Thrust reverser falls off DC-10 air tanker while taxiing

Above: part of a thrust reverser that fell off Tanker 911 after landing at Santa Maria. Screenshot from KCOY video.

Part of a thrust reverser fell off a DC-10 air tanker August 25 while it was taxiing after landing at Santa Maria airport (map) in southern California. The aircraft was repaired and is back in service.

Below are excerpts from the SAFECOM:

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“After touchdown and the grounding of nose gear, the #2 engine thrust reverser was deployed with normal indications. All indications were normal during landing rollout. Chief pilot then stowed the #2 reverser and received indication that the #2 reverser was unlocked. Appropriate checklist was performed and engine was shut down. Airtanker Base was notified that the aircraft had a maintenance issue and needed an appropriate place to park. Pilot was then notified by Air Traffic Control that they had “lost a piece of the aircraft on the runway“. The part was immediately removed by airport employees and the aircraft taxied to the Airtanker Base Ramp without further incident.

Corrective Action:

“Regional Aviation Maintenance Inspector {RAMI} was contacted, as well as the Regional Office of the incident. RAMI: arrived SMX at 1930 hours and inspected parts and the aircraft. The company brought in a team and replaced the #2 fan reverser. Findings: company experts concluded that upon the #2 reverser cowl stowing, it somehow bound up at one of the guides and the three brackets that attach the cowl to the deploying jack screws sheared and the cowl departed the reverser. The company did a one time inspection of their fleet to ensure no other problems on their reversers.

RASM Comments: Good coordination with RAMI and company maintenance personnel to understand the cause of the issue. Impact to other airport traffic was minimal with only a brief interruption to retrieve parts of the aircraft that were on the runway. Also good call on the part of the company to inspect other aircraft in the fleet for similar issues. Repairs were made to the incident aircraft and it was RTCA by the RAMI.”

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to John.

Firefighting aircraft at the Range Fire in California

Range Fire air tanker
Air tanker 66 on the Range Fire, August 27, 2016. Photo by Trey Spooner.

We have some excellent photos of aircraft that worked the Range Fire on August 27 six miles east of Arvin, California — thanks to Trey Spooner and the Kern County Fire Department. The fire burned 518 acres and is 100 percent contained.

Kern County’s Helicopter 408, a Bell UH-1H, made 81 water drops at the fire on August 26.

H-408 Range Fire
H-408 on the Range Fire, August 26, 2016. Trey Spooner photo.
Range Fire air tanker
Air tanker 66 on the Range Fire, August 27, 2016. Photo by Trey Spooner.
Range Fire air tanker
Air tanker 12 on the Range Fire, August 27, 2016. Photo by Kern County Fire Department.

Aircraft images

Above: Single engine air tankers T-208 and T-826 at the West Yellowstone, MT airport, August 21, 2016. Photo by Brandon Wolfe.

We’re catching up on email and want to post some photos and videos we have received from our readers.

T-910 Pilot Fire
Air Tanker 910 on the Pilot Fire in southern California earlier this summer. Photo by Brandy Carlos.

These videos were shot by Fred Johnsen. The first one shows Bombardier water-scooping air tankers that were working on the Pioneer Fire in central Idaho refilling their tanks at Deadwood Reservoir about 60 air miles northeast of Boise. It also shows helicopters returning to the helibase at Cascade, Idaho at the end of the day.

In the next video we see a Bombardier air tanker landing at Boise.

Be-200ES strikes tree, lands safely

Be-1200ES wing damage tree strike
This is reportedly damage to the wing of a Be-200ES after striking a tree while fighting a wildfire in Portugal.

A Be-200ES struck a tree August 14 while fighting a fire in Portugal but thankfully was able to land safely at Leiria. The jet-powered amphibious water scooper sustained major damage to a pontoon, the right wing leading edge, and the right side wing flaps. There were no reports of injuries to the crew. Other photos of the damage can be seen here.

