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N.Y. 109th Airlift Wing sends 'Skibird' to Paris Air Show

By Master Sgt. Jaclyn Lyons and Master Sgt. Christine Wood | New York National Guard | June 20, 2019

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PARIS – One LC-130 "Skibird" and 12 Airmen from New York's Capital Region's 109th Airlift Wing are taking part in the International Paris Air Show which began June 17 and ends on June 23.

The 109th, based at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, flies the largest ski-equipped aircraft in the world which can land on snow and ice.

The wing specializes in supporting National Science Foundation research in Antarctica and Greenland and can also support military missions in Arctic regions.

The Paris Air Show, held every other year, is the world's largest and premier air show. This year the show, held at Paris-Le Bourget Airport, featured 140 aircraft, 2,381 exhibitors from 48 countries, 290 official delegations representing 58 nations and is being covered by 3,450 journalists from 67 countries, according to air show organizers.

It is the first time the 109th, or any New York Air National Guard contingent, has participated in the Paris Air Show. In 2018 the 109th sent an LC-130 Skibird to participate in the African Aerospace and Defence Airshow held by the Republic of South Africa.

The New York National Guard has a training partnership relationship with the South African military.

The 109th was asked to participate because the NP2000 eight-bladed propeller used on the LC-130s is made in France for Collins Aerospace, which is now part of United Technologies Corporation.

The NP2000 propeller, which features curved blades, provides more power than a traditional propeller. All 10 of the 109th Airlift Wing's LC-130s use the high-tech propeller. One of the 12 109th Airmen at the airshow – eight aircrew members and four maintenance personnel – is an expert in the propellers and can talk about the system and its impact on fuel consumption and flight performance.

The wing is embracing the chance to be part of the world's biggest and best air show, according to Col. Michele Kilgore, the commander of the 109th Airlift Wing.

"This is a great opportunity to educate the public about the specialized LC-130 Skibird capabilities and how the NP-20008 bladed propellers have increased our aircraft performance," she said. "The Paris Airshow is a premier event to showcase our mission sets, bring awareness of Arctic exercises and foster our relationships with our European allies."

1st Lt. Laura James, an LC-130 navigator, said it's tremendously exciting for the 109th Airmen to be part of the event.

"It's been awesome to see all the airframes and technology from different countries," James said. "There's everything here. There's NASA, fighter planes from WWII, amphibious planes and then we brought the LC-130."

"Some know about our mission and tell us how cool it is, others come up and point to the skis and ATO (rocket assisted takeoff) bottles and ask what they're for. Then we explain the mission and they think it's crazy... seeing the reactions has been pretty cool," James added.