This page describes the Equipment Preparation Course. You can use the following bookmarks to navigate to the subject you are interested in.
The user is responsible for preparing cargo so that it is suitable for airlift. AMC will act in an advisory capacity only,
and should not be expected to prepare a user's equipment for them. A self-supporting unit moves quickly and incurs
fewer problems than the unit that relies heavily on AMC support. Cargo custodians are responsible for controlling and
safeguarding cargo, and troop commanders assume responsibility for all passengers en route, and will be provided by
the deploying unit (ref AMCP 36-1, p. 16-18).
Marshalling is defined as the orderly assembly, organization, and movement of personnel and equipment from the unit to
the aircraft. In the Unit Area, equipment is identified, prioritized, sequenced, and consolidated; then inspected for
serviceability, cleanliness, and air worthiness; and any hazardous materials are identified and documented. The Assembly
Area is where cargo is checked in and assembled by aircraft loads (chalks). Joint Inspection is the process where the
transported unit and the unit assigned to provide airlift conduct a final check over of equipment and documentation.
The Ready Line is where cargo is isolated in a separate holding area to await aircraft loading (p. 21).
The 463L System includes the 463L Pallet to load cargo on, and a Dual Rail System of floor rollers and rail guides in AMC
aircraft. The 463L pallet is a 88" x 108" aluminum skinned board with rings along the sides, allowing cargo to be strapped
down to it using top and side cargo nets, or tiedown straps. The Dual Rail System allows pallets to be guided into position
inside the aircraft, with the side rails providing lateral and vertical restraint, and detent locks holding the pallet securely
in place once inside to prevent forward and aft movement of the pallets during flight (p. 33).
Materials handling equipment (MHE) is used to package, handle, or transport cargo in preparation for air shipment. It
Forklifts are used to lift, transport, and stack cargo or equipment. They are able to carry and move one pallet at a time
and are used to load larger loaders or bring pallets from the ready line to the aircraft. If they have rollerized tines, the
pallet can roll directly from the forklift to the dual rail system inside the plane. The 4K forklift is used for loading and
unloading pallets or secondary loads on vehicles, but due to short tines and limited capacity (4,000 pounds max) it cannot
handle palletized 463L cargo. The 6K forklift is considerably larger, and can handle 463L pallets up to 6,000 pounds.
The 10K is the most capable and available forklift in the airlift inventory, and can lift and transport 10,000 pounds of cargo
or pallets onto aircraft. The 10K AT forklift (picture) may have either 10,000 or 13,000 pounds capability, and is designed for
adverse terrain (p. 45-46).
K-Loaders provide the capability to rapidly onload and offload multiple 463L pallets from airlift aircraft. They are
self-propelled transportation platforms with rollerized decks able to raise, lower, or tilt forward or aft, permitting
precise alignment with aircraft floors. Their quantity and availability is limited and they are difficult to transport due
to their size and weight. The 25K-Loader can lift and transport three 463L pallets up to a maximum of 25,000 pounds;
it is the most available K-Loader. The TAC-Loader can be modified with extensions to load and carry five pallets with
a weight of 25,000 pounds on unimproved surfaces, and 36,000 pounds on paved surfaces; it is the easiest of the loaders
to transport by air. The 40K-Loader (picture) can lift and transport five pallets and loads up to 40,000 pounds. The 60K-Loader
has the ability to lift and transport up to six pallets or 60,000 pounds; it is the most versatile of all the K-Loaders, and can
replace all K-Loaders and wide body loaders (p. 49-50).
Wide Body Loaders are used as high lifts for wide body aircraft (B-747, DC-10, KC-10) that do not have cargo loading
ramps and whose cargo floors are too high for forklifts and K-Loaders to reach. Wide Body Loaders can lift cargo and
pallets up to the cargo door, but cannot transport cargo along horizontal surfaces. The 316A Cochran Loader can lift
25,000 pounds and accommodate two 463L pallets; it usually supports KC-10 operations. The 316E Cochran Loader (picture)
can lift 40,000 pounds and will accommodate two 463L pallets; it is the most commonly used and available wide body loader.
The CL-3 Wilson Loader can lift 40,000 pounds and will hold three 463L pallets; it is the newest of the wide body loaders
load vehicles and trailers up the cargo ramp into the aircraft; Rollerized Flatbed Trucks and Pallet Dollies to aid pallet
buildup, storing, and transporting; and Portable Stairs (picture) to load passenger and crew aboard aircraft (p. 52-53).
Shoring consists of layers of plywood used to distribute weight along the aircraft floor or decrease the approach angle of
the cargo loading ramp. It provides load spreading by distributing a concentrated weight over a larger area. Rolling shoring
protects the loading ramp and cargo floor of the aircraft from damage, and parking shoring protects the aircraft floor from
damage during flight. This kind of shoring is usually required for tracked vehicles, steel wheels, or trailer tongues (p. 62-63).
Approach Shoring is approved shoring to decrease the approach angle of aircraft loading ramps. This is because some items
of cargo will strike the aircraft or ground during loading/offloading operations. This kind of shoring is often used with
(picture of approach shoring) (p. 66).
All cargo must be weighed and marked with the center of balance (CB). Accurate gross weight and CB marking is absolutely
essential to planning safe loads. While fairly straightforward, it can get complex and is often problematic; spot checks show
that weights are commonly off by thousands of pounds. The course reviews procedures and repeatedly practices them for
multi-axle vehicles, where the distance and weight on each axle is averaged from the front to determine how far back the
center of balance is. Usually, the CB of empty trucks is forward of center for empty trucks due to the engine, and aft of
center for loaded trucks due to cargo.