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C-130s may add safer loadmaster seats


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C-130s may add safer loadmaster seats

By Bruce Rolfsen - Staff writer

Posted : Monday Nov 24, 2008 7:18:15 EST

Loadmasters onboard the C-130 Hercules may feel safer thanks to an effort to add crashworthy chairs.

Air Force Materiel Command is looking at options for installing a pair of crashworthy seats in C-130 cargo bays near the paratroop doors, according to a request sent to aircraft contractors. The command is not yet seeking bidders to build seats.

Seat specifications call them to protect an airman from an impact of up to 16Gs, a requirement similar to the crash rating of the cockpit chairs.

Each seat would be mounted to the aircraft fuselage but foldable so it did not get in the way of moving cargo.

Today, C-130 loadmasters sit on web benches or other seats that aren’t designed to protect the airman from a severe impact.

Fatal crashes of Air Force C-130s are rare.

The last time an Air Force C-130 loadmaster died in a crash landing was in 2002 when an MC-130H Combat Talon II came down shortly after taking off from an improvised runway in Afghanistan. The landing impact broke loose the plane’s cargo, killing two loadmasters and a passenger.

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I always rigged seat belts to the big pole right behind the left troop door. It was behind the cargo and I could see the wings from there. Better to be facing forward than sideways on a hard landing. It put you close to the ramp controls too. If it was a speed off-load, you could be ready to roll the load off before you got to the turn around area at the end of the runway.

They gonna put a \"Reserved for LM\" sign on it to keep the pax out of it?

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Those LM Seats Muff is talking about were installed on the right side of the aircraft, They were not

near any of the dual rails handles. you usually had to climb over the wench and other goodies to

get. to the handles, to get to the rear of the aircraft, to open the ramp and door for an engines

running offload. In fact, you wanted to be back there, to get the ramp and door open, because

you were usually being chased by mortars. You needed to get ridd of the stuff ususlly Class A ammo.

After you, released the locks and the load was moving out of the aircraft, you were running to

the back following the load, to get the ramp and doors closed, because the pilot was getting

ready for take off roll. The only place for the LM, was to try to strap himself in by the paratroop


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  • 2 weeks later...

When the loadmaster seats were first put in, they were on the left side of the cargo compartment just inside the crew entrance door. We sure as hell sat in them when we were going into one of those places where the bullets were flying all over the place! I was at Naha when they were put in. I left and went to MAC for a little over a year then went to Clark, where the seats were on the right side as Glenn said. I don\'t know if that is where they put them originally or if they had been moved.

As for surviving crashes, there were probably more loadmasters who survived crashes than any other position. Unless I used the loadmaster seat, I normally stood up in the left paratroop door with a seat built around me. We were more concerned about getting in and getting back out again before they could zero in on us than we were with crashes. If you were on the ground more than about five minutes, you were dead meat so most loadmasters were at the back of the airplane for landing at forward fields. Some guys would strap in on the chain boxes, reasoning that they might stop a bullet.

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