A helicopter made a crash landing into a river Friday while recertifying for water bucket operations near Missoula, Montana. The Missoulian, which has a photo of the Bell 206L-3 sitting upright in three feet of water, reported that it crashed into the Clark Fork River off Big Flat Road west of Missoula. (Another photo.) The article said the pilot, who reported a mechanical failure, and a passenger both survived the crash. The passenger got to shore on his own, while rescuers got the pilot out of the ship and to safety.
The N number on the helicopter is under water and not visible in the photo but the Missoulian article said the helicopter is owned by a Lewiston, Idaho company.
The helicopter sitting in the river has a paint job similar to those at Hillcrest Aviation, based in Lewiston, Idaho.
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 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.
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.
The Colorado Army National Guard supplied a UH-72 Lakota helicopter at the Black Forest Fire near Colorado Springs. The ship was parked at the baseball field adjacent to Pine Creek School and was used for recon on the fire.
The Lakota is a militarized version of the Eurocopter EC145. EASDS North America, which manufactures it in Columbus, Mississippi, says 267 have been built.
According to Wikipedia, it has a useful load of 3,953 pounds and can carry 8 troops. I am not aware of any being used to drop water on fires, but if the “useful load” figure is accurate that would translate to around 400 gallons of water and a Bambi Bucket, if it is capable of carrying an external load.
Other military helicopters were also used on the Black Forest Fire, including two UH60s and two CH47s, from Ft. Carson and the Colorado Army National Guard. Below is a photo taken from one of those aircraft.