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Rim Fire run by C130

Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:14 pm

It's taken from inside an air tanker coming in on a drop run, the approach and line up through the drop, communicating with the spotter plane. These guys are pros; the job requires lots of ratings, grey hair, and a stack of filled-out logbooks, among other things, to calmly bring that beast in low over the timbered terrain with the winds to be found next to a big fire. Too bad such nice country is going up in smoke. Maybe they can save some of it.


If you're interested, additional info from the fellow who sent me the video:

The footage shown in this video is, I think, through the nose window of a newer model C-130 equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System (MAFFS) used to fight forest fires. I along with other pilots in our C-130 reserve unit from McClellan were one of the first units and team to be chosen and trained in MAFFS firefighting techniques. The MAFFS unit is roughly: Three large Aluminum tanks, placed on their sides and piped to two large nozzles (think of two big vacuum cleaner nozzles) and a control console between the two. The entire contraption is loaded on the C-130 rails into the rear of the airplane with the nozzles folded up so the rear cargo door can be closed. When over a fire the cargo door is opened and a loadmaster sits in the console and the nozzles are lowered over the back ramp into the "void", with the nozzles facing downward. When ready the pilot maneuvers the C-130 into a route as designated by the Forest Service's "lead plane pilot" who is tasked with assigning the C-130 "a run" or a path he determines will be the drop zone in front of the fire so the fire retardant (called phoscheck - a retardant that is both non-flammable and a fertilizer) will have the most effect on the approaching fire. When you hear "ready, ready, drop…that is the lead plane pilot signaling the co-pilot of the MAFFS tanker to turn on his green light and the loadmaster at the console pushes a button which directs compressed air into the tanks and literally blowing the retardant out the nozzles onto the ground. Quite a system

The film is quite astounding as is shows how big the Rim Fire is and the territory it covers to how clear the air was in this film. I and my colleagues flew similar fires but in the Los Angeles National Forest and it was very smoky, and very turbulent from the Santa Ana winds. This seems eire as there is little to no turbulence, or wind for that matter, during the run. I searched in vain to see the lead plane in the film as he/ she usually flies ahead of the MAFFS tanker during the run. Also in the "old" days we didn't have a nice little lady calling us over the intercom to tell us to put the landing gear down….a nice touch for the new guys who fly the newer model C-130s.

Re: Rim Fire run by C130

Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:11 am

Great video, thanks for sharing. It may not have the glitz and rock-n-roll appeal of a fighter HUD camera, but C-130 crews professionally execute missions just like this globally every day of the year. MAFFS, aerial spray, airdrop of personnel & equipment, landings at forward/unimproved strips, and work at low level on night vision goggles are just a few examples. Nice job, guys.

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