Monday, September 23, 2013

146th Airlift Wing MAFFS Modular Airborne Firefighting System

 The Wings 146th Operations Group, is a descendant organization of the 115th Observation Squadron, established on 16 June 1924.  It is one of the 29 original National Guard Observation Squadrons of the United States Army National Guard formed before World War II.  It is the oldest unit in the California Air National Guard, having almost 90 years of service to the state and nation.

The Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System or MAFFS is a self-contained unit used for aerial firefighting that can be loaded onto a C-130 Hercules, a military cargo transport, which then allows the aircraft to be used as an air tanker against wildfires.  This allows the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to utilize military aircraft from the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve to serve as an emergency backup resource to the civilian air tanker fleet.

Rim Fire began west of Yosemite on Aug. 17, a hunter who allowed an illegal campfire to leap out of control caused the massive blaze burning in and around Yosemite National Park. It's not going to be cheap, the manpower and equipment used has a price tag of 81 million.  Even if the hunter isn't a multimillionaire who could afford to pay all of the firefighting costs, that doesn't mean he won't be pursued for some of them and also could expect some jail time.

In the video is the Airlift Wing setting up for a drop, it's not easy to notice but a lead aircraft is spotting then marks the area with a smoke trail for the C-130 to drop her load.  You'll notice it's this aircraft the pilot is communicating with (also copilot) and following.  Also, you're going to hear a warning of "landing gear, landing gear" (when nearing the drop zone)  reason being the aircraft has set flaps to 70 degrees then full and gear is not down, on board computer assumes the aircraft is landing and pilot forgot to extend the gear.  We're fighting a fire here not landing, but she's a good fail safe.

The 146th Airlift Wing

Michael Scott Andrews

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