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C-130 Hercules News

C-130 Hercules News from around the web

  • Casey

    Lockheed Martin has received a $59 million contract modification from the U.S. Air Force for the delivery of four customized KC-130J fuselage trainers.
    The Defense Department said Friday that Lockheed’s rotary and mission systems unit will modify C-130 airframe trainer systems to replicate the appearance, functions and performance of the KC-130J aircraft.
    DoD noted that modified trainers will support load training and pre- and post-flight inspections on the aircraft’s interior and exterior settings.
    The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center obligated the full amount of the modification from the service branch’s fiscal 2015 and fiscal 2016 procurement funds.
    Work will occur in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Marietta, Georgia, through Dec. 31, 2021.
    Lockheed provides C-130J training devices as well as aircrew instruction, operations, engineering services and logistics support with the company’s C-130J maintenance and aircrew training systems.
    Source: http://blog.executivebiz.com/2017/06/lockheed-gets-59m-air-force-kc-130j-trainer-contract-modification/

  • Casey

    Lockheed Martin's LM-100J (c/n 5818) commercial freighter aircraft will make its international debut at the 2017 International Paris Air Show. The aircraft will be on static display June 19-21 at Paris-Le Bourget Airport.
    The LM-100J represents the 17th different mission capability for the C-130J Super Hercules platform and is an updated version of the L-100 cargo aircraft, which Lockheed Martin produced from 1964-1992. The LM-100J made its first flight on May 25, 2017.
    "The LM-100J has performed remarkably well in flight tests just two weeks after its first flight. Because of this strong performance, we decided to fly the LM-100J to Paris to be on display at the world's greatest airshow," said George Shultz, vice president and general manager, Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin. "The LM-100J's presence at the Paris Air Show truly places it on the world's stage, offering an opportunity to highlight its proven capabilities and unmatched versatility to the global commercial marketplace. We are honored to introduce the world to the LM-100J!"
    Members of the media are invited to tour the LM-100J daily from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. local time. Reporters do not have to RSVP and can arrive at the aircraft with show press credentials.
    Members of the media are also invited to a C-130J Super Hercules media briefing at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 20. An LM-100J program update will be provided and news about a C-130J military variant will also be shared. The event will be held at Salle 2 in the Paris Air Show Media Centre.
    Source: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lockheed-martins-lm-100j-commercial-freighter-will-make-international-debut-at-2017-paris-air-show-300471925.html

  • Casey

    The 130th Airlift Wing paid tribute today to the supportive community in the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia by unveiling the newly christened “Spirit of the Kanawha Valley” C-130H (95-6710 c/n 5418 ) at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base.

    Col. Johnny Ryan, commander of the 130th AW, oversaw the plane naming ceremony held on the flight line overlooking the fleet of C-130s. Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer, the Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard; Kent Carper, Kanawha County Commissioner president; Chief Master Sgt. of the West Virginia National Guard, James Dixon; and 130th Airlift Wing Command Chief Master Sgt., Kevin Cecil, were among the official party for the ceremony.

    Tail number 6710, an aircraft that has been in service for more than 22 years, was dubbed the “Spirit of the Kanawha Valley” as a reminder of the important link between the Air National Guard and the communities in which they serve.

    Hoyer underscored the significance of that link in his speech to the crowd, noting that it served as the foundation of the state militia, which later became the National Guard, and is integral part of our unique mission serving our communities and state.

    Ryan emphasized the important role that the citizens surrounding the 130th Airlift Wing play in his remarks.

    “The people of the Kanawha Valley represent the spirit of tenacity, hard work, and resiliency. This small acknowledgement will be a daily reminder to our crews of the importance of the work they do and the unwavering support they receive while doing it,” Ryan said. “The ‘Spirit of the Kanawha Valley’ is meant to remind our unit members and the people of the community that we are all connected. We have a proud heritage of service that predates even the Air Force here at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, and this community has helped us to keep it alive. They have shown continuous support throughout our storied 70-year history and continue to back the men and women of this outstanding organization as we take on missions throughout the world.”

    The plane naming ceremony came to be because of a recommendation from the 130th Airlift Wing’s Chiefs Council, who sought a way to build morale through heritage and tradition.

    Chief Master Sgt. Larry Daugherty, 130th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Superintendent, explained, “We chose a name in an effort to tie our unit to the communities in which we live, in which we work, and in which we raise our families. We feel that it represents the way we work as a team and it’s an opportunity to give back to the community who supported us and also, it’s our way of showing we appreciated the support that the Kanawha Valley gives us, which allows us to do our jobs.”

