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Air Force Program Office Analyzes C-17 Airflow, Ventilation Patterns

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The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s C-17 program office performed airflow tests to characterize ventilation and air movements inside a Boeing-build Globemaster III cargo aircraft.

Personnel completed 11 airflow tests and collected data over a four-day period as the C-17 in a bid to calculate the possibility of contaminant accumulation within the vehicle and determine protective personnel equipment requirements for flight crew, the U.S. Air Force said Saturday.

The military service aims to increase the C-17 aircraft’s ability to transport COVIS-19 patients but it says there was not enough real-world information or computational models for characterizing cabin ventilation.

During the tests, 28th TES fielded aerosol generator systems and photometers to validate the circulation of aerosol in equipment and cargo. The team also analyzed pressurization levels and conducted ground tests.

“Through control of the airflow and the appropriate personal protection equipment, we can drive down the coronavirus exposure risk and protect our aircrews so they are healthy for the next mission, and can go home to their families,” said Col. Scott Ekstrom, senior materiel leader in AFLCMC’s C-17 program office.

The AF Research Laboratory partnered with the Army Public Health and the University of Nebraska Medical Center to conduct data modeling and analysis aimed at understanding how the coronavirus may travel across the aircraft interior during a medical airlift mission.