TBT: National Geographic, Fire Bombers 1998

For Throw Back Thursday, let’s take another look at a classic film produced by National Geographic, Fire Bombers 1998. It includes some excellent footage of air tankers in that era, and also has interviews with a number of pilots. Bill Waldman probably gets the most screen time — he’s a good storyteller and seems comfortable in front of the camera.

We did our own interview, sort of, with Mr. Waldman, in 2013 in which we asked him 12 questions.

Below is the National Geographic film.

6 thoughts on “TBT: National Geographic, Fire Bombers 1998”

  1. I remember the video when it came out. Well done. I remember being on the Narrows Fire, pretty typical for the Angeles. Every WFF should see this, describes exactly what air tankers do.
    Remember to roll your sleeves down and wear gloves!

  2. I remember it. I was on the Narrows fire, too. The show keeps referring to fire pilots as adrenaline junkies; there may be some like that, but I’ve never met one. I’d rather stick with “dedicated professionals.” I don’t know anyone in the business who is a thrill-seeker, but if they exist, they won’t last long.

    1. Thank you for your comments, Doug. Part of the image problem of tanker pilots was that the press and those who have worked against tankers have referred to them as “adrenaline junkies” and “cowboys”. Those I’ve known are definitely “dedicated professionals” and take great pride in their work.

  3. Thanks for the revisit. Actually, Bill Waldman chosen as the main “character” of the film, based on feedback that National Geographic got from the industry. I think he did them proud.

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