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NPR - Bigger, Faster Air Tankers Help Forest Service Tackle Wildfires

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In the battle against wildfires, the Forest Service often draws on a fleet of air tankers — planes that drop fire retardant from the sky. But the fleet shrank dramatically in the early 2000s, and by 2012, the Forest Service was woefully low on planes. Now, the agency is quickly increasing the number of planes at its disposal — and modernizing the fleet in the process by adding bigger, faster and more efficient planes. (www.npr.org) Mehr...

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jbqwik
jbqwik 3
Two years ago this same DC10 was working fires around central Wyoming. Painted in it's bright livery, and, relative to the usual air traffic, it was quite the impressive sight.
KCPR can be like a ghost town between flights and I coulda/woulda/shoulda got a personal tour of the a/c., but, dang those demanding time schedules- the best I could do was snap some pics.
preacher1
preacher1 2
Whatever happened to the 747 that Evergreen had ready to go 2-3 years ago before their demise? Saw the demos on it and I think it got certification but was never used. Then out the door EG went so IDK.
jimp9106
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evergreen_747_Supertanker
preacher1
preacher1 1
Sad that it's stored and going to be scrapped if it hasn't been already. It could beat the 10 hands down, BUT, the 10 is flying and it ain't.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Tks for the link.
TorstenHoff
Torsten Hoff 1
Evergreen went bankrupt, I have no idea what happened to the tanker.
preacher1
preacher1 1
That's what I was curious about. They went BR last year but this was a couple years back, actually around the time the 10 came in, but it never went into service. Seems like the clips I saw, it was being built/modified down in AZ somewhere. Could have been Marana but not sure.
TorstenHoff
Torsten Hoff 2
The DC-10 was used the last few years to fight fires here in California, I believe it is still around.
preacher1
preacher1 2
Yeah, it's still around. I think they talk about it in in this story and possibly building 2-3 others just like it. That is what sparked my curiosity about that 747 as it would carry more than the 10 I think.
TorstenHoff
Torsten Hoff 1
The DC-10 is currently being used to fight a fire raging near Yosemite with 0% containment:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/06/us/yosemite-national-park-fire/index.html

[This poster has been suspended.]

preacher1
preacher1 1
Haven't seen a thing on the 747 since it was converted a few years ago. All the public film and stories have been on the 10. Just a curious thing
preacher1
preacher1 1
Curious too, who is operating it since Evergreen went out
linbb
linbb 1
No one as its sitting somewhere in CA or AZ without engines according to the Oregon newspaper which did an article on it about a week or so ago. Its in the courts as to what is going to happen with it.
linbb
linbb 1
Also the guy who used to own Erickson Heli is converting DC9s now and is out of Madras OR now. Story on the local news about that and showed a pix also.
linbb
linbb 1
Better check up on that guy.
sgbelverta
sharon bias 1
According to most recent bankruptcy records for Evergreen, Jet Midwest will probably get all of the planes. They put in the highest bid. But fights within the creditors group is causing a lot of delays. Everyone wants to be at the front of the line to be paid. At this point, the Evergreen Foundation, which owns the Spruce Goose, is not a party to the bankruptcy.
zcolescott
S-3 Firebombers...I'm telling ya!
DMenscha
Bill Schmiett 1
CalFire uses turbine converted S-2's. I've always thought the S-3 would be ideal. The was even some talk about converting the A-10 warthog for the purpose.
blueashflyer
blueashflyer 3
What about B-2 firebombers? That way you could sneak up stealthy onto the fire and put it out and the fire wouldn't know what's coming.
tufiremn
Could use the A-10 to cut fire lines with it's Gatling gun.
yr2012
matt jensen 0
A10 is very limited in what it can carry. A 747 or C5A would be perfect
preacher1
preacher1 1
See my posts above. Evergreen did a 747 about 3 years ago, before the DC10 came ready, and even got it certified but I don't think it ever flew. It was before their BR and seems like it was built in AZ somewhere, Marana maybe, but not sure. Saw several demos of it but nothing ever in actual firefight. Next thing the DC10 was all over the airwaves.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well now, I say it got certified. I'm not sure.
linbb
linbb 1
Its sitting in CA without engines according to the Oregon news last week. The problem being according to reports is it works great in relatively flat areas but in the mountains they cannot get low enough to do effective drops. They like somewhat smaller tankers as they can get down in to do them rather than like stated too high to get the water on them. Also another factor is travel time from an airport that is able to handle them to the fire. The closest airport when used in Oregon a few years ago was Moses Lake WA. Adding to problems is loading as it takes some different equipment or tanks to load them. You would have to check on line to figure that out as the info was somewhat sketchy on that. Hopes that clears up some of the comments on here also or gives them the opportunity to check on it.
tufiremn
There was a DC-10 tanker out at KAUS a few years ago for the conflagrations that where hitting central Texas.

