Are these CAL FIRE's newest aircraft?

August 05, 2018

Are these CAL FIRE's newest aircraft?

An August 4, 2018 story at reported legislation to transfer 7 Coast Guard HC-130Hs to CAL FIRE passed both houses and is sitting on the President's desk.

My paint concept for these currently imaginary C-130s is similar to what I had originally envisioned for the CAL FIRE Black Hawks when they were reported last year. In my head, I knew I wanted to depict some kind of 'annoyed' or 'indignant' California grizzly, but wasn't able to develop the idea in time for publication of that paint scheme. 

Aside from the black tail and grizzly, the markings are consistent with the ongoing rebranding of aircraft. The grizzly is designed with only six distinct layers of brown, so it could easily be painted with layered masking from dark to light. The final two colors are CAL FIRE red for the tongue and a very light brown for one tooth.

Another option for applying the design is vinyl wrapping. Believe it or not, Coulson's C-130s, which sport a very complex pink to red to black gradient, are vinyl wrapped, and have been flying on California wildfires for several years.

For the people who wonder why I chose a grizzly and not a bald eagle or other animal; the grizzly bear appears on the state flag and the state seal, and has been the official state animal since 1953. There have been efforts to reintroduce the grizzly back into California as late as 2015. I always liked the state flag on the helitacks, and later they started putting just the grizzly and the star on the tails. Now it's just the star with the words California Republic. The reason I put the grizzly in this scheme is because I wanted to take that same concept as the grizzly on the tail, but make it more prominent and with a lot of attitude. The grizzly represents the fire pilots and the ground crews going into fires; annoyed and perturbed at yet another fire and at great risk to themselves, but they still do so unafraid, and they keep coming back, again and again.


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