Tanker Socks

The Air Mobility Battlelab is recommending that Air Mobility Command adopt a new cooling “sock” for the KC-135 fleet as a means of keeping the aircraft’s flight deck cool when the tankers are parked in hot climates. “Cooling the cockpit is not just a crew comfort item, it’s vital for the proper operation and longevity of sensitive electronics in the flight deck,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Lathrop, AMB commander. The sock is a lightweight, flexible, canvas tube that is small enough to run behind the aircraft’s crew entry ladder. It eliminates the safety hazards associated with the current duct method of cooling the aircraft. The Air National Guard’s 161st Air Refueling Wing at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Ariz., devised the sock. The sock “met all of our objectives” during a demonstration in June in Arizona, said MSgt. Eric Allain, AMB project manager on the initiative. With different material, the sock could also be used for heating operations in a cold weather climate. The AMB, which is located at the Air Force Expeditionary Center on the grounds of Ft. Dix, N.J., will deactivate Sept. 24 as part of an Air Force cost-savings initiative to shutter its seven battlelabs. (Ft. Dix report by TSgt. Scott Sturkol)