Lightweight Parachute Tested for AC-130 Crews

The Air Force tested a Low Profile Parachute that could serve as a lightweight replacement to the bulkier BA-22 parachute that AC-130 aircrew members currently use, according to a release from Edwards AFB, Calif. In April, Air Force testers finished evaluations of the low-cost, commercially available LPP, which weighs about 20 pounds—roughly half of the BA-22, states Edwards’ May 2 release. Prior to actual jumps, the Air Force conducted wind tunnel tests and then fitted dummies with the LPP and dropped them from a World War II B-25 bomber and a SC.7 Skyvan, according to the release. Then came some 55 test sorties with the jumpers. “Some minor malfunctions, such as line twists, were experienced, not to mention some hard openings at high speeds and some hard landings,” said TSgt. Joe Monreal, 418th Flight Test Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of the test program and one of the test jumpers. “But, in the end, we all feel that this new system will help AC-130 aircrew members . . . accomplish the mission more effectively and safely.” (Edwards report by Jet Fabara)