Narrative:A Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) equipped C-130 transport aircraft supporting firefighting missions crashed in the southwest corner of South Dakota, USA. The aircraft was supporting the efforts against the White Draw Fire. Four crew members were killed, two loadmasters stationed at the back of the plane survived the crash.
MAFFS is a joint U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Forest Service program designed to provide additional aerial firefighting resources when commercial and private airtankers are no longer able to meet the needs of the forest service.
MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the U.S. Forest Service that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than 5 seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide. Once the load is discharged, it can be refilled in less than 12 minutes.
Probable Cause:The accident investigation report released by the Air Force Air Mobility Command said the crash happened because the crew made an "inadequate assessment" of weather conditions and it flew into a microburst.
» USAF News release
» Air Force Times
» Shelby Star
This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.