Cadets’ Design Could Replace C-130 Support Block

C-130 loadmasters may soon be able to replace the aircraft’s bulky 75-pound “milk stool” ramp-support block with a sturdy, lightweight alternative designed by Air Force Academy engineering cadets. The cadets’ 20-pound aluminum model “could help the C-130 community,” said Cadet Zachary Peters, who devised the prototype with three classmates. Consulting with members of Air Force Reserve Command’s 52nd Airlift Squadron at Peterson AFB, Colo., they designed their milk stool to withstand loads in excess of 61 tons. Today, loadmasters have to heft the current block up to 10 times during a mission. “When you take into account the heat and hydration issues that come with flying these missions [in a deployed environment], a lightweight design would help,” affirmed MSgt. A.K. Roberts, 52nd AS loadmaster superintendant. Air Force officials could adopt the cadets’ affordable design as early as next year. (Colorado Springs report by Don Branum)