    The “Spirit of the Kanawha Valley” is the first of four C-130Hs to be named from the 130th AW’s inventory of aircraft. Other names will include the “Spirit of Charleston,” “The General Mac,” in honor of founder of the West Virginia Air National Guard, Gen. James Kemp McLaughlin, and “The Spirit of West Virginia.”

    Unveilings and dedications of those aircraft will be held at a later date.

    Not since the late 1980s have aircraft from the 130th AW displayed names of cities or been dedicated to specific regions of the state.
    Source: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/237082/spirit-kanawha-valley-unveiled-130th-airlift-wing

  • Casey

    Spotting an iceberg is a thrill that lures many people to Newfoundland and Labrador, but nobody does it quite like the International Ice Patrol.
    This small unit of the United States Coast Guard watches the sea from the sky, keeping track of icebergs that endanger ships in the North Atlantic.
    The Ice Patrol uses the latest technology, but much of this crucial work is still done by people with binoculars. Marine Science Technician Brett Reel works as an ice spotter from a side window of the plane.
    "Today, we are flying north which is a busy flight." Reel said. "Every time it's a busy flight. Because all the icebergs are coming down the coast in the Labrador current. Today we've found probably three or four hundred, so far."
    The mission
    For the crew, the day begins at St. John's International Airport.
    A massive Hercules C-130 airplane is loaded with more than 20,000 kilos of fuel for the 10-hour round trip, to the northern tip of Labrador and back.
    Commander Gabrielle McGrath has worked with the Ice Patrol for nearly a decade.
    "The mission of the international ice patrol is to monitor the iceberg danger in the Atlantic Ocean, and provide relevant iceberg warning products to the maritime community." she said.
    "So this time of year, things are starting to slow down a little bit. That's one of the main goals of this flight is to see how many icebergs are up to the north, and how many we expect to come down for the rest of the season."
    The patrol may have a private plane, but this is no pleasure trip. Inside the Hercules, you'll find none of the comforts of commercial air travel. It's extremely loud; instead of a menu, the seat pockets contain life preservers, and every spare inch of space is crammed with equipment.
    Iceberg Alley
    On this flight, the patrol is going up and then down Iceberg Alley, the flow of ocean current that brings icebergs from Greenland, down the coast of Labrador and towards Newfoundland. But that current intersects with one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.
    "When we have icebergs in that area, we set an iceberg limit." says Commander McGrath. "Which is basically saying, if the ships stay to the south and east of that line, they'll stay out of the danger of iceberg collision. So they may have to adjust their course up to 400 miles out of their way to go around that dangerous area of icebergs."
    Sophisticated radar helps with ice detection, but up here, there are millions of pieces of ice floating on the surface. Brett Reel says that's where the crew comes in.
    "Sometimes the radar has a really hard time telling the difference between sea ice and an iceberg. An iceberg is coming from a glacier, normally from Greenland. And sea ice is just the surface of the ocean that's frozen." he said.
    All of the data is fed into a computer model, that creates a predictive map of iceberg locations.
    The International Ice Patrol was created in 1913, in the aftermath of the Titanic disaster. It has flown in every iceberg season since, except during the two world wars. Now, this season is winding down. But for the crew, the things they see from up here don't just get entered in a computer.
    Even today, we're flying only 400, 500 feet off the water, and you look down like, man that's really cool. I actually took video on my phone, because it doesn't get old." said Reel.
    Marine Science Technician Lauren Crocker is finishing her first year with the Ice Patrol. She says it's a posting she will never forget.
    "I think the most important thing is this is something that not everyone gets to do. It feels special, you feel like you're doing something that's not only important to the maritime community, but it's just so unique. How could you pass it up?"
    See source for more images and video: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/ice-patrol-1.4152145

