MIDDLETOWN, Pa. --
Airmen at the 193rd Special Operations Group, assembled a new piece of equipment designed to save lives and enhance capabilities Aug. 9 on base here.
One hundred and twenty four unassembled new Low-Profile Parachutes started to arrive at the wing in June of 2017 to replace the old parachutes that were more than two decades old.
“We have had the old chutes since the late 1980's, so this is a big change in equipment for the unit,” said Master Sgt. Douglas Boop, 193rd SOG aircrew flight equipment technician.
Airmen in the 193rd SOG are in charge of assembling and inspecting these parachutes.
“We have to build them from scratch, attach the components, inspect them, and build them into the pack,” said Tech. Sgt. Kurt Mellott, 193rd SOG aircrew flight equipment technician.
“To build from scratch takes three hours, and the inspection takes another hour to hour and a half. To open up and repack a chute takes about two and a half hours. The thorough inspections take the most time.”
To ensure that the parachutes are put together correctly, there are checks and balances in place throughout the process.
“We always pack with another person,” said Mellott. “There are certain mandated stopping points throughout the assembling and packing processes where there are at least three sets of eyes checking the completed steps on every chute.”
The theory of operations on these chutes are the same as the old ones, but there are a few major differences.
“The service life is longer, which means less maintenance and less cost for replacing parts over their 25-year life span,” said Mellott. “They also have an automatic activation, which is now multi-use and prevents accidental discharge.”
This new parachute technology has been around for a few years and has now been incorporated into the military for emergency use, Mellott stated.
“This is one of the most important pieces of lifesaving equipment on the aircraft,” said Boop. “The aircrew depend on this to work in their time of need.”