New paint for Air Tanker 116

It should be delivered to McClellan Air Field in California by September 15.

new paint air tanker 116

Above: New paint for what will be Air Tanker 116, formerly Coast Guard HC-130H #1708. Photo by Brian Miller.

The HC-130H that is being transferred from the Coast Guard to the U.S. Forest Service that will be designated as Air Tanker 116 has recently received a new paint job. The projected delivery date to McClellan Air Field in California is September 15. Sometime after that it should be in service as an air tanker, but will be using on a temporary basis one of the eight USFS slip-in MAFFS retardant systems until a permanent retardant delivery system can be installed.

Coast Guard HC-130H 1708
Coast Guard HC-130H #1708 in its previous life. Photo by Andrew Sieber 7-20-2009.

The paint design is similar what was approved over two years ago and the one on the recently acquired Sherpa C-23B aircraft, but varies a bit from the design, in that the engine cowlings are not red on the top as they are in the design and on the Sherpas.

HC-130H paint design
This is the US Forest Service approved paint design approved in January, 2014 that was to be used on the seven HC-130H air tankers acquired from the Coast Guard.

The USFS has a wide assortment of paint schemes on their firefighting aircraft fleet. This may have something to do with the power the regional aviation officers have over the programs in their regions, as opposed centralizing power in a national aviation program. We collected photos of some of the aircraft in January of 2014.

On August 11 we published a comprehensive update on the status of the transfer of the seven HC-130H Coast Guard aircraft.

2 thoughts on “New paint for Air Tanker 116”

  1. Interesting (and telling) comment about the regional vs centralized approach to aviation management within the USFS. Differing paint schemes is a very minor consequence indeed, compared to the inefficiencies, confusion and reduced effectiveness of too many local cooks adding their own proverbial spices to the national broth.
    What’s that old adage about ‘if you won’t be part of the solution, at least get out of the way’?

  2. Nice paint scheme but… how about a good Tank system?
    What about crew qualifications and training?
    Maintenance program?
    These really matters..
    Paint is way down the list…

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