12 Questions for Bill Waldman

This is the seventh in a series of articles on FireAviation.com featuring aerial firefighters answering 12 questions about their profession. We hope to get participation from senior pilots, as well as Air Operations Branch Directors, Air Tactical Group Supervisors, and others that have worked closely with fire aviation. Our objective is to not only provide our readers with interesting articles, but these very experienced aerial firefighters may also reveal a few gems of information that could prove to be valuable to those considering or just beginning a career in fire aviation. If you have a suggestion of someone who would be a good candidate for these questions, drop us a line through our Contact Us page. And their contact information would be appreciated.

Today we hear from Bill Waldman who retired as a P-3 air tanker pilot.

****

Who is one of the more memorable aerial firefighters you have known? And why?
In 4 decades, there were many people that I worked with. I can’t list them all, might forget somebody. The great tanker pilots I knew or still know all believed they were firefighters and the aircraft and pilot skills were their tools. The great lead plane pilots knew how to fight fire, knew how I flew and I trusted them. The best air attack officers knew how to fight fire, didn’t try to con you into unsafe drops, and knew when to call off air ops.

Bill Waldman
Bill Waldman

One piece of advice you would give to someone before their first assignment working on a fire?
If you don’t know what you are doing, find somebody who does know.

Besides the obvious (funding), what is the number one thing government Fire and Aviation should focus on?
Getting people in the upper Fire & Aviation Management who recognize trees, smoke and aircraft. Few, now at the top, seem to meet these minimum qualifications.

One suggestion you have for ground-based firefighters about fire suppression tactics, or working with aircraft?
When working on a fire with tankers, be alert. Due to bad communications or misunderstood directions, you could get a drop when you least expect it.

One thing that you know now that you wish you had known early in your career?
During 40 years flying tankers I was always learning. Since I got my first initial attack card with only around 900 hours total time I had a lot to learn.

Which two aircraft manufactured within the last 20 years would make the best air tankers?
Nothing built in the last 20 years can equal the P-3. I would like to be proved wrong.

Bill Waldman, P3 dropList the aircraft you have flown, or flown in, on fires. Which is your favorite, and why?
B-17, B-26, C-119, DC-4, P2V, P-3. The P-3 is the best all-around tanker platform.

The funniest thing you have seen in aerial firefighting?
This incident happened on standby in Silver City 20 years ago. No names will be mentioned to protect the guilty. Alongside the tool repair shop was a platform of plywood over pallets. There was a shade cover over the area. People sat on the platform finishing tool handles and painting the steel. You could also hear new lies, oops stories you hadn’t heard before, and you could get a free haircut. The problem that arose was caused by the local skunks that set up housekeeping in the pallets. The skunks were prolific and there were at least 2 dozen in residence. It was decided that it was time for eviction. So started “The Great Silver city Skunk Hunt.” The plan was to lift the north edge of the pallets with a fork lift and then unleash a 1-1/2” fire hose to flush out the striped enemy. Waiting on the south side was a group of variously armed hunters. This motley crew consisted of a proficient bow hunter with a quiver full of deadly arrows and a tall skinny guy who looked something like the rake with which he was armed. The others, fearing a scented charge, were armed from 22 cal to 357 mag. Things went as planned until the enemy returned fire. The man with the rake was holding his own in close combat and the target skunk was being fatally raked. The bow hunter took a direct hit from his opponent and dropped his bow while barfing in the bushes. The gun toters decided that long-range was prudent and their skunks got a good head start. The gunfire faded down the road and over the plains to the south. The hunt was an unqualified success. Few skunks were buried. However, the terrified remnant has taken up residence in northern Mexico and have not been seen again at the tanker base.

How many hours have you spent in firefighting aircraft?
Approximately 8,800

Your favorite book about fire, firefighting, or aerial firefighting?
Young Men and Fire

The first job you had in aerial firefighting?
Co-pilot, B-17, Tanker-19, Redding, CA, 1969

What gadgets, electronic or other type, can’t you live without?
When I started in the tankers there were no ATM’s. You carried a lot of cash and on long trips you tried to cash checks at local banks. The advent of bank cards and ATM’s ended the problem. The bank card – never leave home without it.

12 Questions for Gordon Harris

This is the sixth in a series of articles on FireAviation.com featuring aerial firefighters answering 12 questions about their profession. We hope to get participation from senior pilots, as well as Air Operations Branch Directors, Air Tactical Group Supervisors, and others that have worked closely with fire aviation. Our objective is to not only provide our readers with interesting articles, but these very experienced aerial firefighters may also reveal a few gems of information that could prove to be valuable to those considering or just beginning a career in fire aviation. If you have a suggestion of someone who would be a good candidate for these questions, drop us a line through our Contact Us page. And their contact information would be appreciated.

