July 8 (UPI) — Crews of C-130J Super Hercules aircraft will begin using simplified and innovative anti-smoke goggles, the U.S. Air Force announced.
ASGs have been a part of standard equipment aboard the tactical cargo and troop transport planes for over 20 years, used at moments when the plane fills with smoke. The new three-part system includes upgraded goggles and oxygen masks, and supersedes a four-part unit.
The new equipment, similar to goggles worn by fire fighters, is currently being tested at Keesler AFB, Miss.
“The ones that we are replacing have the same basic frame, but the goggles and the oxygen mask are two separate pieces,” said Tech. Sgt. Ronald Patton, 403rd Operation Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment craftsman at Keesler AFB. “Before, you would need to put the oxygen mask over your mouth and nose, then pull the frame up and place the nape pad at the back of your head. Once that was in place you would put the goggles on and pull the straps on both sides to tighten them.”
The new goggles replace equipment with no reported problems, but will enhance aircrew performance, officials say.
“It is not that the old ASGs were replaced because they were faulty, they worked exactly as they were designed to. It seems like they just needed to improve on the integrity of the system itself,” Patton added. “Will it operate better under stressful situations, will it be easier to repair if it does break, does it have as many subcomponents that can break, does the aircrew member find it easier to don, and can the aircrew operate better in the environment, were questions that they asked when designing the new system.”
All the parts of the new goggles are replaceable, and the new ASGs will be easier to install and remove in emergency situations.
The new systems will appear on all C-130J aircraft of the U.S. Air Force, the Coast Guard and the Air National Guard by August, the Air Force said last week.