Smokejumper aircraft experiences problem during landing

Due to an issue with an engine on the C-23A Sherpa, the crew idled it, but during landing the engine went to takeoff power uncommanded.

Above: photo of the Sherpa’s tire failure from the Rapid Lesson Sharing document.

After an incident on April 13, 2016 while a C-23A Sherpa was transporting smokejumpers on a training mission, the Redmond, Oregon Air Group conducted an After Action Review and wrote a Rapid Lesson Sharing document. Below are excerpts:



On the morning of April 13, 2016, a crew of three experienced captains performed a Smokejumper Mission Check Ride during a practice jump. The Pilot in Command of the C-23A Sherpa retarded the left power lever in preparation for the jump run and the engine did not respond appropriately. The number 1 engine would not reduce to flight idle as commanded.

We elected to discontinue the check ride and return to the airport to land.

The crew reduced the engine RMP power lever back to almost idle and the left engine stabilized at idle. We consulted the emergency checklist and decided to leave the engine running.

During line up for final the crew elected to keep the engine running due to a 90 degree crosswind condition in case a go around was required. On landing the left engine went to take-off power, un-commanded, and aircraft started to depart the runway. During subsequent actions to control the aircraft, brakes were applied and on ground contact the right main tire failed. The pilot in command ordered the left engine shut down and second in command shut the engine down. PIC was able to exit the runway and airplane was shut down on an adjacent taxiway.


After the mission an AAR was conducted between the crew, maintenance, leadership and the participating smokejumpers. The only possible action in hindsight the crew indicated was not bringing the power levers over the gate into ground fine range which may of influenced the rapid RPM increase. The aircraft fuel controller was removed and sent in for overhaul. Disassembly of the fuel unit revealed a small burr on the throttle shaft bushing.

Questions for discussion between crews:

  • When would you declare an abnormal event an emergency and roll the trucks?
  • What situations would you consider it safer for the remaining jumpers to exit the aircraft than return with it?
  • What other abnormal conditions have you encountered that are not in the abnormal procedures (Chapter 4) section and how would you handle them?
  • What discussions need to take place with the guys in the back during occurrence of unplanned events?
  • Discussions on the above topics during ground time can save valuable time in the air when abnormal conditions do occur.

Aircraft on skis

Russian smokejumper aircraft

The Avialesookhrana Instagram account frequently posts photos of Russian smokejumpers. This type of aircraft, now outfitted with skis, appears to be an air tanker and/or a jumper aircraft in the summer.

Google translated the above caption:

avialesookhrana # forest # flame # borbasognem # heroism # paratroopers # paratroopers # Avialesookhrana # lesnoypozhar # Avialesookhrana # Forest # fire # firefighter # smokejumpers # bomberos # Aviation # helicopter # plane # firefighterslife # helicopter # aviation # aviales # extreme # FFA # Media # TV ecology # # # the nature of the profession

Russian air tanker bi-wing

Russia smokejumpers


Through the eyes of a child: Russian Smokejumpers

Авиалесоохрана глазами детей. Рисунок «Помощь с воздуха» Борисовой Маши,14 лет.#лес#лесные_пожарные#пламя#борьбасостихией#героизм#парашютисты#десантники#Авиалесоохрана#леснойпожар#Avialesookhrana#Forest#fire#firefighter#smokejumpers#лесныепожары#bomberos#авиация#firefighterslife#helicopter#aviation#aviales#экстрим#самолет#Рослесхоз#экология#профессия#зеленыелегкиепланеты#сохранимприроду#сохраняялеса_сохраняемРоссию

A photo posted by Федеральная Авиалесоохрана (@avialesookhrana) on

According to Google Translate, the caption reads:

Avialesookhrana the eyes of children. Figure “from the air Help” Borisova Masha, 14

Smokejumpers used in Orange County California

Above: Smokejumpers descend over the Holy Fire August 31, 2016. USFS photo.

(This article first appeared on

Until yesterday smokejumpers had never parachuted into a fire on the Cleveland National Forest. This was the only National Forest in California that had not yet inserted jumpers in this manner. Occasionally jumpers are assigned to a fire but arrive in a conventional manner, on the ground.

They were ordered for the Holy Fire just off Trabuco Creek Road 2.2 miles east of the city of Robinson Ranch in Orange County, California. The fire burned 155 acres between the road and the Bell View Trail at the top of the ridge above Trabuco Canyon. The fire ran to the top of the north-facing slope and stopped thanks to the efforts of firefighters on the ground, the change in topography and fuels, and the heavy use of helicopters and air tankers, including a DC-10.

Map Holy Fire
Map of the Holy Fire at 8 p.m. PDT August 31, 2016. Click to enlarge.

The Cleveland National Forest stretches between the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area and the outskirts of San Diego.

map Holy fire 3-d
3-D map of the Holy Fire at 8 p.m. PDT August 31, 2016. Click to enlarge.

Jason Foreman with the Redding Smokejumpers said the 16 jumpers were dispatched from Redding and Porterville using a U.S. Forest Service Sherpa and a contract Dornier aircraft, each with 8 firefighters. The arrival of the Dornier out of Porterville was delayed due to the very busy air space in southern California. The jumpers from Porterville landed on the ground at approximately 6:30 p.m. PDT, while the Redding squad all completed their jumps by 7:50 p.m Wednesday, Mr. Foreman said.

Four firefighters suffered heat-related injuries and were extracted by helicopters. The fire was managed in a unified command with the U.S. Forest Service and the Orange County Fire Authority.

Access to the base of the fire was via Trabuco Creek Road. A 3-mile hike from Robinson Ranch on the Bell Ridge Trail would take you to the top of the fire. The terrain at the fire is very steep. Hikers on the trail would have a 1,500-foot elevation change — up.

Parachute canopies Holy Fire
Parachute canopies are visible near the Bell View Trail at the Holy Fire. USFS photo.

Russian smokejumpers appear to fly in formation at sunset

Google attempted to translate the caption:

Practice jumping parachutist-firefighters Avialesookhrana. Photo Valery Korotkov, 2002

USFS Twin Otters refreshed for 2016

Above: N143Z, better known as Jump 43, showing off a new paint job at McCall, Idaho, April 18, 2016. Photo by Stuart Palley.

Yesterday Stuart Palley spotted two U.S. Forest Service Twin Otter smokejumper planes at the McCall, Idaho jumper base, N141Z and N143Z. They were sporting new paint jobs but that was not all that was new. Jennifer Jones, a spokesperson for the USFS, told us that over the last two years they have received new nose gears, nose wheel steering actuators, fuel bladder tanks, fuel pumps, and floor boards.

Annually, the U.S. Forest Service Intermountain Region mechanics go over each aircraft and make sure that they are prepared, equipped, and ready for the upcoming fire season.

Dehavilland DHC-6-300 Twin Otters were manufactured in 1974 and 1984. Even though the USFS has acquired a bunch of military surplus C-23B Sherpas for smokejumping and other purposes, they plan to hang on to a couple of the Twin Otters. One of the reasons is they have better performance at higher elevation airports.

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