June 2, 2020 (by 2nd Lt. Christine Saunders) - A total force integration team of active-duty testers and Air National Guard Airmen were rewarded recently for their combined efforts on a money-saving C-130H propeller system.
A 153rd AW maintainer plugs in a generator cable into C-130H3 #92-1536 after arriving at Eglin AFB on January 11, 2020. Air Force’s first fully upgraded C-130H is here for test and evaluation on its new modified propeller system and engines. [USAF photo by Samuel King Jr.]
The C-130H NP2000 test team made up of 417th Flight Test Squadron and Wyoming ANG's 153rd Airlift Wing personnel earned the 2019 Gen. Mark A. Welsh III One Air Force Award. More than eight different organizations were ultimately involved with the test effort.
“Congratulations to this innovative and strategic-minded team for creating positive impacts across the total force,” said Brig. Gen. Scott Cain, 96th Test Wing commander. “This successful initiative paved the way for future integrated efforts.”
This joint testing began in January 2018 when aircraft and team arrived here. The ANG C-130H model was fitting with a new propeller system that added two more blades than the typical six-blade engines seen on most models.
The goal of the TFI testing was to collect data and confirm increased fuel efficiency, reliability and overall performance improvements could be gained from the new propellers and upgraded engines.
The benefits of the upgraded system included shorter take-off roll, improved climb, quieter operations, and lower operating and support costs, according to Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, the program office for the test.
The testing was proven successful decreasing aircraft fuel costs by 10%. The success led to the fast-tracking of the plan to swap the fleet’s aging propeller blades to the newly tested ones.
Locally, the expertise among the testers and ANG allowed the team to reduce the required test flights by 21% saving the project $850,000 and four-months of evaluations.
“The biggest reason for our success was the effort of the Wyoming ANG Airmen,” said James Jeffrey Hoy, 417th FLTS lead flight test engineer for the team. “This program required a large, sustained manpower effort and they met this while also maintaining their operational state in Cheyenne. Their constant support allowed the team to execute the program without sacrificing test schedule or data quality.”
The One Air Force award is given for mission success achieved by a team made up of two or more Total Force components. It recognizes the team that best demonstrates improved effectiveness, operational readiness or mission accomplishment through integrated solutions.