  • Casey

    An airshow favorite across America, the C-130T transport known as Fat Albert has not attended an airshow since last July following the Blue Angels maintenance team’s decision to begin a complete overhaul on the aging aircraft. Bert’s maintenance at Hill Air Force Base in Utah has involved the removal and upgrade of it’s four turboprop engines; the removal and structural inspection of its wings; wiring inspections and repairs; and a complete paint removal followed by a new paint job.
    Bert’s prime job is the transportation of key support personnel and hardware from Pensacola Naval Air Station, the home of the Blue Angels, to each airshow site. Bert takes-off loaded with nearly 10,000 pounds of aircraft hardware, nearly sixty support members, and airshow logistics two days prior to an airshow.
    The blue, yellow, and white Lockheed Martin-built aircraft is a crowd favorite as Bert takes to the skies to begin the Blue Angels one hour long demonstration followed by the six Navy F/A-18 Hornets. Bert’s crew puts the aircraft through several maneuvers including several low passes and a short-field assault landing during it’s 12-minute demonstration.
    The squadron has used another KC-130T — nicknamed Ernie — in Bert’s place this year. Major Mark Hamilton, Major Mark Montgomery, and Major Kyle Maschner will perform the flying this season, while four crewmembers — GySgt. Beau Beville, Sgt. Anthony Black, GySgt. Jason Glatfelter, and GySgt. Stephen Stewart — make up the logistics crew.
    “Good to see my old friend again,” Maj. Hamilton said on Tuesday. The entire crew departed Hill, AFB aboard Fat Albert on Tuesday, and will make two stops this week en route to their arrival at NAS Pensacola on Friday.
    Fat Albert’s all-Marine crew will spend at least two weeks training aboard the C-130T prior to the aircraft’s official return. The Blue Angels have not announced an official return date for Fat Albert to an airshow site.
    Source: http://www.avgeekery.com/hes-back-blue-angels-c-130-fat-albert-poised-to-return-to-airshow-duty/

  • Casey

    There are now two fire air tankers at the Santa Maria Airport. 
    The C-130 typically stations out in Sacramento has been moved to Santa Maria after the base closed. The C-130 arrived Saturday and can hold 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant. 
    Fire crews say they are ready for this fire season. 
    "Last winter was such a wet winter that the fire season this year on the West Coast is expected to maybe start later and last longer," said Matt Ringlein, the C-130 Air Tanker captain. "Some of these early season fires were a good fill-in. One of the other reasons we are down in Santa Maria is because there is not a lot of civilian and, or other agency tankers that are on status. We are on status."
    The other air tanker, a DC-10, has been assigned to the Santa Maria Air Tanker Base for the last two years. 
    Source: http://www.ksby.com/story/35595407/firefighting-airplanes-at-the-ready-at-santa-maria-airport

  • Casey

    Two 815th Airlift Squadron crews from Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi participated in a six-ship multinational airborne mission here in the Normandy region June 4, to commemorate D-Day 73.

    In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, paratroopers from the 82nd and 101st Infantry Divisions dropped into France in the opening moments of what would become known as “The Longest Day.”

    Now, 73 years later, C-130J Super Hercules crews from the 815th AS join the 37th AS from Ramstein Air Base, Germany as well as French and German C-160s to drop 451 American, French, British, Dutch and German paratroopers and reenactors. The aircraft followed the same route C-47s did to drop paratroopers on D-Day.

    The 815th AS is one of nine historical units taking part in various events and ceremonies throughout the region. Now a C-130J tactical unit, the 185th AS was the 815th Bombardment Squadron during World War II.

    “I’m honored and humbled to be able to fly in such a historic event that celebrates and commemorates all of the people that took part and those that made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Capt. Nicholas Foreman, 815th AS pilot.

    The squadron flew multiple missions during this year’s week-long D-Day 73 commemoration, to include several flyovers.

    Overall, participation in D-Day 73 not only commemorates the D-Day heroes, it also demonstrates the steadfast commitment of the U.S. to its European allies and partners, Forman said.
    Source: http://www.youngstown.afrc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1203978/815th-airlift-squadron-drops-paratroopers-to-commemorate-d-day-73/

  • Casey

    Airmen from the Alaska Air National Guard accepted the first HC-130J Combat King II (14-5815, c/n 5815 )assigned to an U.S. Air National Guard unit at the Lockheed Martin facility.
    This HC-130J will be operated by the 211th Rescue Squadron (RQS), 176th Wing stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The 211th RQS previously operated legacy HC-130P aircraft to support personnel recovery missions in Alaska and the Pacific Theater. These aircraft also act as aerial refuelers, providing support to the HH-60 Pave Hawk search-and-rescue helicopters that are also assigned to the 176th Wing. This is the first of four HC-130Js that will be delivered to the Alaska Guard.
    “The delivery of this HC-130J Combat King II represents a new era for both the Air National Guard and the Alaska Guard. This aircraft provides the increased capabilities and enhanced performance that is essential for these Airmen to support their search and rescue mission,” said George Shultz, vice president and general manager, Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin. “These men and women live their motto – ‘That Others May Live.’ We’re proud the HC‑130J Combat King fleet plays an essential role in supporting this commitment.”
    The HC-130J replaces HC-130N/P aircraft as the only dedicated fixed-wing personnel recovery platform in the Air Force inventory. The HC-130J supports missions in all-weather and geographic environments, including reaching austere locations. The HC-130J is also tasked for airdrop, airland, helicopter air-to-air refueling and forward-area ground refueling missions. It also supports humanitarian aid operations, disaster response, security cooperation/aviation advisory, emergency aeromedical evacuation and noncombatant evacuation operations. The HC-130J is also operated by active duty Air Combat Command personnel recovery units.
    The HC-130J is one of eight production variants of the C-130J Super Hercules, which is the world’s most proven and versatile airlifter. The C-130J is the airlifter of choice of 17 nations.
    Source: http://aviationtribune.com/military/air-national-guard-receives-first-hc-130j-combat-king-ii/

