Here is a rare photo of the two DC-10 Very Large Air Tankers on a fire assignment at the same place at the same time — Pueblo, Colorado. They were not as busy Wednesday as they have been recently, which could be a result of the milder, more humid weather which led to less intense fire behavior for the last day or two.
The video shows MAFFS 4, a C-130 from from Channel Islands Air National Guard, dropping on the Papoose Fire, part of the West Fork Complex of fires in Colorado, June 24, 2013.
The next video has a surreal view of the shadow of MAFFS 4 dropping. A screen capture of that scene is below, followed by the video.
Thanks go out to Tristan
The image above depicts what Coulson’s C-130Q, Air Tanker 131, should look like when it first appears over a wildfire, which is scheduled to happen in early August. The inspections and maintenance are nearing completion, the engines and props have been reinstalled, the tank is installed, most of the painting is complete, and the wrap shown above will be applied in the middle or end of July. Britt Coulson told us today that they expect to start doing run-ups the first week of July. He said they expect to be ready for their contract-specified Mandatory Availability Period which begins August 1.
The two C-130 MAFFS air tankers operated by the California Air National Guard’s 146 Airlift Wing have been activated and should be in Colorado Springs Saturday or Sunday.
Today the two MAFFS from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs were dropping on the East Peak, Collins, and West Fork Fires, working out of Jefferson County airport near Denver and Peterson at Colorado Springs. As of June 20, these two aircraft had made 27 drops totaling 68,000 gallons of retardant since they were activated June 12 when the Black Forest Fire was burning, an average of 2,518 gallons per drop.
You may not have heard of Vine. It’s a new social media/networking site that allows you to upload six-second videos, which then keep repeating, forever I guess. That’s about all I know about it. But check out this video of one of the DC-10 air tankers taking off at Mesa Gateway en route to the Doce Fire, which grew from zero to 5,000 acres Tuesday afternoon. When you go to the site you may have to click on the image to start the video.
That video and this one showing Tanker 910 taxiing at Mesa Gateway were shot by Jason Volentine, of KTVK 3TV News in Phoenix, AZ.
Both DC-10s were working the Doce Fire today out of Mesa Gateway. That must have kept the workers at the tanker base busy.
More information about the the Doce Fire is at Wildfire Today.
Since the Evergreen 747 Supertanker may be coming back into our lives it might be a good time to refresh our memories of what it can do with 20,000 gallons.
These two photos was taken by a firefighter in Mexico in 2011. (UPDATE: Walt said in a comment June 20 the two photos below are from an “unpressurized ‘clean out’ (jettison)”. Videos of T979 dropping on fires show appropriate drop altitudes. One of the pilots on the clean-out jettison was a highly regarded 16-year initial attack airtanker pilot that would have mutinied if a drop on a fire was done at that AGL altitude.”)
The first video, below, is a KABC-TV News segment from May 31st, 2006 covering the 747 Supertanker demo in San Bernardino, CA. The video also includes some stock footage of the aircraft dropping during the Interagency AirTanker Board tests.
The second video below shows the 747 dropping water at Central Ciudad Real in Spain, July 21, 2009.
And next we have the 747 dropping on the Crown Fire at Anaverde, which I believe is near Palmdale, California, July 31, 2010.
And finally, below, a water dropping demo at McClellan in California, June 11, 2009.
We will classify this as Breaking News. Evergreen has not had a Call When Needed (CWN) contract for their 20,000-gallon 747 Supertanker for a while, but they will get a new three-year CWN contract beginning July 1, 2013.
When the company had a CWN contract before, the aircraft was very rarely used, making it difficult for the company to justify maintaining the ship and the flight crew in a ready to go state. It will be interesting to see if it sits, or actually drops retardant on fires.
Maybe the U.S. Forest Service, the agency that awarded the contract, is looking for a stop-gap, to fill the void until the all seven “next generation” air tankers that recently received exclusive use contracts become fully certified. Only one of the seven is, the DC-10.
The CWN contract for 10 Tanker’s second DC-10, Tanker 910, will also be renewed for three years on July 1. It was activated Friday morning and flew to Albuquerque.
The other DC-10, Tanker 911, recently got a five-year exclusive use contract. It has been busy for the last two weeks dropping on fires in California, New Mexico, and Colorado
(UPDATE June 15, 2013)
Thanks to John, we have the numbers in the contracts:
- Evergreen 747 – Daily Rate $75,000 + Flight Rate $12,000
- 10 Tanker DC-10 – Daily Rate $51,522 + Flight Rate $7,668
(UPDATE at 2:25 p.m. MT, June 17, 2013)
I was wondering why the contract for the 747 does not start until July 1. Today I found on an aircraft forum what might be the answer — in February, 2012, the Supertanker was photographed in the desert missing two engines.
A second DC-10 air tanker has been activated. 10 Tanker Air Carrier received a call Thursday night asking the company to have Tanker 910 in Albuquerque by noon on Friday. It is scheduled to depart Southern California Logistics Airport (KVCV) at 10:00AM MDT and should arrive at Albuquerque at about 11:10 MDT.
The company’s other DC-10, Tanker 911, began working on a five-year exclusive use contract two weeks ago and in recent days has been dropping on fires in California, New Mexico, and Colorado. Wednesday and Thursday it assisted firefighters on the Royal Gorge and Black Forest Fires and was reloading at Pueblo, Colorado. Tanker 910 is working on a Call When Needed contract.
During one period last year both of the DC-10s were active at the same time, working for a while out of McClellan airport near Sacramento, California, and Boise, Idaho.
Tanker 910 visited Rapid City and other locations in April. Photos of the Rapid City visit are at Wildfire Today.
Both DC-10s, classified as Very Large Air Tankers, always carry 11,600 gallons of fire retardant, while most large Large Air Tankers carry between 2,000 and 3,000 gallons.