Wonder if any of FedEx's old DC-10's have enough time left on their airframes to be converted to tankers?
ClintBurke
Clint Burke 1
The Bae 146 is also being used...
clandel
So is the USFS going to abandon MAAFS once they have a full fleet of DC-10s? Or will those still be held in reserve?
jmck5519
jmck5519 1
Go to http://fireaviation.com for information on the 3 DC-10s working and also EG 747 in the last year or so.
sgbelverta
sharon bias 1
I live next to the old McClellan AFB. The 747 did demo drops of water at McClellan awhile back. It was very impressive. I don't know where the plane went, but I hope someone rescues it and puts it to use. The DC10's use McClellan all the time during the fire season. The DC10's, when in active mode, tend to use the short approach glide path that the old A10's used. Come in so low over my house I can almost see the tire tread. They do take-off using the longer, straight approach. I think the pilots get a kick out of using an empty DC10 as a fighter plane. Maybe old Warthog pilots?
hjfischer1
Herb Fischer 1
I don't know a lot about a lot, but here's my pedigree- I was a USFS Hotshot, then got accepted for Smokejumpers and did that for four seasons out of KMSO. I was a C-130 Lead Crew AC and IP in USAF. Flew big stuff for Pan Am and United, then Falcons for Netjets. I might not be real smart, but I've been around. First, discount everything the East Coast Environmentalists say about Forestry- let them go plant a shrub in Central Park and shut up. Most people don't understand what Retardant does. It isn't like spraying water on a structure fire. The retardant, as the name suggests, retards the progress of the fire by covering the combustible stuff with a substance that doesn't burn real well. This helps a lot if (a) it is dropped in the right place and (b) if you have guys on the ground to take advantage of the time you have bought them. To me, this sugge4sts that just the ability to drop a gazillion gallons doesn't make a great tanker. My experiences "on the ground" would lead me to favor a more maneuverable airplane with less capacity. I all too well remember transitioning from a B777 to a DA2000- the controls might respond well, but all that airplane behind you has a lot of kinetic to move.
clandel
Herb, I too wondered about the maneuverability issue. I would hope that they DC-10s are not limited dropping all gazillion gallons at once, but I expect it would be nice to have that capacity if you did need the whole gazillion. But the maneuverability is something else--how well do those heavies work in really steep and rugged terrain? And can the DC-10s indeed drop partial loads as needed?
hjfischer1
Herb Fischer 1
I'm pretty sure all the bigger airplanes can divide loads. They could even do that with the B-25's that were the most common Tankers back in 19(mumble,mumble)when I was Jumping. As an ex '130 driver, I tend to think that an airplane like the Herc might be the best compromise- big enough to carry a reasonable load (30,000-50,000 lbs) but having the maneuverability and- just as important- the acceleration and deceleration capability to operate safely in the mountains. Don't know if outsourcing this to military units is an answer. Having been one, I know that these guys are dedicated pros, but Firefighting is a different game!
clandel
And thus MAAFS! You've seen this, right? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_eGiGG1B-Q I think it was squawked at the time of the fire.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Ain't nothing wrong with the (mumble, mumble) after we've all paid our dues. LOL

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