  • Casey

    With the recent first flight of the LM-100J commercial version of the C-130J Hercules, manufacturer Lockheed Martin has embarked on a year-long flight-test program that will involve two aircraft. The company expects to complete the type design update process with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration by next year.
    The inaugural freighter made its first flight on May 25 from Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia, where Lockheed Martin shares a runway and conducts first flights of all production C-130s. Commanded by LM-100J chief test pilot Wayne Roberts, the aircraft flew for three hours over north Georgia and Alabama and returned to Dobbins.
    “This first flight is a source of pride for Lockheed Martin and serves as a proof-point to the ongoing versatility of the Super Hercules aircraft,” stated George Shultz, the company’s Marietta site general manager. “Like its military counterpart, the LM‑100J is exceeding all expectations in terms of performance and capabilities.”
    The number of flight hours Lockheed Martin will devote to FAA flight-test requirements is still being finalized, but the company said it expects to complete flight testing by the end of the year.
    Lockheed Martin reported having five orders and 20 letters of intent from customers to purchase the freighter. It declined to identify the launch customer.
    At the Farnborough Airshow in July 2016, Lockheed Martin announced that Arlington, Virginia-based Bravo Industries, a logistics group with an air cargo division in Brazil, plans to acquire 10 LM-100Js. Two years earlier at Farnborough, it announced a letter of intent from ASL Aviation Group of Ireland to acquire up to 10 of the freighters. The latter group includes Air Contractors of Ireland, Europe Airpost of France and Safair of South Africa, one of the largest operators of the earlier L-100 (L-382) variant.
    Source: http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/air-transport/2017-06-02/lockheed-martin-embarks-lm-100j-freighter-flight-tests

  • Casey

    It’s true.  Good things really do come in small packages. This was recently proven out by the Tactical Airlift Program Office (PMA-207) C-130T Electronic Propeller Control System and Engine Instrument Display System (EPCS/EIDS) team.
    The three person EPCS/EIDS team’s actions resulted in installations of the systems in 19 KC-130 aircraft in record time -- on cost and ahead of the original schedule.
    "Driven by a funding line that was due to expire, the EPCS/EIDS team worked with the contracts team to award the contract just nine months after the formal source selection team was formed," said Doug Dawson, PMA-207 program manager.
    Working with industry, the installations were completed 15 months earlier than the scheduled completion date. EPCS and EIDS kits were fabricated and installed on 14 Marine Corps Reserve and five Navy Reserve KC-130T aircraft. Government furnished equipment kits were installed on 11 Marine Corps Reserve and five Navy Reserve KC-130T aircraft.
     "This effort is a very good example of the team accepting the technical and contracting challenges, and proceeding with low overall risk," said Rich Stowell, PMA-207 C/KC-130 Legacy Integrated Product Team Lead.
    "By upgrading the EPCS, we were able to reduce the maintenance time required for the system and improve aircraft readiness," said Stowell. "An added benefit is that the PMP stores propeller control data, including malfunctions, therefore assisting maintainers with troubleshooting and repairs."
    The EIDS installation replaced 43 obsolescent analog cockpit gauges with two flat panel displays.  The new displays not only provide better reliability, but significantly improve Human Systems Integration attributes.
    Source: http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NavairNewsStory&id=6550

  • Casey

    Members of the 353rd Special Operations Group increased military cooperation with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) during the fourth iteration of Exercise Teak Net, which took place April 15-18, 2017 at RNZAF Base Auckland and April 18-28, 2017 at RNZAF Base Woodbourne, New Zealand.

    “The military cooperation between the U.S. and New Zealand is important as we attempt to address some of the world’s greatest challenges,” said Col William Freeman, 353rd SOG commander. “Exercise Teak Net is a classic example of a perfect exchange in which we are learning a lot from our partners in the areas of maintenance, medical and flying operations. We have reciprocated through instruction on a few of our different techniques, tactics and procedures (TTPs).”

    After a 25-year absence, the 353rd SOG returned to New Zealand in 2014 to build-up the relationship with RNZAF 40th Squadron.

