Sign in to follow this  
blunderfull

Flying Boats

Recommended Posts

Bucket list item.

Watching the 747's fighting the Holy fire up in the mtns here is pretty awe inspiring.   Talk about flying chops.   

These fireservice guys turned that fire away from a massive disaster into a big burn in the woods.  Close call & don't think the people of Lake Elsinore will soon forget what the fire service did for them.  Great job!

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_JRM_Mars

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, blunderfull said:

 

Right there is what is so cool about the Mars flying boats - they skim a load in seconds off the nearest lake instead of having to load by hand like that.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those VLT’s - industry abbreviation for Very Large Tankers - are not cheap either. When I retired they ran $50,000 a day PLUS $15,000 per flight hour......each........and the incident supplied the go juice and retardant. I shudder to think what this air show cost. But in that country there isn’t much else you can do till it comes down into the homes. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a mandatory post when the subject of fire tankers comes up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was born and sailed (grew up?) in the Isle of Wight.  Saunders Roe in Cowes had built three gigantic flying boats in the early 1950s, the Princesses.  

They never got into production, and were 'cocooned', one in West Cowes at what's now the Spencer yard by the chain ferry, and two over the Solent at Calshot.  All were dismantled in the 60s.  I remember as a young nipper walking round the one in Cowes and being astonished by the size.  The largest all-metal flying boats ever.

 

Saro Princess G-ALUN Farnborough 1953.jpg

1280px-Saunders-Roe%2C_SR45%2C_Princess.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When this subject comes up, I always post this one...............Spain/Portugal.............turn up your speakers and enjoy. God bless these guys..all of them....they have saved the ass of this old ground pounder on more than one occasion. Load and return boys.........load and return.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That looks like  my Johnson 2-stroke.  My shoulder twinges watching that guy wailing away.  Cloud of smoke and off we go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These guys...........are my favorite and by far the most useful for close air support of ground forces and rapid turnarounds.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Point Break said:

When this subject comes up, I always post this one...............Spain/Portugal.............turn up your speakers and enjoy. God bless these guys..all of them....they have saved the ass of this old ground pounder on more than one occasion. Load and return boys.........load and return.

 

PBY’s are badass.

Last fire around Newp they threw an Air-Crane at it, using Back Bay for refills. Loudest copters I’ve ever heard.   Got it done fast too.

https://www.google.com/search?q=air+crane&client=safari&hl=en-us&prmd=sinv&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjjm-ydz-jcAhWGFHwKHdgiAp0Q_AUIEigC&biw=414&bih=606#imgrc=_BKlS1sfvRS-UM:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, P_Wop said:

The largest all-metal flying boats ever.

wood ................

1914339195_http_2F2Fa_amz.mshcdn.com2Fwp-content2Fuploads2F20152F082Fsprucegoose-11.thumb.jpg.981ab10676f40001d6a5a334787837ff.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Curious about the arrival and spin up of the aircraft attack? There is a guy in charge in the air of all firefighting aircraft on an incident. He is called the Air Tactical Group Supervisor ATGS or "Air Attack" for short (in Cali). This is an excellent video of the arrival of the first Air Attack over a big fire before the ground resources are even getting organized. There is a BC still enroute trying to help with command decisions. The interaction between Air Attack and the Incident Commander in developing priorities for the for the fire attack is invaluable.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Mid said:

wood ................

1914339195_http_2F2Fa_amz.mshcdn.com2Fwp-content2Fuploads2F20152F082Fsprucegoose-11.thumb.jpg.981ab10676f40001d6a5a334787837ff.jpg

What’s up with the Goose these days?  Long time since it left LB.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that the size up or report on conditions in done after a lap around the fire, initial attack is organized and air resources ordered, Air Attack is going to coordinate the air tactics with the various tankers telling them where he wants them to drop.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, blunderfull said:

What’s up with the Goose these days?  Long time since it left LB.

