Ride with the pilots as C-130 aircraft drop retardant on fires

Video shot from the cockpit as the MAFFS-equipped aircraft battled the fires

MAFFS cockpit video, Calfornia, August 22, 2020 fire
Screenshot from MAFFS cockpit video below, California, August 22, 2020.

Fred Johnson of Airailimages let us know about a video he put on YouTube of California Air National Guard C-130Js fighting fire using a Modular Airborne FireFighting System (MAFFS). It was shot by Tech. Sgt. Nieko Carzis of the 146th Airlift Wing as two of the aircraft dropped retardant on multiple fires in California August 22, 2020.

You may hear an audible warning of “Altitude” “Altitude” in the cockpit as the planes descend to make the drop. That warning is much less annoying than the “Landing Gear, Landing Gear, Landing Gear, Landing Gear” warning that the MAFFS crews heard up until around 2014 when the Guard got Lockheed to supply a procedure to turn off the audible Landing Gear warning while making a retardant run. You can hear that warning in video shot in 2013 while MAFFS crews were dropping on the Rim Fire in California.

The recent video has footage shot while the C-130Js are dropping retardant — actually, it is spraying up to 3,000 gallons of retardant powered by compressed air, through a nozzle. Since we’re looking forward through the windshield, we can’t see the retardant of course, but at one point you can hear a sound that I’m guessing is compressed air exiting the nozzle after all the retardant has been expelled.

The footage of the aircraft making the drops is cool, but just as good are the scenes of the fires shot from fairly low level.

MAFFS cockpit video, Calfornia, August 22, 2020 fire
Screenshot from MAFFS cockpit video, California, August 22, 2020.