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    Flight test loadmasters lead the way

    Flight test loadmasters ensure mission success

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Rachel Simones | Tech. Sgt. Ryan Nichols, an evaluator flight test loadmaster with the 418th Flight...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Rachel Simones 

    Edwards Air Force Base

    U.S. Air Force loadmasters are an essential part of ensuring cargo reaches its destination. Loadmasters are responsible for hauling and securing supplies, pallets, vehicles and even aircraft onto cargo planes. In addition to doing hands-on work, the loadmasters also take the center balance of the equipment to ensure safe flight.

    While operational loadmasters have essential safety responsibilities, 418th Flight Test Squadron loadmasters have an even greater responsibility. They test the limits to provide the warfighter with the most secure, up-to-date cargo carrying requirements.

    “We have a completely different mission out here,” said Staff Sgt. Korina Myers, an instructor flight test loadmaster with the 418th FLTS. “It’s really cool that we get to do stuff that no other loadmaster gets to do in all of the Air Force.”

    Flight test loadmasters push the boundaries with planned precision. As part of the required aircrew, they must be present on test missions to ensure airdrops are conducted safely and data is effectively gathered to be sent back to decision makers.

    “Any type of modification or anything they want to change with the aircraft they have to test it here before they can actually implement it,” said Tech. Sgt. Ryan Nichols, an evaluator flight test loadmaster with the 418th FLTS. “So we’re here to make sure it works and we provide feedback to engineers to come up with reports for decision-making purposes.”

    The 418th FLTS loadmasters train by testing airdrops with thousands of pounds of cargo and even work with organizations like NASA to test specialized equipment and materials.

    “We work with NASA to test the parachutes for the capsules that will go on the next space shuttle flight,” Myers said. “We’re actually testing out the parachutes to make sure they return safely back to Earth.”

    Myers and Nichols not only expand their skill sets through test and development of Air Force technology, but they play a role in the overall Air Force Test Center culture.

    “I just feel really lucky that I got this job,” said Myers. “It’s a really cool place to be.”

    The Air Force Test Center is staffed by highly proficient, seasoned test personnel that continuously create adaptive test solutions to enhance mission capabilities for the future of the operational Air Force.



    Date Taken: 09.11.2019
    Date Posted: 09.11.2019 11:34
    Story ID: 339672

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