Moving ImPORTant Cargo Aerially
By Senior Airman Michael Matkin, 161st Air Refueling Wing
/ Published July 12, 2010
Phoenix Sky Harbor Air National Guard Base -- Good things come in all sorts of different packages: large, small, heavy and light. This is especially true when the package contains essential equipment for a servicemember to complete their job. Acting as force multipliers, members of the 161st Air Refueling Wing Logistics Readiness Squadron Aerial Port Flight, ensure war fighters get their equipment and more importantly, that the equipment reaches its destination safely.
Members of the AP flight loaded six pallets containing maintenance equipment onto one of the Wing's KC-135 aircraft, in support of the upcoming NATO deployment to Germany.
"This has been a great realworld training opportunity in load planning and utilizing our material handling equipment since our shop doesn't get an opportunity to load a lot of cargo because our base's main mission is air refueling," said Master Sgt. Perry Toro 161 ARW AP load planning NCO incharge. "We also completed our first joint inspection with the Maintenance Squadron."
Once the cargo is ready for shipment Aerial Port completes a joint inspection with the unit the equipment belongs to. During this inspection they confirm the weight of the items and check to make sure the dimensions are configured for the aircraft it will be loaded upon. Servicemembers from Aerial Port then inspect the cargo to make sure it complies with Air Transportation shipment regulations, such as making sure the correct tie-down restraints are being used. They also make sure that if there is any HAZMAT material that the proper paperwork is filed and a placard is visibly on the container. Finally, they inspect the condition of the pallets, bins and nets to make sure they are serviceable and that the cargo is properly palletized.
Before the cargo is loaded onto the aircraft AP servicemembers utilize a computer program called the Automated Air Load Program System. The users input the weight and dimensions of the load and the computer balances out the load based upon the type of aircraft; organizing the cargo making sure that the bins and pallets are loaded in the correct position based upon their weightin the aircraft for safety to the aircrew and the aircraft.
"The airmen did an awesome job," said Sergeant Toro. "They completed some great training and did it with a sense of urgency associated with real-world exercises - mission complete."