British Columbia TV station CJDC produced this story at Fort St. John, British Columbia featuring a Bird Dog (aka lead plane) and one of Air Spray’s L-188 air tankers.
(UPDATED at 12:08 p.m. MDT, May 4, 2016)
The practice drop by the 747 Supertanker occurred as planned this morning. After takeoff from the Colorado Springs Airport the aircraft followed a very detailed route specified by the FAA and made one dry run. After that it circled around and made a water drop between a runway and a taxiway. The FAA restricted them to half a load, only allowing them to drop about 9,800 gallons.
(Originally published at 10:21 a.m. MDT, May 4, 2016)
The 747 SuperTanker will be making a dry, low pass and after that a practice water drop at the Colorado Springs airport Wednesday morning, approximately between 10:45 and noon.
It has been years since most people have seen a P3 air tanker, on the ground OR in the air. Today one of the P3s that has been stored at McClellan Air Field for several years made a demonstration pass over the airport as part of the Aerial Firefighting conference. Check out the video below.
MAFFS LLC owns the six remaining P3’s that were formerly operated by Aero Union. Two years ago at the Aerial Firefighting Conference at McClellan I took a photo of Ronald Guy of United Aeronautical shaking hands with Joe McBryan of Buffalo Airways shortly after Mr. McBryan purchased Tanker 22. Yesterday Mr. McBryan told me that I might get a chance to take another similar photo. He is negotiating with MAFFS LLC, the company now marketing the P3s, to buy more — perhaps more than one, Mr. McBryan said.
The P3 they purchased in 2014 is currently being worked on in Florida. Buffalo Airways expects it to live on an as air tanker.
Erickson Aircrane made a demonstration video to show what would happen if the entire load of 2,500 gallons of water was dropped in a salvo on a car.
Don’t try this at home.
A few years back we made a training #video for dropping #water on #wildfire. Here's a few clips of a "salvo," where the whole #helitank's contents more than 2,500 gallons – is dumped in one go. It is a rarely used maneuver, and this video shows why. Thanks again to @crater_lake_ford for letting us smash one of their #cars. // #testedandtrusted #EricksonAircrane #firefighting #EricksonInc #instaheli #avgeek #ford #donttrythisathome
Stymied by contracting regulations in the United States, Erickson’s Aircrane helicopters are still loved down under.
Above: An Aircrane reloads with retardant while fighting the Beaver Fire northwest of Yreka, California, August 12, 2014. Photo by Bill Gabbert.
Erickson’s Australian partner Kestrel Aviation signed up for a third S64E Aircrane helicopter to support firefighting efforts in Victoria state. Erickson has six Aircranes currently working in Australia.
“We are proud to help protect the lives and homes of Victoria’s residents during the peak of their fire season,” said Andy Mills, Erickson v-p of commercial aviation services. “Our crews have already been busy fighting fires in Western Australia and New South Wales.”
The third Aircrane, previously stationed in Sydney, New South Wales to fight fires, has been reassigned to Mangalore, Victoria where it remains available as required for the remainder of the fire season.
Erickson has also been contracted in support of the initial phases of NASA’s 3rd Generation Mid-Air Retrieval Project focused on mid-air retrieval of NASA spacecraft re-entering the atmosphere. Erickson is contracted to study the concept of operations for proposed NASA missions that employ mid-air retrieval using a single S-64F Aircrane helicopter.
As the bushfire season winds down in Australia the large and very large air tankers are beginning to migrate back north to North America to prepare for the fire season back home. The DC-10, Tanker 910, arrived at Albuquerque at 8 p.m. Friday night after flying over 8,500 miles from Melbourne, stopping in Pago Pago and Honolulu on the way.
Two of the DC-10s will be on exclusive use contracts with the U.S. Forest Service this summer; one starts in late April and another in early May.
Conair’s Tanker 162 (an RJ85) and Coulson’s two C-130s (T-131 and T-132) are expected to depart around March 1. Britt Coulson said their two S-61 helicopters (photos) have both been extended for another week and a half and may get extensions beyond that if it continues to be hot.
One of our readers alerted us to the photo below that was taken February 28 when Tanker 910 stopped in Hawaii on the way back from Melbourne.
— tous les airs y sont (@hydra_66) February 28, 2016
Above: Conair’s Tanker 162, an RJ85 at Avalon Airport, Victoria, Australia.
The Country Fire Authority currently has one very large and three large air tankers on contract during their summer bushfire season working out of Avalon Airport near Melbourne, Australia (map). The down under fire season will likely be winding down soon and the aircraft will migrate back to North America.
In recent weeks the air tankers were deployed across the Bass Strait to Tasmania. This may have been the first time large aerial firefighting assets were used in the state. The Fire Service felt it was necessary to warn the residents to “not be alarmed” when they saw the air tankers “flying a bit low over the coast”.
Photos provided by the Country Fire Authority, Victoria.