“It’s about creating a safer winch cable for the C-17,” said Ed Clark of the APTO Office. “Serious injury occurs when a steel cable breaks, eliminating those injuries is imperative.”
“The change from steel to a synthetic material is most noteworthy in the significant weight difference,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jeff Witherly, C-17 evaluator loadmaster, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. “The cable is simply easier to move, maneuver and manipulate around the cargo compartment. The fact that it does not retain energy when it breaks is a huge safety advantage as it will not whiplash if it were to fail.”
During the first quarter of 2020, six sets of cables will be installed on two aircraft at three different operational bases. The Air Mobility Command and the C-17 Program Office will evaluate them for approval as a suitable substititue.
Samson Rope Company is working with the crew to design the system. They manufacture industry-specific synthetic rope that is engineered to meet various demands.
Upon approval, the fleet will be upgraded with the new synthetic cables and will become an Air Force-approved, commercially available item that can be procured for all C-17 aircraft.
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