Monday, March 28, 2011

Exploring an MC 130E

The Youngest Island Boy's Cub Scout Den got invited to Duke Field which is home to the 711th Special Operations Squadron.



One of our Dads is a pilot who flies the MC 130E and was going to give them a tour of the plane he flies as part of one of their electives.

This guy always looks real casual (almost frumpy) and seems to be extremely laid back so it was surprising when we walked in the building and there he stood in his flight suit - looking like an Air Force Pilot instead of a beach bum.

We were taken in a transport van out to the runway.



And introduced to his plane.







He explained a lot of things about the outside of the plane









It was cool to be out on the runway with all of those MC130's lined up and ready for take-off.



The inside of this plane is amazing.



He explained how the back opened and vehicles can be driven in, how cargo is stored and then dropped into target areas, and of course the boys were the most fascinated with how men parachute out.



The MC-130E was the first Combat Talon and was developed to support clandestine special operations missions during the Vietnam War. Eighteen were created by modifying C-130E transports, and four lost through attrition, but the remainder continue in service more than four decades after their initial modification.

This particular aircraft is one of the original 18.

He pointed out the many modifications that have been done inside over the years, giving this plane today's technology.

They fly a 7 man crew. Two men sit at this panel behind the cockpit



And 5 men sit in the actual cockpit.





The shear volume of switches in this plane is mindblowing. I can't imagine how hard it must be to learn to fly one of these things.

I asked our pilot/guide/dad if we slipped him a little cash would he take us for a ride. The other parents all agreed to chip in but he said "It would need to be a suitcase full of cash because I could never come back!"

I didn't think we'd be going for a ride but it never hurts to ask.

After our tour of the plane we rode our transport van back to the main building and went into the Briefing/Debriefing room.



The walls are lined with photographs and patches from the Squadron





This picture is my favorite.



If these walls could talk imagine the stories they would tell.

The boys got a final treat when the Major broke out the night vision helmet.



The room was pitch dark when I took this picture of the Youngest and he said he could see everything just like it was daylight - only green.



The parents got to try them too and let me tell you - I want night vision goggles or a helmet. It was so cool and I can imagine how much fun it would be to go in the woods at night with these.

We all had a really interesting afternoon and the boys, as well as their parents enjoyed seeing and learning about the MC 130E.



Thanks, Major!
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