It's on display in McMinnville Oregon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife and I both flew air tankers, Canso, CL215, CL415, Grumman Tracker, Convair 580A for 30 yrs. Great career, gave us lots of sailing time in our winter in warmer climes. We promised to quit when it wasn't fun any more, retired in 2008 and don't miss it at all.  When conditions are right it is actually a lot of fun, when they are not, terrifying. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Damn some of you guys find special women.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/12/2018 at 6:46 PM, Point Break said:

When this subject comes up, I always post this one...............Spain/Portugal.............turn up your speakers and enjoy. God bless these guys..all of them....they have saved the ass of this old ground pounder on more than one occasion. Load and return boys.........load and return.

 

 

Heh the Canadair 215/415 is a mandatory post about flying boats, the only purpose built waterbombers around they are always in demand.

Shame they're not building any more of them.  :(

 

 

Somewhere I've got a Facebook vid of Ontario fire rangers having a post fire kegger by the lake, when one comes in and just dusts EVERYBODY.

I'll have to hunt that one up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The scene in Always where Al (John Goodman) gets the load of retardant dropped on him is one of the best scenes in the movie.

Can't find a clip of it though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

The scene in Always where Al (John Goodman) gets the load of retardant dropped on him is one of the best scenes in the movie.

Can't find a clip of it though.

Its a lot less fun in real life.....................:unsure: A guy I worked with filmed this at his house.............

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right of way a little confusing.......lets see, sail over power......starboard over port.......overtaking is burdened........what about.............

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, weightless said:

18 (e)

Damn.....I was being facetious but sure as heck...there it is. Learn something everyday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Point Break said:

Damn.....I was being facetious but sure as heck...there it is. Learn something everyday.

Thire is allotta knowledge oute hearer.                              :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Point Break said:

Its a lot less fun in real life.....................:unsure: A guy I worked with filmed this at his house.............

 

Better than the alternative I guess. Can you get that stuff off? There's an area near our Okanagan house that was hit with it about 15 years ago and the rock face is STILL pink.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

Better than the alternative I guess. Can you get that stuff off? There's an area near our Okanagan house that was hit with it about 15 years ago and the rock face is STILL pink.

Its better than it used to be with the old stuff. Still.....its pretty important to get it washed down pretty soon. Unfortunately, if folks are evacuated they often don't get back to their homes till days after the drops. The newer stuff power washes off better but...............

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

Better than the alternative I guess. Can you get that stuff off? There's an area near our Okanagan house that was hit with it about 15 years ago and the rock face is STILL pink.

It's not easy getting it off.  We had two J22 and a six-boat Laser trailer sitting on a property on a ridge and a fire burned right up to a few feet away. They got covered in retardant. That was many years ago and even after taking them to a car wash with the nice jet of spray, they still have red on them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/12/2018 at 4:46 PM, Point Break said:

When this subject comes up, I always post this one...............Spain/Portugal.............turn up your speakers and enjoy. God bless these guys..all of them....they have saved the ass of this old ground pounder on more than one occasion. Load and return boys.........load and return.

 

I'm watching Oceans Twelve right now and in an airport scene four of these planes are in the background. Such an odd coincidence. I see this video for the first time today and suddenly there they are on tv in a movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/18/2018 at 3:36 PM, SloopJonB said:

The scene in Always where Al (John Goodman) gets the load of retardant dropped on him is one of the best scenes in the movie.

Can't find a clip of it though.

To underscore the danger associated with these drops, Cal Fire just released today that the Battalion Chief from Utah that was killed last week on the Mendocino Complex was killed by debris (branches etc) driven through a tree he was under/near by a retardant drop. Same drop injured several other firefighters but the Battalion Chief was the only one killed. Those drops are no fun to be directly under.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/12/2018 at 4:46 PM, Point Break said:

 

 

The amount of undiluted, not-from-concentrate awesome in that video ... 

How many of those planes were built? I saw that it came out of the water to take off from a runway, does it need a lot of extra water-runway to take off from water?

When it fills those tanks, is it just kind of a gravity process, sitting still, or does it use the plane's forward momentum to fill faster? How long does it take to fill the tanks?

There are three guys in the cockpit, obviously the pilot, the other one I assume is maybe a navigator or a fire engineer of some kind? What does that third guy in the middle do?

