Image of the Air Force wings with the museum name underneath

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
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Special Delivery: Loadmasters

Loadmasters fill a crucial role in airlift operations, performing skilled calculations to safely deliver people and supplies around the world.

Loadmasters are enlisted aircrew members who serve as cargo specialists. They load and unload cargo, assist passengers, and conduct airdrops.

When loading cargo, loadmasters carefully plan its placement to distribute weight properly throughout the aircraft. This critical task keeps the aircraft safely balanced in flight, prevents overloading, and maximizes available space. Loadmasters also evaluate hazardous cargo, paying careful attention to its proximity to passengers and other items.

To increase efficiency and decrease risk, some resupply operations are airdropped by parachute. Loadmasters supervise the air delivery of troops, humanitarian aid, and even vehicles. 

Staff Sergeant Anissa Shero
Loadmaster, Operation Enduring Freedom

In June 2002, loadmaster SSgt. Anissa Shero helped extract a special operations team in Afghanistan. After an aborted takeoff attempt, SSgt. Shero discovered two soldiers unrestrained and told them to buckle up. Shortly after, the aircraft took off again, this time crashing. Shero, fellow loadmaster TSgt Sean Corlew, and US Army SFC Peter Tycz died. The two soldiers SSgt Shero assisted both survived.

Load Planning

To keep aircraft balanced, loadmasters place cargo and people in specified positions based on the aircraft’s center of gravity. They determine the weight of cargo, fuel, passengers, and crew before loading, then distribute the position of each based on a specified reference point. This helps spread weight evenly from the front to the back to keep the aircraft stabilized.      

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