C-130's Fate

By: Kara Tsuboi
By: Kara Tsuboi

Cruising at 1,000 feet above Lake Tahoe, C-130 transport planes have more impressive duties than simply providing a gorgeous view.

For one, they're the only planes in the world that come equipped with a specific type of infrared technology.

Col. Frank Lander, Vice Wing Commander of the Reno Air Guard, says using the infrared technology, these planes can detect wildfire hot-spots through the smoke.

In the last few years, they have been instrumental in fighting Northern Nevada's Waterfall and Martis Fires. They can even fly at night, when many other fire assist planes are grounded.

Also, the Guard says the C-130 is a superior transport plane, capable of carrying 92 passengers and hundreds of thousands of pounds of cargo. They're on the ready to respond to any local, regional or national disaster. Like transport blood donations after the 9/11 attacks.

But the Department of Justice has other plans for this elite eight. If approved, they will be relocated to Arkansas and their pilots and crew? Let go. Reno is one of three C-130 bases in the Western United States. If down-sized, many argue our local, state and regional safety could be in jeopardy.

Because then, only Southern California would house the C-130's, and it could take precious hours for them to reach our area.

BRAC will begin voting on base closures in a few weeks. But it won't be until sometime next month that the Reno Air Guard finds out if it's spared from down-sizing or not.


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