Skip to comments.Loadmasters help reposition Australian Defense Forces
Posted on 05/30/2006 7:34:47 PM PDT by SandRat
5/30/2006 - TOWNSVILLE, Australia (AFPN) -- The U.S. Pacific Command is using its strategic airlift capability to help the Australian Defense Force. At the request of the Australian government, two C-17 Globemaster IIIs from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, are moving equipment and troops from the Solomon Islands back to Australia. This will help Australia position its forces to respond more rapidly to unrest in neighboring East Timor.
The biggest part of the mission involves the loading and unloading of passengers and cargo.
Were in charge of passenger safety (and) ensuring the cargo is loaded correctly ... the weight and balance (must be) correct so that the aircraft will fly safely, said Master Sgt. Mike Cumberland, a loadmaster with the 535th Airlift Squadron.
Weight and balance, input incorrectly, can cause an aircraft to crash, so we have a tremendous responsibility on our shoulders, he said.
With a full tank of fuel the C-17 can carry about 165,000 pounds of cargo and passengers. With its flexibility the aircraft can get to just about any airfield in the world and transport just about anything in the Department of Defense inventory. So far Trek 21, the call sign for one of Hickams C-17s, has hauled approximately 100,000 pounds for the Australians.
Being a loadmaster is great. Theres a lot of responsibility in it, theres a lot of travel, transporting the troops and cargo -- its very satisfying to be able to get everything in the plane on time and take off on time and just get things done, said Airman James Ngo, a loadmaster with the 535th AS.
Australian and American Partners.
Pity the Australian media is pretty much ignoring that support.
This is serious %$#@$. When I was at an Army transportation school last summer, we read about a C-130 that crashed on takeoff in Afghanistan because weight and balance we're calculated quite right. There were a few survivors, but not many.
As a C-130 loadmaster recently back from Afghanistan I can assure you there have been no American or coalition cargo aircraft that have crashed due to W&B not being correctly calculated or for any other reason.
C-17s don't have a navigator, ergo they have no seat for them. You probably sat on the jump seat, used most commonly for the pilot instructor or evaluator.
I wasn't making a slam on anyone's competence -- just trying to say that these calculations are deadly serious.
This particular article doesn't give the cause of the crash, but other articles say it was overloaded at takeoff -- they were picking up a Special Forces team in the field, and used estimated weights for their vehicles and gear instead weighing it.
One of the things I recall from the article I read was the photo of a pretty female airman who was killed. I believe this link from Arlington Cemetery has more info.
I can guarantee you that if a C-130 had ever crashed in Afghanistan the entire C-130 community would know about it. One of only two C-130 losses since OIF was the one in Iraq that hit a huge pothole when it landed. For some reason it wasn't NOTAMed nor did anyone warn the aircraft. Although the aircraft was destroyed, no one was killed. About seven years ago, in Kuwait, A C-130 landed short and killed a couple of pax. It became airborne again and landed at Kuwait IAP. There was also an AC-130 shot down during DS in 1991 and a Brit C-130 shot down a few years ago. But no C-130 has crashed in theater due to miscalculated W&B. As a loadmaster I would definitely have heard about it.
I forgot about that one...different command. But it appears that it crashed three miles from the runway, which means it wasn't a W&B issue. It's pretty hard to put one so out of balance that it crashes. One report mentions engine fire. My guess is CFIT due to distraction or disorientation.
The article I read said that the plane was able to lift itself only because of groud effects -- and that once it got a little altitude it no longer had adequate lift, so it fell back to earth or hit an obstruction that it couldn't climb over.
I think that was in Air Force Times or some paper like that -- these MSM papers don't always assign subject-matter experts, so I'm sure the writer might have been mistaken.
Looks like the Aussies need to get some more airlift of their own.
naturalman1975, please correct me if I'm off on this.
I beleive they had some until they got overrun by liberals of our Kerry, Kennedy, and Clinton ilk. PM Howard, IMO, is working hard to change that but it's slow going.
If we had to, we could do this job entirely by ourselves. But we're not too proud to ask for help from an ally. The 2 C-17s that the USAF has made available speed up the job considerably.
In addition, the Royal New Zealand Air Force is also providing C-130 transports for this mission.
I would point out just for the record that after September 11, an RAAF C-130 was used for transport and freight missions across the United States. Not because the US needed it, but because it's often handy to have additional support, even if it's not critical.
The RAAF is looking at buying some C-17s - they are very useful aircraft and we do want some of our own. But this current mission isn't a matter of Australia not being able to do this by ourselves - US assistance with transport is extremely useful and very appreciated (as is that being provided by New Zealand), but we could do it without help if we had to.
The Australian Defence Force did suffer under the Labor government of 1983-1996, which positioned the defence of Australia as the only doctrine for Australia's defence, and for that reason did not support many purchases we would have liked to have in terms of force projection capability, but I can't say if the RAAF suffered in this regard - my service was with the RAN and we did, most notably in Labor's decision not to replace our aircraft carrier. The Howard government is and has been working to repair that neglect, but it does take some time.
In any case, glad to help the Aussies anytime. We may have had 9/11 on our soil, but you are closer to a lot of the jihadists than we are.
Remember, their deal for us is: convert, submit or die!
Looks like Europe wants choice #2.