Next month, an aircrew at Keesler Air Force Base is employing new anti-smoke goggles that resemble those used by firefighters.
The goggles, intended for the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, have three main components rather than four so that the aircrew can gear up faster. Unlike the older equipment that was used for more than 20 years, the new goggles and the accompanying oxygen mask are designed so they are put on simultaneously.
“The ones that we are replacing have the same basic frame, but the goggles and the oxygen mask are two separate pieces,” Tech. Sgt. Ronald Patton, 403rd Operation Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment craftsman, said in a news release Thursday about the older version. “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 masks were bear similarities to the masks utilized by firefighters and provide a greater field of view, according to Master Sgt. Ray Reynold, 403rd OSS aircrew flight equipment supervisor.
Although there were no issues with the older goggles, Patton said that the new ones will enhance the aircrew’s performance.
“It is not that the old ASGs were replaced because they were faulty, they worked exactly as they were designed to," he said. “It seems like they just needed to improve on the integrity of the system itself.”
Designers, said Patton, considered several questions before coming up with the new goggles.
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?
The aircrew will start using the new goggles in the middle of August once the inspection cycles conclude.