I can only assume that with that big lift wing, and that close to the ground, that managing the thermals that come off of those fires along with suddenly making the plane a few thousand pounds lighter must be tough, there are a few shots of that pilot really wrestling with the yoke. Is that part of it as difficult as it looks? Does the plane have any kind of computer control to help with all that?

When they land in the water, does the plane have things like depth gauges and current flow meters to keep from running aground and managing the water runway? Are there multiple water tanks for better weight distribution? If the tanks aren't completely full, I can't imagine how difficult it must be to fly that monster with the water mass moving around. Do the tanks have pressurized bladders to manage that? Do they add any kind of chemical dispersant or surfactant to the water for better fire control? Do they ever use those to dump chemical rather than just water, like with those supertankers?

In that video, it comes out of the water to refuel. That seems like a pretty specific need, maybe not too many airports with boat ramps near forest fires, do they ever refuel them in the water?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, mikewof said:

The amount of undiluted, not-from-concentrate awesome in that video ... 

How many of those planes were built? I saw that it came out of the water to take off from a runway, does it need a lot of extra water-runway to take off from water?

When it fills those tanks, is it just kind of a gravity process, sitting still, or does it use the plane's forward momentum to fill faster? How long does it take to fill the tanks?

There are three guys in the cockpit, obviously the pilot, the other one I assume is maybe a navigator or a fire engineer of some kind? What does that third guy in the middle do?

I can only assume that with that big lift wing, and that close to the ground, that managing the thermals that come off of those fires along with suddenly making the plane a few thousand pounds lighter must be tough, there are a few shots of that pilot really wrestling with the yoke. Is that part of it as difficult as it looks? Does the plane have any kind of computer control to help with all that?

When they land in the water, does the plane have things like depth gauges and current flow meters to keep from running aground and managing the water runway? Are there multiple water tanks for better weight distribution? If the tanks aren't completely full, I can't imagine how difficult it must be to fly that monster with the water mass moving around. Do the tanks have pressurized bladders to manage that? Do they add any kind of chemical dispersant or surfactant to the water for better fire control? Do they ever use those to dump chemical rather than just water, like with those supertankers?

In that video, it comes out of the water to refuel. That seems like a pretty specific need, maybe not too many airports with boat ramps near forest fires, do they ever refuel them in the water?

:lol:

The only answer I know to your questions is the fill...it’s a scoop system filling by the planes forward momentum. I don’t even know if they can also fill via hose sitting on the ground, I’d think so. All I know is “load and return”. For the rest you’ll have to wait till usedtobeoldestsailor comes along again. He flew them. My expertise is in needing their help! :lol: I talk to Air Attack and say I need drops on xyz......he says okay (most of the time) and it happens. Other than when will they be available over my fire, for a ground pounder the rest is details. Other than that I’m as amazed as anyone else. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Point Break said:

:lol:

The only answer I know to your questions is the fill...it’s a scoop system filling by the planes forward momentum. I don’t even know if they can also fill via hose sitting on the ground, I’d think so. All I know is “load and return”. For the rest you’ll have to wait till usedtobeoldestsailor comes along again. He flew them. My expertise is in needing their help! :lol: I talk to Air Attack and say I need drops on xyz......he says okay (most of the time) and it happens. Other than when will they be available over my fire, for a ground pounder the rest is details. Other than that I’m as amazed as anyone else. 

Seems to me that any flyboy worth his salt would kill to fly those baby's.  Makes one want to go out and get his pilots license.  Need a new movie about those guys.  man there must be some stories.  Anyone know what extra training they might need to do that shit?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, shaggy said:

Seems to me that any flyboy worth his salt would kill to fly those baby's.  Makes one want to go out and get his pilots license.  Need a new movie about those guys.  man there must be some stories.  Anyone know what extra training they might need to do that shit?

They need a partial frontal lobotomy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, shaggy said:

Seems to me that any flyboy worth his salt would kill to fly those baby's.  Makes one want to go out and get his pilots license.  Need a new movie about those guys.  man there must be some stories.  Anyone know what extra training they might need to do that shit?