    “This year we focused on further developing our partnership capacity and interoperability with 40th SQDN through low-level formation work and tactical operations on night vision goggles (NVGs),” said Maj. Mark Schmidt, mission commander for Exercise Teak Net. “The professional foundations and friendships established over the previous three exercises enabled this year’s training to progress to the next level.”

    The group deployed with 40th SQDN to RNZAF Base Woodbourne as a part of their largest annual exercise.

    “While executing Exercise Teak Net, we were fortunate enough to deploy with our Kiwi partners as they conducted Exercise Skytrain,” said Schmidt. “We lived and worked in the same spaces and conduct daily sorties together, which has never happened before.”

    New Zealand’s unique mountainous terrain provided the ideal environment for the MC-130H Combat Talon II to conduct day and night visual low-level and operations with their terrain-following radar, which enables the 1st Special Operations Squadron to infiltrate areas undetected and at night by hiding in the terrain and weather.

    “This is some of the best flying and training I’ve ever had,” said Capt. Valerie Knight, 1st SOS MC-130H Combat Talon II weapons instructor pilot. “This trip is very comparable to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) exercises that we do and the kiwis have done a great job of sharing what they’ve seen downrange and encompassing that into the scenario.”

    In addition to general flying operations, Special Operations Forces Medical Element (SOFME) personnel conducted a subject-matter expert exchange with RNZAF medics from Woodbourne Air Base, which culminated with a low-light, low-level casualty evacuation (CASEVAC).

    “The main purpose of our engagement was to work closely with our host nation partners, share experiences and exchange TTPs,” said Tech Sgt. John Rinaldi, 353rd Special Operations Support Squadron SOFME medic. “I think both sides learned a lot during the CASEVAC exercise and overall it was a huge success.”

    The 353rd SOG had the opportunity to showcase the critical role they play in the Pacific to the U.S. Embassy New Zealand Chargé d'Affaires and staffers during a visit, April 19-20, 2017.

    “The Chargé d'Affaires stated this is the closest the U.S. and New Zealand militaries have been in 30 years and attributes these exercises to helping build that relationship both militarily and politically,” said Schmidt. “For the first time since our group has returned to New Zealand, we have been asked to participate in their ANZAC Day parade and we couldn’t be more honored. This year’s exercise has truly been the pinnacle of interoperability with the New Zealanders.”

    Exercise Teak Net is an annual joint, combined exchange training (JCET) focused on improving interoperability between the U.S. and New Zealand militaries.
    Source: http://www.353sog.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1196193/353rd-sog-and-rnzaf-increase-partnership-capacity/

  • Casey

    These are photos of an air tanker that you don’t see every day. The C-130Q that Coulson recently acquired, was being moved from Tucson to another facility in Mesa, Arizona where it will be transformed into Coulson’s fourth C-130 air tanker, Tanker #134. Obviously it needs a little work.
    It is the second C-130Q that they have acquired. The first was Tanker 131 that entered service about four years ago. The company also has two L-382G’s, which is the civilian version of the C-130.
    Britt Coulson said they expect to have the conversion complete by the end of this summer.
    Source: http://fireaviation.com/2017/05/27/the-future-tanker-134-on-the-move/

  • Casey

    The Lockheed Martin LM-100J commercial freighter aircraft has completed its first flight.
    This first flight followed the same test flight route over north Georgia and Alabama, USA that is used for all C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. The LM-100J will complete initial production flight tests and then begin Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) type certificate update flight test requirements.
    The LM-100J is the 17th different mission capability developed for the C-130J Super Hercules and it is an updated version of the L-100 cargo aircraft, which Lockheed Martin produced from 1964-1992.
    Lockheed Martin officials submitted a Program Notification Letter to the FAA on January 21, 2014, for a type design update to the aircraft, a civil-certified variant of the C-130J Super Hercules to be marketed as the LM-100J. The LM-100J was first introduced in February this year with a traditional roll out ceremony held at the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics facility in Marietta, USA, as HLPFI reported.

