Air tankers at Fresno

air tankers at Fresno 9-1-2015

MAFFS 1 (with a non-standard yellow number) and MAFFS 5, at Fresno, September 1, 2015.

Mathew Kirkpatrick took these photos at Fresno Air Attack Base on September 1. Thanks Mathew!

(Click on the photos to see larger versions.)

air tankers at Fresno 9-1-2015

Tanker 45, MAFFS 4, another MAFFS, and some single engine air tankers at Fresno, September 1, 2015.


Interview with Jim Fournier, air tanker pilot

Jim Fournier of New Frontier Aviation flies a Dromader single engine air tanker (SEAT) for the state of South Dakota. On September 1, 2015 we caught up with him at the SEAT base in Hot Springs a couple of hours after he dropped a load of retardant on the Bitter Creek Fire which enabled the firefighters on the ground to tie in the last piece of open fireline, stopping it at 87 acres. Tanker 455 put one 550-gallon load on the fire, split into two drops.

Bitter Creek Fire

Bitter Creek Fire. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

T-455 Bitter Creek Fire

Tanker 455 orbits, sizing up the Bitter Creek fire. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

T-455 Bitter Creek Fire

Tanker 455 descending on final to make a drop on the Bitter Creek Fire. Photo by Bill Gabbert..

T-455 Bitter Creek Fire

Tanker 455 completing a drop on the Bitter Creek Fire. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

T-455, Dromader

Tanker 455, a Dromader. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

T-455, Dromader

Jim Fournier with Tanker 455, a Dromader. Photo by Bill Gabbert.


Ride with a SEAT pilot on the Windy Ridge Fire

Fred Johnson of AirRailImages sent us a link to this video that captures images through the windshield and audio from the radios as a Single Engine Air Tanker prepares to drop retardant on the Windy Ridge Fire. The Cornet/Windy Ridge Fire, four miles west of Durkee, Oregon, has burned over 102,000 acres of BLM and Oregon Department of Forestry protected private lands. The fire was turned back over to local units on August 26, probably as a result of this successful SEAT drop.  😉

And below is a unique viewpoint of a crew at Ontario, Oregon loading retardant into a seat. The video is from Aug. 14, 2015, by Larry Moore, BLM Vale.


Aeronca Firebomber

The video was published on YouTube by Alan Miller September 29, 2014, with this description:

Aeronca Firebomber
MAKAKILO FIRE is over I hope. I have watched the HFD, HPD and contract helo pilots doing a great job fighting that fire since Friday. But my dad and I noticed yesterday that they had stopped flying, and it appeared the flames and smoke were taking off again. So we decided to go “redneck simple” on the fire, hopped in the Champ with 65 mighty horsepower and a two gallon pail. Hawaii General Aviation taking care of business as GA always does, making the world a safer, better place. Enjoy another 9 second video from Hawaii Stick and Rudder. Anybody looked on that hill today, the fire appears to be done?? I am pretty sure our huge load of water was the last drop on that fire, just saying.


More information about Aeroncas.


Unmanned aircraft system goes on test flight over Paradise fire

The National Park Service announced on its Facebook page on Friday than an unmanned aircraft system, otherwise known as a drone, took a test flight over the Paradise fire at Olympic National Park to gather infrared data.

Here’s the park’s statement from the Facebook page: 


An operational test of UAS on the Paradise fire at Olympic National Park took place recently. Learn more about the purpose of the flights and check out the footage.

Unmanned Aircraft System was a Success on the Paradise Fire

For the past week an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) was utilized on the Paradise Fire. The system was demonstrating possible applications in wildland fire management and suppression. UAS’s can supplement manned aircraft, especially at times of reduced visibility due to smoky conditions and at night when manned firefighting aircraft may be limited in flying.

The primary goal of the UAS on the Paradise Fire was to gather infrared information. This information assisted fire officials in pinpointing the fires perimeter and identifying areas of intense heat. The extremely large old growth trees in the area of the Paradise Fire create a thick canopy that makes mapping the perimeter and observing hotspots from the air very difficult without infrared capabilities.

This was an operational demonstration provided by Insitu, Inc. with no direct cost to the government. The demonstration was one of a series of ongoing missions to further UAS use on wildland fire in national parks and is part of an interagency strategy for UAS integration into wildland fire support. The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) allowed the use of their land for the aircraft launch and recovery site. The purpose of the demonstration was to show the capabilities and effectiveness of unmanned aircraft technology on wildland fires. The ultimate goal for UAS use on wildland fire is to supply incident management teams (IMT) with real-time data products, and information regarding fire size and growth, fire behavior, fuels, and areas of heat concentration. Additional applications, such as search and rescue and animal surveys, may be explored.

As the fire season continues and more wildfires burn throughout the west, manned aviation resources are spread thin across the country and have become very difficult to acquire. In addition to supplementing aerial resources, UAS’s are quieter than manned aircraft, use less fuel, and present a much lower risk to employees.

This was not the first UAS to be flown in the Olympic National Park. The park partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey in 2012 to monitor sediment transport in the Elwha River as part of the Elwha restoration project using a Raven UAS.

The ScanEagle UAS that was flown on the Paradise Fire weighed approximately 50 lbs with a wingspan of 10.2 feet. The UAS was only operated within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) temporary flight restriction (TFR) area. The TFR has been lifted.


Aerial attack on the Country Club Fire in northern California

The description from YouTube:

On August 16, Cindy spotted a fire on our property in the Feather River Canyon. It had just gotten started, was centered only a 125 yards south of us and 150 yards down into the canyon. CDF responded with multiple bombers, choppers, 15 fire trucks and 4 fire crews. They hit it hard and fast, yet took until almost sunset to suppress. Inmate fire crews worked on it all night. Wow. Hope you enjoy the video, eat your heart out Top Gun, wait till you see these fliers.

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