Today we hear from Gordon Harris. After being a smokejumper, his first job as an aerial firefighting pilot was flying Volpars on a Bureau of Land Management smokejumper aircraft contract in Alaska. After that he began flying the U.S. Forest Service Infrared aircraft and serving as a Relief Smokejumper Pilot. Later he became the Chief Pilot for Infrared Flight Operations and after that the National Aviation Officer for the USFS. He was also a member of the Smokejumper Aircraft Screening and Evaluation Board. When Gordon retired in 2007 from the U.S. Forest Service he was the National Smokejumper Program Manager and the Air Tactical Supervisors Coordinator.

In a later article Gordon will describe for us a harrowing incident in a smokejumper aircraft, a Shorts Sherpa, when it was descending flat at about 5,000 fpm with virtually no indicated airspeed.

****

Gordon Harris
Gordon Harris, with the Sabreliner Infrared aircraft.

Who is one of the more memorable aerial firefighters you have known? And why?
Nels Jensen – One of the most totally “involved” leaders and enthusiastic people I’ve known with the advantage of being a highly skilled pilot and firefighter.

One piece of advice you would give to someone before their first assignment working on a fire?
Do not let any perceived sense of “urgency or emergency” over-ride the facts of Safety, protocol, procedure and most of all – Common Sense. “Use your Checklist”.

Besides the obvious (funding), what is the number one thing government Fire and Aviation should focus on?
Tough one! Safety is the standard answer probably, but I think effective use of resources is really foremost – on the ground side, when night ground firefighting was curtailed or greatly reduced, it seems to me that fires started getting bigger, more destructive and more dangerous. On the aerial side, the big safety push for grounding airtankers for airworthiness issues eliminated a lot of resources for the aerial aspect and as a result put immensely more pressure on the remaining resources. I’m not convinced these moves improved safety at all.

One suggestion you have for ground-based firefighters about fire suppression tactics, or working with aircraft?
Don’t call for aerial resources if you don’t really need them – use them effectively if you do.

One thing that you know now that you wish you had known early in your career?
Just because a job pays better or looks like a great career move, does not necessarily mean it is the right job at the right time for you. Make sure you develop your career in a logical manner! Take things slow when moving up the career ladder.

Which two aircraft manufactured within the last 20 years would make the best air tankers?
I do not have a well formed opinion on this, although I always thought the BAE-146 looked like a likely candidate and have not heard anything on how that project went. I also always thought the P3 was one of the best ones out there.

List the aircraft you have flown, or flown in, on fires. Which is your favorite, and why?

  1. Beech Volpar Turboliner
  2. King Air B200
  3. Merlin II
  4. Baron 58P
  5. Cessna Citation
  6. Sabreliner 80
  7. Shorts Sherpa
  8. Dehavilands Twin Otter
  9. Caribou
  10. DC-3
  11. DC-3TP
  12. Pilatus Turbo-Porter

Of the aircraft listed, I was pilot in command on the first 8 listed and was a smokejumper in the others (except DC3-TP which I flew as co-pilot and gave smokejumper captain check rides in)

My favorite to fly and “best tool for the job” are two different things. I loved flying the Volpar, Shorts Sherpa, Sabreliner and Merlin the most. Best tools are different – and there again, variations.

If I had to single out one airplane as “most suitable” for multi-missions, probably the Beechcraft King Air 200 for being “user friendly” and good performance.

Each airplane had its “best aspects” and “not so good” for different mission profiles, not really a one-size fits all. I could write more on each airplane and which specific mission profile I thought each was best at or why I like it/dislike it but I think that is probably outside the scope of this survey.

The funniest thing you have seen in aerial firefighting?
Flying from Missoula to McCall one day in a Cessna 206, Nels Jensen and I could see an airtanker ahead of us flying very slow and doing S turns. We caught up with it, followed awhile, Nels recognized the plane and knew who was flying (not to mention names, he was the son of an Airtanker company owner). Finally Nels keyed the mic and said (calling the pilot by name), and so what do you think you’re doing, aren’t you suppose to “reload and return”, like today sometime? Maybe you should push the throttles up a little and fly a straight line! All the other pilot said was “oh damn, you are everywhere Nels”, and then bumped it up about 30 knots and managed to fly straight. He was “milking the Hobbs meter”.