I have no idea on the fixed wing,but if it’s anything like our helo fire pilots they start with 70 gazillion hours in type......then they apply. Ours were all older very experienced pilots. I do that the private companies that contract with feds/state for rotary wing firefighting ships (everything from heavys - the “sky cranes” - all the way down to type 3 with buckets), they have some younger pilots.....by younger I mean in their 30’s.......

The fixed wing stuff.....I have no idea. BTW - most of those in the US are private companies on seasonal lease contracts as well. As an example....linked below is a overview of all the firefighting aircraft used in California on state responsibility fires. Only the S2-T Tankers and Huey UH-1H helo’s are owned by the state and flown by state pilots. Everything else is private contractors for aircraft and pilots including the stuff shown that are federal assets (except the military ones).

http://www.fire.ca.gov/communications/downloads/AviationGuide_FINAL_web.pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, shaggy said:

Seems to me that any flyboy worth his salt would kill to fly those baby's.  Makes one want to go out and get his pilots license.  Need a new movie about those guys.  man there must be some stories.  Anyone know what extra training they might need to do that shit?

I actually looked into this a while back.... that is I wanted to fly the OV-10 Broncos they used for spotting etc...  but I was pretty much done with the nomadic lifestyle that I have lead up until then... Mrs. ND was too!

Damm thing is so fugly, it is too sexy for itself

OV10_Bronco_Cal_fire.jpg

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, nacradriver said:

I actually looked into this a while back.... that is I wanted to fly the OV-10 Broncos they used for spotting etc...  but I was pretty much done with the nomadic lifestyle that I have lead up until then... Mrs. ND was too!

Damm thing is so fugly, it is too sexy for itself

OV10_Bronco_Cal_fire.jpg

 

 

 

330.......Ramona Air Attack. Worked with that one quite a few times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh man....the OV-10 flew close air support and spotter in Vietnam.......that critter has been around quite a while.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, Rasputin22 said:

The OV-10 looks like the bastard child of a A-10 Warthog and a Cessna O-2A!

Image result for cessna O-2

Image result for a-10 warthog

The result of such an unholy union

Image result for OV-10 Broncos

OV-10 first flew in 1959... A-10 in 1972..  I think the A-10 is the abomination here... 

I have a few right seat hours in a Cessna Skymaster... this one was a Viet Nam vet that was still sporting the military setup up.... some industrial strength stuff on that plane and you would think the seat would have been just a little more comfortable...    It is the only twin engine plane that if you lose an engine; it is not a question of will you crash (off airport landing :)) it is when you will crash....., that will not crash..

Here is another one of my favorite fuglies...

image.png.6858c65f019b6902ce110b92d0dbebd0.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/12/2018 at 6:46 PM, Point Break said:

When this subject comes up, I always post this one...............Spain/Portugal.............turn up your speakers and enjoy. God bless these guys..all of them....they have saved the ass of this old ground pounder on more than one occasion. Load and return boys.........load and return.

 

Gotta love the large amplitude inputs to keep the pointy end forward.  Looks like a lot more fun than the desk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haven't been back here in awhile,  and just came back to look at the videos.  Many questions.  Yes the water bombers pick up water as they plane on the water, 1200 to 1400 Imp. gals in about 10 seconds.  mixed with foam after it is loaded and when dropped it comes out with a coating effect on the trees and ground and lasts much longer than just water. 

The gross control movements the pilots are making in the vid are almost always necessary over the fire, thermals, and especially in mountains with some wind caused turbulence.  

The third guy in the middle seat might have been a check pilot, a Fire control bird dog officer, or just somebody along for the ride.  We were never allowed to have more than essential crew, pilot and copilot, in the cockpit unless training or doing a check ride.

My wife and I were both very experienced pilots before we  started firebombing.  Quite a few hours flying in the bush, the arctic, and etc. We both did not like to live in a  city so only flew with smaller airline type operations and then only in the north and far north.  We both  really loved the north and the bush, and the people that went along with that lifestyle.  Don't miss the flying much, but do miss the north and the bush at times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, didn't realize how old this thread was.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, usedtobeoldestsailor said:

Sorry, didn't realize how old this thread was.

