NCANG Flight Crews Conduct Annual Fire Fighting


CarolinaFireJournal - By 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office
By 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office
08/04/2013 -

Less than a year after a devastating crash that killed four of its members and injured two others while battling a fire over South Dakota, the Charlotte-based 145th Airlift Wing of the North Carolina Air National Guard lead the spring Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) training in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

“Our people are the commend element,” said Col. Charles Davis of Charlotte, commander of the 145th Air Expeditionary Group. “We’re proud to lead this elite group of men and women in this important homeland security mission.”

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A 145th Airlift Wing C-130 aircraft loaded with a Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System executes a water test before flight operations during annual MAFFS training for certification. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Patricia Findley, 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office

Charlotte has two MAFFS-equipped aircraft, one support aircraft and 87 Airmen deployed here.

North Carolina provides one of only four units that fly the MAFFS mission, all from the reserve component, not the active-duty Air Force. The others are the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard, which is taking part in this week’s training; the 146th Airlift Wing, California Air National Guard and the 302nd Airlift Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve, based at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. The four units alternate command of the MAFFS mission.

Two C-130 Hercules aircraft from the 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard and 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard loaded with a Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System taxi out for the first mission of MAFFS training for certification.

National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Patricia Findley, 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office

MAFFS uses military C-130 aircraft with a U.S. Forest Service-owned slide-in module positioned in the cargo bay. The units are filled with 3,000 gallons of fire retardant or water which is dropped on the leading edge of a wildland fire. Once the load is discharged, and the aircraft returns to base, ground crews can refill the module in less than 12 minutes. MAFFS is a joint Department of Defense and U.S. Forest Service program designed to provide additional aerial fire fighting resources when commercial and private air tankers are no longer able to meet the needs of the forest service.

U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Keith Dennis, 145th Airlift Wing

The training began on Monday and ended Friday. Sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service, the training includes classroom sessions, flight training and the annual MAFFS mission recertification for flight crews, civilian aviators who lead the MAFFS aircraft over forest fires and the Airmen who support the mission on the ground.

Each MAFFS module has a unique number. North Carolina flies modules eight and nine, and its planes have the corresponding number emblazoned on the fuselage in bright orange. The crash that took the lives of four North Carolina MAFFS Airmen occurred in MAFFS 7. The 145th Airlift Wing retired the MAFFS 7 designation at a ceremony at its Charlotte base last summer.

Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Patricia Findley, 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office

Less than a year after a devastating crash that killed four of its members and injured two others while battling a fire over South Dakota, the Charlotte-based 145th Airlift Wing of the North Carolina Air National Guard lead the spring Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) training in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

A 145th Airlift Wing C-130 aircraft loaded with a Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System executes a water test before flight operations during annual MAFFS training for certification. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Patricia Findley, 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office

Less than a year after a devastating crash that killed four of its members and injured two others while battling a fire over South Dakota, the Charlotte-based 145th Airlift Wing of the North Carolina Air National Guard lead the spring Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) training in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Loadmasters and ground crew members from the 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard, begin loading Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) into a C-130 aircraft in preparation of call up to help the US Forest Service fight wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico. When full the tanks being loaded hold 3,000 gallons of fire retardant (approximately 30,000 pounds). The North Carolina Air National Guard is preparing two MAFFS aircraft and a support aircraft for deployment. Established by Congress in early 1970 as a wildland fire protection program, MAFFS is a joint program with the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and the U.S. Forest Service.

Less than a year after a devastating crash that killed four of its members and injured two others while battling a fire over South Dakota, the Charlotte-based 145th Airlift Wing of the North Carolina Air National Guard lead the spring Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) training in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nathan Dennis, flight engineer for the 156th Airlift Squadron, North Carolina Air National Guard, goes over a pre-flight checklist onboard a 145th Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules aircraft equipped with a Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System during MAFFS annual certification training. The 145th Airlift Wing and 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard, trained together at the Cheyenne Regional Airport here, May 7.

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