Coulson’s L-382G at the grid test

(Last Updated On: May 12, 2015)

Coulson T-132 grid test

Last week Coulson’s Tanker 132, a Lockheed L-382G, went through the grid testing procedure, which involves dropping loads of retardant into a grid of hundreds of cups placed on stakes. Then the amount of retardant in each cup is measured to determine if the pattern across the grid meets the standards of the Interagency AirTanker Board.

An L-382G, also known as an L-100-30,  is a civilian version of a Lockheed C-130, which has been stretched about 15 feet compared to the L-100.

The aircraft will eventually receive a “wrap” that will look like a fancy paint job, similar to the one on T-131.

Coulson T-132 grid test

Coulson T-132 grid test

Coulson T-132 grid test

2 thoughts on “Coulson’s L-382G at the grid test”

  1. Ivan, so it can be seen on the ground from above, enabling pilots to extend a line of retardant around or alongside a fire. If it weren’t colored (like water), it would be impossible to see and much waste would occur (dropping in the same spot or leaving untreated gaps in the line). The red is just a colorant added to the product recipe and has no effectiveness on suppressing fire – you could make it neon yellow if you wanted.

    Different colors – especially blue – have been used in experiments throughout the years, as red is often difficult to see in low or obscured light conditions and when the forest contains many dead conifers. Similarly, ‘fugitive’ color dyes have been added to retardant so that it shows up bright red upon dropping, but fades in the presence of sunlight over a period of several days, leaving little visible trace of the product. That makes the public and certain land agencies happy, but for whatever reason, most fugitive products haven’t had the lasting success as good ol’ regular red retardant.

    You might notice different shades of red with different products used; the primary product in North America at least, is called LC-95A and it’s a standard liquid concentrated blend in the US and Canada. Places such as Australia and some bases in the US use a lot of powdered retardant, which is often more orange in color. It appears that the pics above show a shocking orange powder-based blend, but it that might be a trick of the screen I’m looking on, or enhancement of the original photo.

    Anyway, hope that helps.

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