The U.S. Air Pressure particular mission C-130H Hercules Plane flying mosquito-control spray operations from the air


A U.S. Air Force Reserve C-130H Hercules aircraft assigned to the 910th Airlift Wing, equipped with a modular spray system, is performing nightly mosquito control spray operations over Lake Charles, Louisiana after the Hurricane Delta on October 21, 2020 (Photo by U.S. Air Force by Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer)

C-130H Hercules aircraft of the 910th Airlift Wing based at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, are conducting mosquito control missions.

The 910th AW (Airlift Wing), located at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, is the Department of Defense’s sole flight spray feature and dedicated flight for maintenance of the flight spray.

The unit operates C-130H Hercules aircraft equipped with specially designed modular spray systems (MASS) that are used to carry out the spray mission in use since 1973 and spray on disease-carrying pests via the Department of Defense Facilities (DoD) and anti-foliage -Operations on bomb areas to reduce accidental brush fires and expose unexploded ordnance (UXO) after bombing. The U.S. Air Force program also maintains a preparedness capability using oil dispersants to neutralize oil spills in open water and to provide vector control over metropolitan areas after a natural disaster.

Last but not least, the 910th AW is conducting mosquito control spray missions in the US, as it did last week when the unit was dispatched to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, to fly over southern Louisiana along with 85 Reserve Citizen Airmen Civil authorities assist in pest control insects. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered materials are used for these missions, and the MASS does not distribute more than an ounce of product per acre.

Notably, there are three Special Mission C-130 units in the Air Force: the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Wing (WRS), the 403rd Airlift Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. “Hurricane Hunters”,

As stated in an official publication, at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and with the approval of the Department of Defense, the U.S. Northern Command activated the 910th AW to provide spray capability in areas where the heavy rains of the recent hurricanes caused the heavy rains Providing air has led to an increasing number of mosquitos, which can spread disease and also hamper the ability to recover, resulting in less time in the field.

The 910th AW C-130s have been spraying Lousiana since October 20, 2020 and had treated nearly half a million acres by October 25, 2020. According to the governor’s office for homeland security and emergency preparedness, the C-130s are slated to spray in the communities of Acadia, Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jeff Davis, Lafayette, and Vermilion.

The last time the 910th AW supported FEMA’s hurricane recovery efforts with its airborne spray mission was in 2017, when they treated 2.7 million acres of affected areas after Hurricane Harvey.

“Our military have the privilege of helping the Interagent team and the people of Louisiana recover from recent hurricanes Delta and Laura,” said Lt. Gen. Kirk Pierce, commander, First Air Force, Air Forces Northern.

Senior Master Sgt. Of the U.S. Air Force Reserve. Mark Zickefoose, a loadmaster assigned to the 910th Operations Group, makes the final adjustments to the cargo deck of a C-130H Hercules aircraft assigned to the 910th Airlift Wing at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, with a modular spray system. prior to takeoff from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, Oct. 22, 2020. The last time the 910th AW assisted the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s hurricane recovery efforts with its airborne spray mission was in 2017 when they 2, Hurricane Harvey treated 7 million acres of affected areas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer)

Specialized C-130Hs

While the Air Force Reserve Command aims to modernize the capability by sourcing 10x C-130J models, the Air Force has been using the C-130H aircraft in spray missions since 1986 and is currently using six specially modified C-130H2 airframes .

According to a study titled “US AIR FORCE’S AERIAL SPRAY MISSION: SHOULD THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT CONTINUE TO OPERATE THIS BULK DISPERSION WEAPON?” The process of specializing a C-130 for spraying, submitted by U.S. Air Force Reserve Maj. Scott J. Julian to Air Command and Staff College Air University, involves attaching a purpose-built spray boom that connects from the MASS inside the plane through a two inch hole in the rear hatch doors on each side. The booms protrude six feet from the rear doors and each have 2-30 individual spray nozzles, depending on
Agent is dispersed. Any changes to the C-130 to make it a special aircraft will be made by spray-specific supervisors at the 910th Maintenance Wing (910 MXS) Aerial Spray Flight (ASF), 910th Maintenance Group (910 MXG), 910 AW. “

“In order to carry out spraying missions from the air at low altitudes, special liquid containers have been developed that specifically fit into a C-130. This system is called the Modular Aerial Spray System (MASS). There are six types of MASS in total: one is used for water training only, two are ultra-low volume systems, and three are so-called normal systems, each 6 with four 500-gallon main tanks and a 250-gallon wash tank. The extremely low volume system
(ULV) is specifically used for airborne pesticide diffusion because it takes relatively little product to spray pesky insects over a large area.