Since last week two Be-200ES air tankers have been on loan to Portugal by the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations after a rash of numerous fires in the country and on Madeira Island.

This is not the first time a Russian Be-200 hit a tree in Portugal. A similar accident occurred July 6, 2006 when the aircraft was leased to the Portuguese government as a trial to evaluate its effectiveness. After scooping water on a lake the left wing hit a tree.

From the Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manhã at the time:

…While hitting the top of the trees, leaves and some wood entered the left engine, which didn’t blow up, but that had to be turned off and the pilot was forced to release fuel for safety reasons. The release of the fuel started small wildfires across the area, reaching some houses, which were quickly extinguished by firefighters and helitack units of the GNR’s Intervention, Protection and Rescue Group.

The airplane was able to do an emergency landing at the Monte Real Air Base.

Until this month, Be-200 air tankers had not been used in Portugal since the 2006 incident. Maybe they’ll wait another 10 years before they try again.

Be-200 scooping air tankers reportedly effective working in Portugal

Be-200ES
File photo of a Be-200ES rolling out of the factory.

A Russian news service is reporting that the two Be-200 Russian-made amphibious scooping air tankers have been effective in Portugal. Quoting the Russian Emergencies Ministry, Sputnik News wrote:

“Overall, two Emergencies Ministry aircraft carried out 37 discharges of water, the total mass of which amounted to 444 tonnes, tackling fire in four spots and saving four settlements and two national parks,” the statement reads.

And:

“The Russian Emergencies Ministry’s airgroup, consisting of two Be-200ES aircraft, continues to work on extinguishing large forest fires in Portugal. On August 15, [Russian pilots] extinguished two fires covering a total area of 500 hectares [over 1,200 acres],” the statement reads.

It is possible the effectiveness of the aircraft is exaggerated. Air tankers do not “extinguish” fires. Under ideal conditions they can slow them down, allowing firefighters on the ground to move in closer and put them out.

Photos of USFS Air Tanker 116

Earlier this week we posted a photo that showed a portion of Air Tanker 116. This is one of the seven HC-130H aircraft that are being transferred from the U.S. Coast Guard to the U.S. Forest Service to be converted to air tankers. Now we have four more photos that were taken by Bill Tinney while the aircraft was at Robins Air Logistics Compound in Warner Robins,Georgia. Thanks Bill.

The expectation is that T-116 will be delivered to McClellan Air Field by September 15. Sometime after that it will be operated as an air tanker using one of the eight slip-in MAFFS retardant systems until a permanent retardant delivery system is installed.

USFS air tanker 116 HC-130H

 

USFS air tanker 116 HC-130H USFS air tanker 116 HC-130H

The photo above shows external fuel tanks hanging from the wings. I would be very surprised if the USFS operated the aircraft as an air tanker with the tanks. The HC-130H is designed as a long range search and rescue platform with a 5,000 mile range, longer than the typical C-130. In an air tanker role, fuel is not usually an issue, since it has to continually land to reload with retardant.

Two additional MAFFS aircraft activated

The California Governor’s office has activated two Modular Airborne FireFighting Systems aircraft. The C-130s will be supplied by the Channel Islands Air National Guard base in southern California. Earlier this month the National Interagency Fire Center activated two other MAFFS from the Wyoming Air National Guard at Cheyenne. Initially they were staged at Boise.

Governors have the authority to activate MAFFS aircraft within their states at the three Air National Guard bases that have the units at Channel Islands, Reno, and Cheyenne. The Air Force Reserve MAFFS at Colorado Springs is a different story, however.

The just-activated C-130s were expected to be available Wednesday evening and could be used on the 25,000-acre Blue Cut Fire near San Bernardino.

Video of DC-10 dropping on Chimney Fire

DC-10 Chimney Fire
Screenshot from SLOStringer’s video

@SLOStringer shot an excellent video of Tanker 911, a DC-10, getting down low to make a drop on the Chimney Fire in San Luis Obispo County in California. We can’t embed the Twitter video here, but check it out.