamic force can cause the hoist line to spin or oscillate, putting a patient or operator at risk.

“There have been fatalities connected to the spin, sway, or oscillation of the hoist line,” Al-Husseini said. “There have been a lot of folks that are negatively affected, either through asphyxiation, fatigue, or nausea. These real problems are impacting our patients, which are already in a compromised state.”

The new hoist-line system is designed to connect between a patient’s litter and the line’s base. The device’s internal control system will help stabilize the patient through a series of automatic spinning reaction wheels to counter the hoisted load movement.

As Al-Husseini continued through flight training, he split himself between two worlds. He spent most of his time learning to be an aeromedical evacuation officer, and then his free time on his invention.

He credits much of his success to the overwhelming support he received from leadership and colleagues during training and his career, including Capt. Kimberly Smith.

“It is amazing to see everything that he’s done and accomplished, all while learning how to fly,” said Smith, commander of Company D, 1st Bn., 145th Avn. Rgt. at the Army Aviation Center of Excellence.

Al-Husseini remained committed to his team as they entered their new aerial load system into several competitions, including the Army’s xTechSearch.

“The xTechSearch program is incredibly well run,” he said. “It is so important to the many small businesses that are working to develop technology” that might aid in the Army’s future.

The Army’s acquisition process can be confusing and overwhelming for a smaller business, he added. Through the competition, small business owners develop connections and can earn possible funding for a specific program.

“It is an exciting time to be in the Army right now and be an engineer,” Al-Husseini said. “The Army is working to improve on a technical level, and the xTechSearch program is a model blueprint” for the way ahead.

To attend these competitions, Al-Husseini had to request a delay in training, Smith said. Pausing a Soldier’s education could negatively impact their career, and is typically granted on a case-by-case basis.

“When you are on the flight line, it can definitely become very challenging. Your purpose is to learn how to fly,” Smith said. “I always preach to the students: you have to find balance.

“I am impressed that [Al-Husseini] managed all of flight school and graduated, all while designing a device that could be beneficial for the Army,” she added.

Currently, the device from Al-Husseini’s team is being evaluated by USAARL. If selected, it could become a vital tool in support of the medevac mission, he said.

Seeing the device on an Army aircraft, “would be a dream come true,” he added. “Not for myself and the success of my team, and not for any financial gain. Just knowing that each Soldier will be better off because of what we developed … is more than I could possibly ask for.”

Alternatively, if his device does not meet the Army’s final selection process, Al-Husseini would applaud the decision.

“I do not want my device to be selected if there is a better device that exists,” he added. “I want whatever is best for our Soldiers in the field. That is what it means to be an engineer. You have to continue to scrap your designs or refine to pivot and to create new ideas.”

Overall, Al-Husseini said, the Army is a diverse force full of incredibly inventive and resourceful people.

“Identify a problem and find a way to solve it,” he added. “You will be amazed at how supportive the Army can be. I think this is one of the things that makes our Army the greatest in the world.

“I want to encourage Soldiers to think outside the box and continue to push their limits to find ways to improve their organization. Because at the end of the day — no one knows their mission set better than they do.”

By Devon Suits, Army News Service

US Military Lands C130 on Newly Renovated Angaur Airfield in Palau

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

KOROR, Palau — A U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules delivered U.S. Army Pacific Soldiers onto the newly renovated Angaur Airfield for training exercises in the Republic of Palau, Sept. 5.

The successful arrival of the military cargo plane validates the airstrip’s use by military and commercial aircraft, a little more than a week after the project’s completion and ceremony August 27. In the weeks prior, a U.S. civil-military engineer joint task force reconstructed and expanded the runway as part of the Angaur Airfield Joint Improvement Project.

The U.S. Ambassador to Palau, John Hennessy-Niland remarked that making a rudimentary airstrip capable of hosting cargo aircraft is a significant milestone in support of the people of Palau. “The completion of the Angaur Airfield Joint Improvement Project is a game changer,” said Hennessy-Niland. “Palau now has a secondary airstrip. This had been a long-standing request from the government of Palau and the State of Angaur.”

Adding a second airfield allows the U.S., along with other allies and partners in the region increased opportunity to support the delivery of humanitarian assistance in times of crisis or address other regional security concerns.

The USARPAC Soldiers are arriving as part of Defender Pacific 20, a theater-wide exercise that demonstrates strategic readiness by deploying combat credible forces in support of the Compact of Free Association agreement and the U.S. National Defense Strategy.

“The deployment of forces onto a newly certified airstrip demonstrates our ability to rapidly project joint combat power across the Indo-Pacific Command and reinforce international rules-based order,” said Col. James Bartholomees, USARPAC Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. “This new runway demonstrates America’s investment in our important alliances and partnerships and our overall commitment to the people of Palau.”

U.S. Army Pacific worked closely with the U.S. Embassy, Government of Palau, and the Joint Region Marianas command in Guam to minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19 through 100% testing and quarantine measures. USARPAC would like to thank the Palau Ministry of Health for all their efforts and assistance with COVID-19 testing and clearance. All soldiers tested negative for the virus prior to their arrival to Angaur.

Courtesy of US Army News.