Never a bad reason to watch that Canadair video of those Spaniards. What does the bird dog do that the co-pilot doesn't do?

The one thing that strikes me about that Canadair is how brutally effective is the design ... like the landing gear with all the moving parts well above the water line. That's such basic good design that avoids so many potential problems in a more complex design, I can only assume that the whole plane is built like that. 

Any opinions to why Bombardier sold the whole program to Viking? I read that they want to release the CL-515, it looks the same. I had done a little work with Bombardier many years back, it was an odd company, possibly not the best ownership of Canadair.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/23/2018 at 6:54 PM, FoolOnTheHill said:
On 8/12/2018 at 6:46 PM, Point Break said:

When this subject comes up, I always post this one...............Spain/Portugal.............turn up your speakers and enjoy. God bless these guys..all of them....they have saved the ass of this old ground pounder on more than one occasion. Load and return boys.........load and return.

 

Gotta love the large amplitude inputs to keep the pointy end forward.  Looks like a lot more fun than the desk.

Wow! ( < understatement)

That's incredible, doesn't look like "fun" to me but it certainly is a worthwhile challenge.

-DSK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does a flying ship count?

yamato___star_blazers_by_thermslusitania

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, mikewof said:

The one thing that strikes me about that Canadair is how brutally effective is the design ... like the landing gear with all the moving parts well above the water line. That's such basic good design that avoids so many potential problems in a more complex design, I can only assume that the whole plane is built like that.

AFAIK it is the only purpose designed water bomber ever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, mikewof said:

Never a bad reason to watch that Canadair video of those Spaniards. What does the bird dog do that the co-pilot doesn't do?

 

There is a airborne coordinator or supervisor (Air Tactical Group Supervisor) - we used to call them "Air Attack" - over all of the large fires whose job it is to keep the air assets organized, assigning specific aircraft to targets, and keeping the fixed and rotary wing stuff apart. That guy is in a small fixed wing orbiting above the fire. As a ground commander I almost never spoke directly to the tankers or rotary assets. All of my communications are with Air Attack about what my priorities are and how the aircraft can tactically support my strategy. There is a real give and take because he can see the fire from overhead and I cannot. I would often end my description of what I intend to do with the phrase "does it look like that will work?". He does not want (nor do I want to) me or anyone else to chat with his assets as it is his job to keep them all tasked and apart. He translates my intentions into pilot talk on another frequency and we checkin periodically or when there is a change in priorities. On occasion, Air Attack will tell a tanker or more frequently a helo to work/communicate directly with a ground supervisor on a specific piece of line. That happens only with Air Attacks permission and usually when there will be repeat drops on the same piece like when doing close ground support.

Then there is the lead plane in a small fixed wing who performs "recon" for the tanker on the drop before the tanker makes his run. Its a "scout" sort of thing where the lead plane gets in low and looks at the conditions on the piece of line that the tanker will encounter. Last thing the tanker wants is to have a surprise when driving low....really low....and slow for the drop....especially up canyon. The lead plane will then lead the tanker in on a safe line and sometimes even trail smoke to signify the part of the line the tanker should begin his drop. It matters depending on the type of drop as well....salvo - meaning dump the whole load at once, or trail - meaning open each tank door in sequence so as to distribute the load over a longer distance along the line. Sometimes you do not have a lead plane available and then the tankers are little more fussy about the drops they are willing to do.

Here is one of my favorite photos of a lead plane and tanker. I doubt the tanker would be in that low without the lead plane showing him his safe line.

Airtanker and Lead Plane copy.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/22/2018 at 6:45 PM, Rasputin22 said:

The OV-10 looks like the bastard child of a A-10 Warthog and a Cessna O-2A!

Image result for cessna O-2

Image result for a-10 warthog

The result of such an unholy union

Image result for OV-10 Broncos

 

 

 

Terry Kohler, the former owner of North Sails had a completely restored Cessna O2-A sitting in his hanger. That thing was awesome. He let us move our B-25 (boat, not plane) into his hanger to get it ready for KWRW. We kept trying to figure out how to attach the dummy bombs he had for the O2 to our trailer. Apparently he bought it off the CIA, even though it had Air Force markings. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My rich uncle had one of those Skymasters back in the 60's. He flew it from London to Victoria in "The Great Air Race" - part of the Canadian Centennial celebrations IIRC.

