KC-46 Cargo Validation Tool

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Alexi Myrick
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. — Tech. Sgt. Clayton Allen, 22nd Air Refueling Wing superintendent of wing innovations, designed and created the KC-46A Pegasus Cargo Validation Tool prototype May 20, 2019, to serve as a guide for aerial porters, who are responsible for coordinating the transportation of assets on military aircraft at McConnell.


This prototype was created as a platform to help pre-plan cargo before loading the Air Force’s newest airframe.


“Much of the existing Air Force cargo systems like the Internal Stability Unit fit the KC-46 with almost no validation, which is making sure cargo will fit into the aircraft after it is loaded onto the pallet,” said Allen. “However, cargo that is manually loaded and strapped down to pallets can vary in size, weight and overall shape.”


These pallets can be various sizes depending on what they consist of. These items can be anything from aircraft tires and parts to civil engineering tools and equipment.


The methods that are currently being used consist of primitive measure such as tape measures and pieces of wood with markings to measure the loads of cargo.


“This tool can drastically increase the quality of work by making the measuring capability more precise than using a tape measure alone,” said Lt. Col. Doug Snead, 22nd Air Refueling Wing XPX Innovation Lab chief.


Using the validation tool will help aerial porters ensure that the cargo they are planning to load on the aircraft will fit without the actual KC-46 having to be present. This allows for a higher accuracy rate and less time loading onto the aircraft.


“We typically do everything by using computer aided design first rendering animations and stress testing results before they move into production,” said Allen. “We work both in our lab and off base at Wichita State University GoCreate to produce our parts.”


McConnell’s partnership with WSU allowed Allen to use the GoCreate lab and build his prototype to begin testing.


“The Program Integration Office approached me with the specs of the cargo section of the airframe and I saw an opportunity to make a product that possibly changes the way we handle cargo in AMC with the on boarding of a new airframe,” said Allen.


The innovation of this prototype could possibly change the way that aerial porters load all types of cargo aircraft. Loading the pallets wrong can cost aerial porters a lot of time, using this system could allow them to do the work in advance and could possibly save them days of having to reload and recalculate.


If you are an innovator and would like to get involved with McConnell’s Innovation Lab you can reach them at (316) 759-3520.