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Keeping Airmen safe: 19th OSS AFE upgrades parachutes

  • Published
  • By by Airman 1st Class Mariam K. Springs
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


Airmen assigned to the 19th Operations Support Squadron Aircrew Flight Equipment shop are receiving and training on a new parachute, the BA-30, to maximize safety and readiness while accelerating the change needed for mission execution in a rapidly changing environment.

The handful of AFE Airmen, chosen based on their parachute rigging ability and experience, were sent to hands-on training for five days coordinated by Air Mobility Command to learn about the fundamentals, build up, inspection and repack of the low profile parachute.

“In the 19th OSS we’re all about initiative and meeting the mission head-on,” said Lt. Col. Michael Trimble, 19th OSS commander. “This parachute is so new that there was not an established Air Force training available for it, so we sent an initial cadre of 19th OSS Aircrew Flight Equipment NCOs to get training straight from the manufacturer on packing and maintaining this chute.”

According to Tech. Sgt. Mellisa Tolliver, 19th OSS AFE quality assurance technician, the BA-30 is a “low-profile” construct, reducing the overall parachute pack size by 25 percent, with a weight reduction of ten pounds. This makes the pack more comfortable for the wearer – which can reduce wearer fatigue during flight operations.

“The BA-30 parachute canopy is an extended-skirt, tri-conical aerodynamic design with integrated drive vents to allow the jumper to have forward motion and increased steering capabilities via toggles,” Tolliver said. “The older parachute used, the BA-22, had minimal forward motion capability— therefore the steering capability was not nearly as effective for the wearer. The new BA-30 parachute also takes considerably less time to train technicians, inspect and repack.”

The new BA-30 parachute pack is also integrated with a more advanced automatic activation device, compared to the older model. 

This upgraded parachute safeguards the well-being of all aircrew members and guarantees mission success. The 19th Airlift Wing is expected to obtain 160 BA-30 low profile parachutes. These will be prepositioned aboard C130J Super Hercules for fallout and emergency bailout purposes.

“This is the first upgrade to the emergency parachutes on the C-130J in decades,” Trimble said. “It’s a tangible example of the Air Force’s warfighting readiness and modernization push. The new BA-30 chute is more reliable, simpler to use, and simpler to pack and maintain than the old BA-22. No C-130J aircrew member steps to their aircraft thinking they’re going to use a parachute, but if a Little Rock-based crew ever has to do so we want them to have the best, most reliable chute available.”