    According to Lockheed Martin the LM-100J will perform as a commercial multipurpose air freighter capable of rapid and efficient cargo transport, capable of delivering bulk and oversize cargo.
    Source: http://www.heavyliftpfi.com/news/lm-100j-super-hercules-takes-off.html

  • Casey

    Israel's air force has formally split its "Knights of the Yellow Bird" squadron into two separate units: one operating upgraded Lockheed Martin C-130Hs; and the other equipped with the new-generation J-model Hercules.
    New avionics equipment installed in the modernised C-130H by Elbit Systems requires a new phase of training for aircrew and ground personnel, with the air force planning to have a joint simulator capability available to support both models.
    Launched in 2012, the C-130H modernisation activity extends the operational life of the legacy aircraft, and provides significant enhancements in precision flying, low-level flight at night and operations in adverse weather. Updates include the addition of head-up displays, which can present flight and navigation data and live video.
                                                          Meanwhile, the air force has secured full certification for its C-130J "Samson" tactical transports to undergo in-flight refuelling behind the service's Boeing 707 tankers.
    "We are adapting the C-130Js to our special operational needs," says the commander of the service's flight test centre – identified only as Lt Col Shlomy. "Aerial refuelling is only one of the added capabilities we are currently working on. There is still a lot of work." Israel has already equipped its C-130Js with an advanced countermeasures system for self-protection purposes.
    Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/israel-divides-hercules-unit-following-upgrade-437483/

  • Casey

    We launched as a two-ship formation of C-130Js, taking off into the night well after the darkness had fallen. Maintaining an altitude of 500 feet above the desert terrain we continuously updated our position to remain clear of Egyptian airspace and the Jordanian buffer region. Our aircraft dusted off the sand dunes in the lower Sinai region as we slowed down, descended, and airdropped supplies to our Israeli partners on the ground. Then came our approach to the Dead Sea.
    In 2013 we were invited to fly the mighty C-130J Hercules in Israel for an allied training mission with the Israeli Air Force. I was part of the 37th Airlift Squadron, Blue Tail Flies. Our mission was to fly side-by-side with the Israelis to build our partnership capacity. Daily, we launched two C-130J formations flying low altitude tactical airdrop & airland missions during the day and at night using night vision goggles.
    Landing below sea level
    Located on the Western shores of the Dead Sea in Israel. Field elevation is -1,240 feet below sea level making it the lowest elevation airport on earth. The field name is Bar Yehuda (ICAO: LLMZ), the field plays host to charter/sightseeing flights & military operations. The strip is paved asphalt on a direction of 01/19 and it is 3,937 feet long and just over 60 feet wide. To put this in perspective most large aircraft use runways 7,000 to 10,000 feet long at airports. The C-130J can land and stop in less than 3,000 feet using full reverse and max effort braking as required.
    Getting there can be more than half the fun
    My first sortie to the Dead Sea was at night. We flew our predetermined course from the West climbing with the rising terrain to the descent point 3,000 MSL approximately 4,200 feet above field elevation. Cresting the cliffs that surrounded the Sea we descended to 0000 MSL on the altimeter, slowed and configured the aircraft for landing.
    We intercepted the final approach course of 190 and continued our descent making visual contact with the field approximately 3 miles out at an altitude of -300 on the clock and still 900 feet AGL. We continued to descent along the 3 degree glide path we computed during mission planning from -300, -700, -1000, about 20 seconds later we touched down within the zone at the first 500 feet of the runway, and the Captain brought the aircraft to a stop. We had operated the aircraft as planned but now that we were on the ground the aircraft systems presented a myriad of navigation errors.
    Where’s the Nav???
    The aircraft navigation computer was unresponsive to our inputs and would not allow us to see the pre-programmed route we loaded for our return to base. The computer acted like we had run the aircraft into the ground. We immediately got the checklist out and began troubleshooting. The aircraft was unable to locate any GPS satellites, accept any updates to its navigation solution, and there were no NAVAIDs to tune. We realized we were going to have to make it back to base in the old school way. We pulled out the chart and made a plan to takeoff and fly following the road to the West back to base. We completed running our takeoff data performance numbers, configured the aircraft and commenced a maximum effort takeoff roll.
    The aircraft climbed out and as we reached -300 MSL everything came back. The nav computer came back online and our GPS position confirmed the base was 20 miles to West. We pointed the aircraft toward the base and landed uneventfully. In the debrief we shared our actions with our leadership so crews flying in and out of Dead Sea below MSL could be prepared for what may happen to them. The 37th operated C-130s in out of the field for the following two-weeks.
    We got our own ‘Warning’ in the manual
    Most warnings in flight manuals are due to someone doing something wrong.  We contributed to one for doing something right! After the aircraft manufacturer reviewed the reports coming out of the Dead Sea airland operations they realized the navigation computer was not fit for operating below 400 feet MSL. The company immediately issued a change to the manual with a WARNING that the aircraft not be operated below an altitude of -400 MSL. I’m sure when they release the next version it will include updated navigation for flying to the Dead Sea and earth’s other extreme low elevation locations
    Source: http://www.avgeekery.com/challenge-flying-sea-level/

  • Casey

    Two C-130J Super Hercules along with about 80 Airmen attached to the 86th Airlift Wing from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, deployed to Israel in support of exercise Juniper Falcon from May 7-18, 2017.