Pretty selfish thing to do for a guy with 4 young kids but he made it O/K and got a great memory out of it.

The leg across the North Atlantic to Iceland must have been scary - close to the range of the plane.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/12/2018 at 4:38 PM, Point Break said:

Now that the size up or report on conditions in done after a lap around the fire, initial attack is organized and air resources ordered, Air Attack is going to coordinate the air tactics with the various tankers telling them where he wants them to drop.

 

It amazes me what they accomplished by precision and expertise with such puny assets. Small planes dropping small loads. 

 Considering the growing scope of the problem I really think they need to consider de-mothballng some of those 747's sitting in the Nevada desert and retrofit them as tankers for the wild fire problem. There could be a fleet of a half dozen ready to drop a quarter million pounds of water or retardant each. Could stop a small fire in the bud all by themselves, I be guessin'. 

 What would be really cool is finding a way to scoop load a 747 with water. Probably a program unreasonable in cost to develop and test...they sure as shit would need a large ass body of water to scoop from.  But just getting that first huge drop from a bunch of those bag bastards...

   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Mark K said:

It amazes me what they accomplished by precision and expertise with such puny assets. Small planes dropping small loads. 

 Considering the growing scope of the problem I really think they need to consider de-mothballng some of those 747's sitting in the Nevada desert and retrofit them as tankers for the wild fire problem. There could be a fleet of a half dozen ready to drop a quarter million pounds of water or retardant each. Could stop a small fire in the bud all by themselves, I be guessin'. 

 What would be really cool is finding a way to scoop load a 747 with water. Probably a program unreasonable in cost to develop and test...they sure as shit would need a large ass body of water to scoop from.  But just getting that first huge drop from a bunch of those bag bastards...

   

You are right about the growing fire problem and while no one would turn down the notion of more VLAT's (Very Large Air Tankers) its not as simple as that.

First is cost.....those big ones - LAT's (Large Air Tankers - DC10's etc) and VLAT's - are private companies (as are all the heavy lift large rotary wing assets) who charge the jurisdictional government entity for the use. Under a call when needed contract the VLAT charge is $165K for a three day minimum, $50K a day after that PLUS $16K for every flight hour. That adds up pretty quick. Even now, on a large incident with multiple aircraft assigned it is not unusual to have the ticket for the entire air operations approach or exceed a million dollars a day.

Second, they are not suited for all missions. If you want to paint a ridge with retardant to try to hold or hang a fire on that ridge or put a line down ahead of homes to slow the fire spread till you can get ground crews in to finish it off there is nothing better. A oft mistaken thought is those drops "put out" the fire. Sometimes if you're lucky in certain fuels you get enough penetration and wetting that some of the fire does go out but usually you eventually get burn through of the retardant (too many factors to enumerate here) before you can get the ground crews in on it. Just because you see it darken down on the TV news doesn't mean it stayed darkened down or out. The jury is still out on the use in timber with dense canopies.

Third, they cannot fly under all conditions. I don't remember what the wind speed no-go is for the VLAT's, and it depends a little on the topography they will be dropping in, but our usual cutoff for traditional air operations (S2's, P3's SEATS and rotary) was around 35mph sustained. That's not a hard and fast number and Air Attack will let you know when approaching no-go wind speeds/conditions and of course eventually its up to each individual pilot, but 35 is a good general rule. They also cannot be used in all topography. You can get a Grumman S2 or Orion P3 (@1200 gallons) into a lot of canyons you simply cannot get a 747 into.