How many hours have you spent in firefighting aircraft?
Rough estimate is 3,500-4,000 hours.

Your favorite book about fire, firefighting, or aerial firefighting?
Young Men and Fire

The first job you had in aerial firefighting?
From 1969-1972, then first pilot job flying as aerial firefighter was flying a Volpar Turboliner on a smokejumper contract for BLM Alaska. That year (1980) I got to bring the first contingent of BLM Smokejumpers to Grand Junction, CO when they started developing the Great Basin Smokejumper Program. Became full-time USFS Infrared Pilot (Merlin II and King Air 200) and relief Smokejumper pilot (Twin Otter) in 1987 at Boise.

What gadgets, electronic or other type, can’t you live without?
GPS is sure nice.

12 Questions for Hugh Carson

This is the sixth in our series of articles on FireAviation.com featuring aerial firefighters answering 12 questions about their profession. We hope to get participation from senior pilots, as well as Air Operations Branch Directors, Air Tactical Group Supervisors, and others that have worked closely with fire aviation. Our objective is to not only provide our readers with interesting articles, but these very experienced aerial firefighters may also reveal a few gems of information that could prove to be valuable to those considering or just beginning a career in fire aviation. If you have a suggestion of someone who would be a good candidate for these questions, drop us a line through our Contact Us page. And their contact information would be appreciated.

Today we hear from Hugh Carson, an Air Operations Branch Director. He served as the Bureau of Land Management’s State Aviation Manager for Utah and Nevada, later becoming the Aviation Training Developer for the BLM at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

****

Hugh Carson
Hugh Carson

Who is one of the more memorable aerial firefighters you have known? And why?
I’m with Walt Darran, it’s gotta’ be Don Ornbaum, whom I had as PIC for the Stead contract my first year as a State Aviation Manager for the BLM in Nevada. One of the smartest, crustiest, most humorous guys I’ve ever run into. I sure wish we’d followed up on that airtanker pilot oral history project – Don would have had a lead role, for sure. But Don also had a co-pilot named Wally Griffin, whom I hired the next year as the Nevada OV-10 pilot ‘til he absconded north to be the AFS Aviation Manager.

One piece of advice you would give to someone before their first assignment working on a fire?
Review situation awareness cues and LCES. It all comes down to that in staying alive.

Besides the obvious (funding), what is the number one thing government Fire and Aviation should focus on?
Being open to “new” technology and platforms that, outside of the feds, are becoming ubiquitous. I would put Unstaffed Aerial Vehicles at the head of this list, followed by the use of the CL-415 as a primary airtanker. And we should not spend 5 years studying aircraft and systems whose use is a no-brainer. If the feds don’t understand the train is leaving the station, the states and municipalities will leave the feds in the dust.

One suggestion you have for ground-based firefighters about fire suppression tactics, or working with aircraft?
Fire suppression: Measured, slow, and aware. Aircraft: Get with the helitackers and ATGS/ASMs early, one on one. Ask questions, do some what ifs. The more ground folks understand aviation, the less friction we have, and the easier it is to develop synergy.

One thing that you know now that you wish you had known early in your career?
Active listening.

Which two aircraft manufactured within the last 20 years would make the best air tankers?
CL-415, and an un-built one for which we should have obtained funding 20 years ago. An airtanker specifically built for the environment. Still a dream.

List the aircraft you have flown, or flown in, on fires. Which is your favorite, and why?
Lama [helicopter]. Power.

The funniest thing you have seen in aerial firefighting?
This not something I saw, but rather something that happened. Happy Camp, ’87. Team is anticipating aerial firing with PSD potassium permanganate ping pong balls. Carson orders 30,000 PSD Unit on Equipment order but the balls have to go on a Supply Order. Despite specific cross-referencing of the orders, sure enough, 2 days later someone said that a Ryder truck was outside with my ping pong balls. The driver opens the back gate and . . . and . . . there they were. 30,000 regular ping pong balls, though minus paddles and tables. The buzz on this had pretty much calmed down, but this should give it some more legs.

How many hours have you spent in firefighting aircraft?
1000

Your favorite book about fire, firefighting, or aerial firefighting?

The first job you had in aerial firefighting?
AD-1 Helitack Crewmember, 1970, Glenallen, AK.

What gadgets, electronic or other type, can’t you live without?
Since I’m a DJ on community radio, it’s my 2 Tb External Drive with 28,000 songs on it.