The ULV system is attached to a boom with eight to 30 nozzles on each side, depending on the entomologist’s specifications. It delivers 0.03 gallons of fine mist pesticide per minute. Applications that require large amounts of liquid herbicide to neutralize cheatgrass and other fire-prone, invasive vegetation on bomb areas use the normal spray system. Cheatgrass is an invasive, alien grass that is rapidly spreading in agricultural fields in the United States. it can reduce some crop yields by 33%. Oil dispersion missions also use the normal system because of the large amount of solvent required to neutralize a spill of crude oil over open water. The normal system is attached to a bracket with only two larger bells
Nozzles that deliver up to 300 gallons per minute.

The MASS is designed for only one system per aircraft. The spray system is loaded onto a C-130 using another specially designed 20-wheel vehicle, a 60K tunner loader or K loader. The MASS rests on hundreds of rollers on the K-Loader and is then slowly rolled onto the aircraft by spray maintainers and C-130 loadmasters. It takes about an hour to insert. The MASS consists of four interconnected tanks with three pumps per module (15 HP for herbicide and 5 HP for pesticide), which are operated by a specially trained load manager via an analog control panel on the front of the MASS. The current system is over 20 years old and ASF supervisors claim that the MASS needs to be replaced due to aging technology, inefficient pumping rates and severe internal corrosion. The 910 AW is currently working with representatives from the local convention to source new MASS equipment for the meeting
future spray requirements, ”says Maj. Scott J. Julian in his research.

Special crews

Interestingly, the C-130 aircraft crews include pilots, flight engineers, navigators, and load masters who also act as spray operators and entomologists. Ground support personnel for the mission include additional entomologists, mission planners for operational support, flight spray maintenance, communications, aircraft maintenance, squadron aircraft resource managers, flight equipment for flight crews, and a command team, including a mission commander, a chief of operations, a mission sergeant, and public affairs representatives .

A U.S. Air Force Reserve C-130H Hercules aircraft assigned to the 910th Airlift Wing, stationed at Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Ohio and equipped with a modular spray system, takes off from Barksdale Air Force Base in October 22, 2020 Louisiana. The C-130 performed nightly mosquito control spray operations over Lake Charles, Louisiana, after the Hurricane Delta. The C-130s have been spraying since October 20, 2020 and have treated nearly half a million acres to date. At the request of FEMA and with approval from the Department of Defense, the US Northern Command activated the 910th AW to provide spray capabilities in support of civil authorities in Louisiana. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer)

“Because of his unique skills, specialized personnel must also be used to operate the spray program. The ASF comprises twelve sprayers, including seven full-time air reserve technicians (ART) and five traditional reservists (TR). All ASF employees must first advance through the MXS in a Primary Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) before they can become Spray Cursors. These members are responsible for the development, maintenance and repair of all elements associated with the MASS, including the spray boom and nozzle elements, the pump and the internal mechanics of the system.

MASS parts are manufactured and assembled in-house on the 910 MXS. The 910 AW also employs two ART and two TR entomologists. Entomologists work with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and work with the USDA Center for Medical and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE) to develop and implement methods of pest control using military air cargo. 910 AW entomologists are responsible for researching and studying pest insects that carry vector-borne diseases and the most effective methods for eliminating them in certain areas of the United States.

Five specially trained crew members make up the flight segment of the spray program: a pilot, a copilot, a navigator, a flight engineer and a load master. These spray crews work with the 757th Airlift Squadron (757 AS), 910th Operations Group (910 OG), 910 AW. The crew must maintain the currency specific to that particular mission in addition to their regular tactical air transport and air drop currencies. The crew may soon be able to conduct the spraying mission 24 hours a day. In September 2013, the 757 AS was instructed by AFRC to develop a night air spray program that uses night vision goggles (NVG) to specifically target vector-borne pests, which are primarily used at night. “

In fact, the AFRC 910th spray flight usually conducts spray missions at dusk and at night with NVGs when pest insects are most active. Airborne spray applications are typically performed at very low altitudes so that the insect and herbicide are effectively delivered where needed and to avoid spray drift. Insect and herbicide treatments are delivered at an altitude of 150 feet above the ground (AGL), while the application of an oil dispersant is at an AGL of 300 to 500 feet. “A C-130 spray insert consists of a standard back and forth pattern over the area to be covered using visual flight rules (VFR) or dead reckoning from the air and the blue-colored dye as reference points.”

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