Thick, black smoke billowed around a Missouri Air National Guard C-130 parked on a runway here today at Kansas City International Airport.
The smoke, from fires set by exercise managers, posed no threat to the aircraft or its Airmen. Along with some role players brought in, to act as injured passengers, it was all fabricated to create a disaster scene.
The whole purpose, said officials, was to test civilian responders here in a major accident response exercise. Many local, state and federal agencies participated.
The 139th Airlift Wing only supplied the aircraft. Its aircrew watched the exercise play out around their plane like concerned parents, but from a safe distance. Other Airmen, from the Wing’s fire department and emergency management office, drove here to observe the city’s response practices.
Bob Johnson, the airport’s exercise coordinator, said they greatly appreciated the Guard’s assistance. The Wing provided the aircraft after airport officials ran into trouble securing a commercial aircraft.
“We are all in the same family to help each other,” said Johnson. “It’s awesome to have them here.”