    The 37th Airlift Squadron conducted airlift integration training with the Israeli Air Force. The integration was designed to build interoperability and maintain the enduring partnership between the U.S. and Israel, which has been developed during decades of cooperation.

    "This is a great opportunity for us work with our Israeli partners to exchange ideas and concepts and the meaningful cultural aspect that comes with those discussions," said Maj. Libby Music, the 37th AS detachment commander.

    The training sorties, which focused on bilateral air interoperability and joint service integration through low level flying, assault landing, and airdrop of cargo and personnel from the U.S. and host nation forces, gave the 37th AS pilots the chance to take part in flights unique to the region. The training also allowed them to become more familiar with the airspace and region that their Israeli partners are charged to defend.

    "The biggest takeaway for us is the unique exchange of air tactics, drop zone and landing zone operations and maintenance procedures between our two militaries," said Capt. Wesley Dembek, the 37th AS deputy of operations. "This is also a great opportunity for us to train in an austere environment that challenges us to adapt and become more familiar with the region."

    Juniper Falcon exercises that have been executed annually since 2011. The exercises were combined to increase joint training opportunities and capitalize on transportation and cost efficiencies gained by aggregating forces.

    Juniper Falcon is one of many exercises completed between U.S. European Command and the IDF.
    Source: http://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1189067/us-israeli-airmen-fortify-airlift-capabilities/

  • Casey

    The New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing's annual support for National Science Foundation research in Greenland got underway in April and May, as wing members delivered 177 tons of cargo and 2,000 gallons of fuel during the season's first three-week rotation.
    The second rotation of three LC-130 ski-equipped aircraft and 80 airmen departed May 15.
    Airmen and aircraft will rotate between the town of Kangerlussuaq -- the wing's operations base while in Greenland -- and Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, New York, four more times between now and the end of August.
    Fuel, Cargo, Passenger Transport
    The airmen and aircraft transport fuel, cargo and passengers to and from the various science camps throughout Greenland during the summer. The wing's Greenland missions also serve as training for the support the unit provides for the National Science Foundation's Anartic Program when it is winter in New York and summer in Antarctica.
    Along with the unit's routine supply missions, this rotation also includes 25 airmen who are taking part in Arctic survival training at Raven Camp, better known as "Kool Skool." Airmen spend three days in the field learning survival skills, including how to build a shelter and use only the items immediately available to them to survive in an Arctic climate.
    The 109th deploys to Greenland at various times between April and August. Each year, about six rotations consisting of two to four aircraft and up to 80 airmen each go for anywhere from six to 14 days at a time, depending on the National Science Foundation's needs.
    Each year, the wing flies more than 800 hours during the Greenland support season; while transporting about 2.1 million pounds of cargo, 49,000 pounds of fuel, and 1,790 passengers.
    The Greenland season will come to a close in August. However, there's not much downtime for those supporting the mission. A Greenland planning conference for 2018 is planned in October, around the same time airmen and aircraft begin shifting to support Antarctic operations as part of Operation Deep Freeze, the Defense Department's support to Antarctic science programs.
    The 109th Airlift Wing flies the LC-130, a C-130 Hercules transport modified with skis to land on snow and ice. This is the largest ski-equipped aircraft in the world, and the only ski-equipped aircraft in the U.S. military.
    Source: https://www.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/1188883/new-york-air-guard-begins-annual-greenland-mission/
    Image: USAF

  • Casey

    Air Force Reserve Command recently announced that the 403rd Maintenance Group was one of 18 units that earned the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for 2015.

    The 403rd MXG is responsible for the launch, recovery and routine care of 10 C-130J and 10 WC-130J Super Hercules aircraft worth $1.3 billion. These aircraft perform tactical airlift missions as well as the only Department of Defense weather reconnaissance mission.

    “Devotion to mission accomplishment and selflessness in getting the job done is the 403rd maintainers’ focus each and every day,” said Col. Jay Johnson, 403rd MXG commander.

    Although the full-time air reserve technician force was low manned at the time, the group brought traditional reservists in on orders to complete more than 33,000 maintenance actions. This allowed more than 3,500 hours to be flown by the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron and 815th Airlift Squadron.

    “The 403rd Maintenance Group exemplifies the famous saying, flexibility is the key to air power,” said Chief Master Sgt. Vincent Armata, 403rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron superintendent. “We support three dynamic flying missions and often cross utilizing maintenance group personnel, facilities and equipment in a very efficient way to make the missions happen.”

