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Thread: Where Are the Jumbo Water Tankers?

  1. #1
    ...he asked retorically, knowing full well that our state and fed politicos are keeping the DC-10 and 747 tankers from being used on our recent forest fires. Now we've got 4 dead firefighters that may have been prevented by someone merely signing the right documents.
    One of the talking heads says it was because of the winds. BS, the news choppers are all over the place. These tankers are well proven they can be a great aid in these kind of fires...

  2. #2
    im watching the san diego news,they were standing near 3 firefighting helocopters doing the news,cant the use them,its only 20 minutes away by air.No fires down here

  3. #3
    maybe they can take water out of lake piru to get the level down some more

  4. #4
    JB in so cal
    The 747 and DC 10 are still considered "experimental" in that they aren't routinely called out. The fire service tried the dc 10 at the last palm springs fires...$25,000 per hour is tough to swallow, I guess. How many houses could be saved by launching at first report?? Who knows...

  5. #5
    Pheelin Phroggy
    Last we heard was there was a problem with the DC 10 being registered properly with the national forest service, as well as the federal government. They said they would be grounded until this technicality was corrected. Sucks, it flys out of So Cal Logistical Airport out by us and could be there quick style.

  6. #6
    Phrog, you are correct, its paperwork BS. The 747 Tanker is still up in McMinnville, OR at the Evergreen facility. Man, can that baby drop water...

  7. #7
    And a 4 hour minimum.
    The 747 and DC 10 are still considered "experimental" in that they aren't routinely called out. The fire service tried the dc 10 at the last palm springs fires...$25,000 per hour is tough to swallow, I guess. How many houses could be saved by launching at first report?? Who knows...

  8. #8
    Pheelin Phroggy
    We actually saw the DC 10 in action not long ago right behind our house, they grounded it the next day, we live close to deepcreek area and get alot of fires in our "back yard", its a shame, Bruce, your right, this thing drops some serious water and quite possibly could have saved some lives. Just a shame some of those that protect our happy asses had to die.

  9. #9
    i work at the guard base next to point mugu we have c 130s that can put out the fires. the problem is that the private contractors have to try to put out the fire first, eventhough are planes are ready to go. we just started to take off all the markings on are planes. we flew in the canyon country fire about 2 years ago. its all poltics because everybody wants to make money.

  10. #10
    heres a little story about us
    by Staff Sgt. David Bartlett
    Portland, Ore.
    photo by Master Sgt. Val Gempis
    "Ready ... Ready ... DROP!"
    On this intercom command, the co-pilot on the flight deck and the loadmaster in back push separate buttons sending 2,700 gallons of fire retardant shooting through two large tubes poking out the back of the C-130.
    When the red retardant billows out of the aircraft and onto the flame-filled brush and trees below, the huge Hercules jerks in the air, noses up slightly, and turns back to base.
    Chalk up another sortie in the air war against California's wildfires. Who are these aerial firefighters? Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard crews flying C-130s fitted with Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems.
    Two C-130s from the 302nd Airlift Wing's 731st Airlift Squadron at Peterson AFB, Colo., and two from the California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing at Channel Islands, worked throughout August with U.S. Forest Service and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection air tankers and ground crews. Their task: fighting some of northern California's lightning-caused fires, which first lit up the landscape Aug. 11.
    The C-130s arrived Aug. 13 and immediately began flying. "I've been doing this for a long time," said Tech. Sgt. Bob Mitchell, a loadmaster with Peterson AFB's 371st Airlift Squadron. "Every fire you see is different." As one of the first loadmasters trained and certified by U.S. Forest Service fire-fighting specialists, Mitchell has been flying airdrop missions for 10 years.
    "Sometimes when we make a drop, I can actually feel the heat [in the back of the aircraft's cargo bay] from the flames," Mitchell added. "It gets kind of wild when that happens."
    "It's a double reward for the crew members," said Lt. Col. Clyde Doheney, a California Air National Guard C-130 pilot with the 146th Airlift Wing at Channel Islands. "Not only do we get to fight fires right here in our own state - our own backyard - but we get to help out the Forest Service and the ground firefighters as well."
    The MAFFS system, a series of five pressurized tanks and two tubes installed in each aircraft, can hold 25,000 pounds (2,700 gallons) of fire retardant or water. When released from the tanks through the tubes, the resulting spray stream can cover an area approximately 100 feet wide and a quarter-mile long.
    But before the C-130 can make a drop, its counterpart has to show the pilots where the retardant is needed.
    Like some kind of aerial ballet, a lead plane flies over the fire area to show the C-130 exactly where to place the retardant. Then, flying only 100 to 150 feet above the flames, and sometimes lower, the C-130 releases the retardant.
    "The lead plane orients us to the drop area," said Staff Sgt. Rob Beres, a loadmaster with the 731st Airlift Squadron. "Once we get a visual reference, we go in and drop."
    Beres and Mitchell both flew aboard plane No. 5 -- affectionately labeled "Dumpy Old Men." Each of the four MAFFS airplanes has its own name. A giant, orange, single-digit number painted on the tail and fuselage makes identification easy and immediate during missions.
    The retardant is just as easily identified.
    In its wet and ready-to-drop form, retardant looks like tomato juice and feels like slime or mucous. The dry, concentrated retardant is delivered from the contractor in 2,000-pound bags. The chalk-like compound is mixed with water and pumped into a series of 24,000-gallon holding tanks. Underground hoses connect the tanks to a servicing area where ground crews pump the mixture into the airplanes when a mission is ordered.
    From the staging area at Redding Municipal Airport, Reserve and Guard C-130 crews had flown 168 sorties and dropped 529,300 gallons of retardant on five major wildfires in California and Oregon by Aug. 24.
    That same day, fresh, replacement C-130 crew members - -who arrived the day before -- flew missions against a new 200-acre fire at the Hoopa Indian Reservation in Humbolt County, about 120 miles west of Redding. The Air Force crews' efforts focused on the 82,980-acre Fork Fire, which was contained with the help of Army ground crews from Fort Carson, Colo.
    "Most of the fires were started by dry lightning," said Harry Martin, a fire prevention specialist with the Sonoma Lake Napa Ranger Unit. "Dry lightning is a weather phenomenon that happens when thunderstorms fail to yield rain.
    "California had an extremely busy fire season this year," Martin added. "By Aug. 23, we responded to more than 145,000 acres of wildfire, which exceeded the total acreage for last year. And at that point, we were just over halfway through the fire season."
    With continuing help from Guard and Reserve crews and their specially equipped Hercules aircraft, California's forests won't suffer from burnout.
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