Lastly, turnaround time matters. They have to land and fill up. It has to be at an airfield that can handle a plane that size ie. runway length. Depending on how far away that is, even at 600 knots you can wait a while between drops. The S2's in particular have more airfields open to them so the chances of being closer to land and fill and be back over the fire is better. If there are large bodies of water nearby, the scoopers are a good tool although I've never been in command of a fire where they were used so I have not personally seen their efficiency. Rotary wing aircraft, especially the type 1 heavy helo's usually give you the lowest cost per gallon delivered and don't need much of a body of water to dip. In fact I have personally seen a type 3 helo, such as a Super Huey with a 180 gallon bucket, dip into a jacuzzi in the backyard of a house we were protecting. Frigging balls of steel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/1/2019 at 7:10 PM, Point Break said:

You are right about the growing fire problem and while no one would turn down the notion of more VLAT's (Very Large Air Tankers) its not as simple as that.

First is cost.....those big ones - LAT's (Large Air Tankers - DC10's etc) and VLAT's - are private companies (as are all the heavy lift large rotary wing assets) who charge the jurisdictional government entity for the use. Under a call when needed contract the VLAT charge is $165K for a three day minimum, $50K a day after that PLUS $16K for every flight hour. That adds up pretty quick. Even now, on a large incident with multiple aircraft assigned it is not unusual to have the ticket for the entire air operations approach or exceed a million dollars a day.

Second, they are not suited for all missions. If you want to paint a ridge with retardant to try to hold or hang a fire on that ridge or put a line down ahead of homes to slow the fire spread till you can get ground crews in to finish it off there is nothing better. A oft mistaken thought is those drops "put out" the fire. Sometimes if you're lucky in certain fuels you get enough penetration and wetting that some of the fire does go out but usually you eventually get burn through of the retardant (too many factors to enumerate here) before you can get the ground crews in on it. Just because you see it darken down on the TV news doesn't mean it stayed darkened down or out. The jury is still out on the use in timber with dense canopies.

Third, they cannot fly under all conditions. I don't remember what the wind speed no-go is for the VLAT's, and it depends a little on the topography they will be dropping in, but our usual cutoff for traditional air operations (S2's, P3's SEATS and rotary) was around 35mph sustained. That's not a hard and fast number and Air Attack will let you know when approaching no-go wind speeds/conditions and of course eventually its up to each individual pilot, but 35 is a good general rule. They also cannot be used in all topography. You can get a Grumman S2 or Orion P3 (@1200 gallons) into a lot of canyons you simply cannot get a 747 into.

Lastly, turnaround time matters. They have to land and fill up. It has to be at an airfield that can handle a plane that size ie. runway length. Depending on how far away that is, even at 600 knots you can wait a while between drops. The S2's in particular have more airfields open to them so the chances of being closer to land and fill and be back over the fire is better. If there are large bodies of water nearby, the scoopers are a good tool although I've never been in command of a fire where they were used so I have not personally seen their efficiency. Rotary wing aircraft, especially the type 1 heavy helo's usually give you the lowest cost per gallon delivered and don't need much of a body of water to dip. In fact I have personally seen a type 3 helo, such as a Super Huey with a 180 gallon bucket, dip into a jacuzzi in the backyard of a house we were protecting. Frigging balls of steel.

It would be something I would give to the military. Give those Air National Guard boys something useful to do. No need to cut current assets. The 747's could be configured with removable tanks and become very useful freighters in times of war. The Army has a lot of big choppers not doing much too.  

 These fires are getting waaaaayyyy out of hand.   

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Mark K said:

It would be something I would give to the military. Give those Air National Guard boys something useful to do. No need to cut current assets. The 747's could be configured with removable tanks and become very useful freighters in times of war. The Army has a lot of big choppers not doing much too.  

 These fires are getting waaaaayyyy out of hand.   

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modular_Airborne_FireFighting_System

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Point Break said:

Yes, it's been done. A C130 has a payload of about 25,000lbs. A 747's is about 190,000lbs. That could get to over 200,000 with partial fuel loading, as the total payload is near 250,000lbs. They wouldn't need to carry enough fuel to fly to China for fire fighting. 

 https://www.cbsnews.com/news/worlds-largest-firefighting-aircraft-grounded-by-u-s-govt/

The problem is making the Forest Service fund these, but if put under the Pentagon's bloated budget they would be almost a rounding error...and could be dual purposed. 

 Just dreaming, of course. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this