    Being among the first in the Air Force to maintain the J model of C-130 and the only in the Air Force Reserve, the 403rd MXG has implemented several innovative maintenance standards. These include changing the aircraft floor covering, which saves more than $62,000 per year as well as designing bleed air duct shrouds which is a safety standard that was adopted fleet-wide.

    The 403rd MXG also plays a large role in spreading international awareness of the 815th AS, 53rd WRS and Air Force Reserve missions. They participated in the 2015 Caribbean and East Coast Hurricane Awareness Tours as well as the 403rd Wing’s civic leader tour and the Paris Air Show.

    During the 2015 storm season, the group launched 75 Hurricane Hunter sorties with more than 590 flight hours into 11 named storms, maintaining a 99 percent mission success rate. This allowed the 53rd WRS to collect data that was critical for the National Hurricane Center to increase the accuracy of their forecasts, saving $1 million per each square mile that didn’t need to be evacuated.

    “An all-hands approach kept our aircraft on point in researching the season’s storms and kept us able to provide rapid airlift capability,” Johnson said.
    Source: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/234749/403rd-maintenance-group-earns-outstanding-unit-award

  • Casey

    A planned mid-life upgrade for Sweden’s six-strong Lockheed Martin C-130H HERCULES transports could reduce the fleet by up to half at any given time, the air force has claimed, adding strain to the already modest fleet. 
    Speaking to media in Stockholm, Col. Magnus Liljegren, Head of the Air Force Department, said that under Sweden’s government bill defense review of 2015 that covered requirements for 2016-2020, it was mandated that the availability of the transport fleet be increased. 
    A mid-life upgrade for the C-130H transports has therefore been decided on, beginning as of 2020, although it has not been decided on which contractor will carry out the work. The fleet - one of which is a tanker - have carried out a combined 2,400 flight hours, and it is not yet known how long each upgrade will take. 
    “We are going for a mid-life update, and it may be up to 2024 before we are done,” Liljegren said. “That will effect us a lot not having that aircraft.”
    The fleet is expected to remain in service until 2030-32 with the upgrade, Liljegren said, and details on what the upgrade will include have not yet been finalized. 
    “The question is up there as to whether or not it is worth it, but we have decided to go with it,” he added. 
    He noted that there are no plans to convert any more of the aircraft into a tanker configuration, which would mean the air force would be without this capability when that one example receives its upgrade.
    Source: http://www.monch.com/mpg/news/11-air/1432-mid-life-upgrade-for-swedish-c-130h.html

  • Casey
          As reported by Ynetnews , two Israeli Air Force (IAF) C-130 Samson airlifters that were participating in a flyover to mark the country Independence Day made contact in the air and the flight crew were unaware of the incident.
    The mishap was only discovered when ground crew discovered scuff marks on the wings of both aircraft during the post flight inspection.
    The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) claimed that no lives were put at risk because of the incident: “During the Independence Day flyover, two heavy transport planes came into close contact. There was no danger to human life, and the incident is being investigated.”
    However, in addition to the C-130 Samson cargo planes, the flyover also included Beechcraft King Air (Tzofit) planes, Gulfstream G550 (Shavit & Eitam) planes, the Boeing 707 Re’em refueling aircraft and the F-15 and F-16 (Ra’am and Barak) fighter jets. The F-35 advanced stealth aircraft also made its debut in a two-and-a-half hour flight from Eilat to Safed.
    Noteworthy formation flying is always a difficult business even for well trained and skilled aircrews as witnessed also by the two Blue Angel F-18 Hornets which made contact last week because of an unexpected wake turbulence while training with the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds near Pensacola Beach, Florida.
    Source: http://theaviationgeekclub.com/israeli-air-force-c-130-samson-airlifters-make-contact-country-independence-day-flyover/

  • Casey

    Honeywell (NYSE: HON) will provide IntuVue RDR-4000 and 4000M Weather Radar systems, the commercial and military versions of its 3-D weather radar solution, to Lockheed Martin for use on its new LM-100J Super Hercules commercial freighter, the company said.
    The LM-100J is expected to operate in severe weather conditions and the radar enables pilots to operate in difficult environments.
    Honeywell adapted the advanced technology from the IntuVue radar into the RDR-4000M to support the unique operating conditions of cargo aircraft like the C-130, C-17 and LM-100J.
    Honeywell is a software-industrial company that delivers industry specific solutions that include aerospace and automotive products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes, and industry; and performance materials globally.
    Source: http://www.financial-news.co.uk/41052/2017/05/lockheed-martin-to-use-honeywell-weather-radar-solution/

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