By Priam Nepomuceno

PAF Airlifters joined by USAF counterparts in a walk through during the demonstration of one of the processes in Prop Blending of a C130J. (Photo courtesy of PAF) 

MANILA – Philippine Air Force (PAF) airlift and maintenance personnel were briefed by their American counterparts on how to make their Lockheed C-130 “cargo” aircraft more efficient and safe.

This as the PAF’s 220th Airlift Wing and 410th Maintenance Wing took part in subject matter expert exchange (SMEE), together with their United States Air Force (USAF) counterparts on C-130 prop blending and basic post flight (BPO) and pre-flight inspection (PFI) procedures last April 17, Air Force spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo said in a statement late Wednesday.

The SMEE was held at the Herky Lounge, 222nd Airlift Squadron, 220th Airlift Wing, Brig. Gen. Benito N. Ebuen Air Base, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.

Castillo said C-130 prop blending refers to the process of repairing or restoring a damaged or worn-out propeller on a C-130 military transport aircraft.

“It is an essential maintenance procedure for C-130 aircraft to ensure that the propellers are operating efficiently and safely. Properly balanced and maintained propellers can help extend the life of the aircraft and reduce the risk of in-flight incidents,” she added.

Meanwhile, BPO and PFI are two essential maintenance procedures that are carried out on the aircraft before and after each flight to ensure their airworthiness and safety.

“By performing these inspections, maintenance personnel and pilots can detect and correct any issues before they become serious problems that could compromise the safety of the aircraft and its crew/passengers,” Castillo added.

She also said the session provided the aircrew and maintenance personnel of the PAF an essential learning opportunity to improve their knowledge and skills necessary for effective handling and maintenance of its C-130s.

Also on April 17, the 220th Airlift Wing also participated in a SMEE with USAF airlifters on low-cost low-altitude (LCLA) airdrop bundle rigging at Brig. Gen. Benito N. Ebuen Air Base.

“During the activity, the USAF demonstrated their patented Low-cost Low-altitude (LCLA) airdrop bundle techniques and exchanged best practices with all the participants. The learning event was attended by C-130 Pilots and Crew from the 222nd Airlift Squadron; Maintenance Personnel from the 470th Maintenance and Supply Squadron and 410th Maintenance Wing; and USAF counterparts,” Castillo said.

She added LCLA airdrop configuration utilizes minimal rigging supplies and decommissioned personnel parachutes that are still serviceable to deliver customized cargo, such as humanitarian aid and disaster relief, in bundles.

Additionally, it can be rigged in a “coastal” configuration suitable for a shoreline drop zone.

“LCLA offers a cheap, effective, and accurate tactical airlift delivery method that the PAF may employ using our C-130, C-295, NC-212i, and other airlift platforms.

This can be extremely effective during resupply and HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief) operations,” Castillo said.

She added that this SMEE is in preparation for the LCLA airdrop exercise to be performed in the coming days as one of the activities in this year’s “Balikatan” exercises.

This aims to further improve PAF’s operational readiness in delivering goods in critical areas of operations. (PNA)