Loadmasters scheduled for C-130J training

By Airman 1st Class Juan Torres

As Yokota Air Base transitions from the C-130H Hercules to the new C-130J model, the 36th Airlift Squadron is ready to keep the mission going. 

Along with other members of the 36 AS, Airman 1st Class Christian Williams, 36 AS C-130H loadmaster, who has been actively working with C-130s for almost two years, must also transition his training to the new model. 

“I am looking forward to gaining a new skill set as the loadmaster position takes on the responsibilities of the flight engineer, becoming more involved with the activities conducted in the flight deck,” said Williams.

During a two monthlong training in Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, they learn to perform inspections and operation aircraft systems such as the auxiliary power unit, fuel panel, and the cargo handling system. Additionally, they learn how to airlift cargo and airdrop it.

In this training the loadmasters spend a month and a half working on the basics in the differences between C-130 models, and then two weeks of flying culminating in an initial flight examination. This training helps prepare the Airmen to continue our mission with the new J-models. 

“This training is important because on the J-model loadmaster are much more involved because of a smaller crew size,” said Tech. Sgt. Napoleon Ortiz, 36 AS C-130J loadmaster and assistant flight chief, who has been flying on C-130s for five years and has been through the training. “In this new aircraft we have to widen our scope of responsibility.”

The main differences between the H-model and J-model that come into play for loadmasters is entirely physical. First, the J-model's cargo compartment has been extended to carry two more pallets resulting in eight total. They also have locking mechanism that is electronically controlled, rollers that are built into the airplane for easy stowing, and a winch that is installed directly into the cargo floor.

”It’s great to see that the J-model aircraft comes with modern technology that will ease the loading and offloading of cargo, saving time and expediting the mission,” said Williams.

“Since I was on flying on the oldest H-models, it’s like stepping into the future 40 years,” said Ortiz. “The change in technology and what the aircraft can do for you is very impressive. It’s very exciting getting back out into the area of responsibility and being on the forefront of stabilizing this region. With the new model we will be utilized more than ever before.”

Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the Yokota Air Base website.