USA — A Modular Airborne Firefighting System (MAFFS) crew from Wyoming, US, recently received the Air Mobility Command Chief of Safety Aircrew of Distinction Award.
The Guard, Reserve and active duty aircrew of a Wyoming Air National Guard C-130H3 had just completed a pair of successful fire retardant drops when they were ordered to head to Hill Air Force Base in northern Utah to reload and prepare for a third drop. While preparing to land, the aircraft commander and co-pilot saw that the planes nose wasnt functioning properly, and the crew began to troubleshoot the problem, while communicating with air traffic control.
After two hours and with barely 30 minutes of fuel remaining it was decided by aircraft commander Major Jack Berquist that the crew should prepare for an emergency crash landing. Preparations immediately began, with foam sprayed on the runway and fire rescue personnel dispatched. The aircraft was configured and then landed, with the nose being held up off the ground for as long as possible by the pilot. Berquist then managed to bring the Hercules to a comparatively smooth stop, and no injuries were sustained.
In-flight emergencies and emergency landings do happen, commented navigator Captain Brett Goebel. We train extensively year-round in the aircraft and simulator for unlikely events such as these. Without a doubt, we provide some of the best training and preparation of any professional flying organisation from not only an individual, but also a crew standpoint. This was definitely a crew effort!