On April 21, 2017 we interviewed Zach Havel an engine mechanic and former Crew Chief on C-130 Modular Airborne FireFighting System aircraft. The MAFFS converts the aircraft into a 3,000-gallon air tanker. We talked with him at Boise during the annual MAFFS training and recertification.
Sgt. Poulsen, a MAFFS Loadmaster, was interviewed April 21 in Boise during training and recertification for MAFFS personnel.
We shot this time-lapse video today at Boise during the annual Modular Airborne FireFighting System training. It shows C-130 aircraft cycling in and out of a reloading pit. During the process it was filled with about 3,000 gallons of water and possibly compressed air from an air compressor on the ground — or the crew could have used the air compressors on-board the aircraft. When the reloading hose for water is dragged out to the aircraft, a compressed air line is zip-tied to it.
The National Interagency Fire Center posted these photos on their Facebook page today, with the following text:
What’s Happening at NIFC these days? There are 4 heavy airtankers awaiting assignment, along with 2 SEATS. These pics are of one of the Next Gen Airtankers. In the foreground is the hose on wheels that fills these guys up with retardant!
The air tanker shown above is Aero Flite’s Tanker 162, an RJ85. It does not have an exclusive use contract, but is one of the 22 air tankers that were recently awarded Call When Needed contracts.
NIFC does not say in which aircraft the interior photo below was taken, but we’re guessing it was the RJ85, Tanker 162. They also don’t say when the photos were taken or by whom.
The U.S. Forest Service has scheduled an “Airtanker and Water Scooper Forum” to be held in Boise November 19-20, 2013. Today they posted a notice about it at the GSA site that is normally used for solicitations about contracts and requests for proposals, fbo.gov — an odd way to advertise a conference. It even has a Solicitation Number (SN-2014-01). But, almost everything the federal government does concerning fire aviation is odd.
This is rather short notice for a meeting like this.
The topics include:
- Questions (preferably submitted in advance) and answers.
- Review of accidents.
- Future strategy for airtankers, VLATs, and water scoopers: next-gen, legacy, budgets, fleet design, aerial supervision, policy and operational changes, pilot practical test standards.
- Contracts Q&A.
- Aviation audits.
- Technology: ATU, AFF, AFUE.
- Aviation program updates: FAS-AVID report, night flying, public aircraft operations, retardant avoidance areas.
Speaking of aviation, I checked into air fares between Rapid City and Boise and was shocked — $858 was the lowest. Holy Crap. RAP is expensive to fly out of because of a lack of competition.
Thankfully, as far as I know there is no admission fee to attend the Forum.