Grand Canyon helicopter makes cover of FAA handbook

Grand Canyon ship, FAA helicopter handbook
Grand Canyon ship, FAA helicopter handbook

According to the National Park Service’s Facebook page, the Grand Canyon National Park Helicopter made the cover of the FAA’s Helicopter Flying Handbook.

It is interesting that the FAA Photoshopped-off the N-number and other identification. Below is an NPS photo of the ship taken from Grand Canyon’s brochure for their Helicopter Training Academy.

Grand Canyon NP helicopter
Grand Canyon NP helicopter

The US Forest Service removed the identification from the P2V in the photo below which is on their Air Tanker contract web page, and was also on their 2011 Air Tanker Contract:

P2V without identification

Caylym continues to develop containers for dropping retardant

Caylym system
Caylym system dispersing a liquid after exiting an aircraft. Screen grab from Caylym video.

Since Wildfire Today last covered their disposable container for delivering retardant over wildfires,the Caylym company has continued to develop and promote their concept. The system consists of containers constructed of cardboard, plywood, a plastic bladder, and dozens of yards of straps. They hold 264 gallons each and are designed to be carried in military aircraft such as the C-130 or C-27 using the standard cargo system. The containers when empty weigh 100 pounds.

Caylym system exiting an aircraft
Caylym system containers exiting an aircraft. Screen grab from Caylym video.

After they leave the aircraft the container lids, attached by four straps, separate, and act like a parachute. The straps then put pressure on the plastic bladders, ripping them open, allowing the liquid to be dispersed. The 100 pounds of the other components, the plywood, and cardboard, fall to the ground tethered by the nylon straps. The plastic bladder, hopefully empty, falls separately.

The company says 16 units fit inside a C-130. We estimate that each one weighs 2,212 pounds, and 16 of them would hold 4,224 gallons for a total weight of 35,392 pounds. They claim a C-27J can carry 6 units, which would be 1,584 gallons with an estimated weight of 13,272 pounds. A C-130 with a Modular Airborne FireFighting Systems (MAFFS) usually carries 2,200 to 3,000 gallons of retardant, depending on the density altitude and the amount of fuel on board. Last summer the MAFFS were dropping an average of 2,394 gallons per flight.

In November the Romanian Air Force tested the Caylym system using a C-27J Spartan to drop the containers. According to the company:

…Expectations from testing were surpassed — all aspects of safety, handling and deployment of the Guardian System by the C-27J are anticipated to achieve certification from the Alenia test and evaluation team. Follow-up training is planned for the spring of 2013 in Romania.

The C-27J Spartan is an ideal aircraft for the aerial firefighting mission,” said Rick Goddard, managing director of Caylym. “The versatility and responsiveness of the C-27J in a firefighting mission, using the Guardian System gives the Romanian Air Force the ability to drop more than 1,500 gallons (6000 L) per mission, from a safe altitude over all types of terrain, day and night.”

We talked with Rick Goddard, the Managing Director of Caylym, who told us that in their tests the system could deliver six to eight gallons per 100 square feet and even more if the containers were loaded in two rows so that they would exit the aircraft two at a time. Mr. Goddard said they do not expect to spend $100,000 to conduct a standard cup test to determine the exact uniformity and quantity of the retardant coverage until the U.S. Forest Service expresses more of an interest in using the system.

Below is a video that was uploaded by Caylym on January 22, 2013. It shows their containers being assembled, filled, and then dropping from an aircraft.

Caylym has rebranded their system. Formerly called a “precision container aerial delivery system” (PCAD), they have renamed it “Guardian Deployment System”.

If these were ever actually used on a wildfire, there would have to be an even greater emphasis than usual on removing firefighters and other personnel from the target area than there is now when only liquids fall from the sky. In addition, the owner of the land would either have to be OK with leaving the debris from the containers in place after the drop in perpetuity, or crews would have to search the area and carry it out for disposal in a landfill. Debris removal would have to be included in the estimated costs of using a system like this, which could be difficult or even impossible in some areas, complicated by topography and vegetation. Depending on the climate, it could take many years or decades for the plastic bladder, plywood, cardboard, and straps to decompose if it were not removed.

12 Questions for Tony Duprey

This is the fifth in a new series of articles on FireAviation.com featuring aerial firefighters answering 12 questions about their profession. We hope to get participation from senior pilots, as well as Air Operations Branch Directors, Air Tactical Group Supervisors, and others that have worked closely with fire aviation. Our objective is to not only provide our readers with interesting articles, but these very experienced aerial firefighters may also reveal a few gems of information that could prove to be valuable to those considering or just beginning a career in fire aviation. If you have a suggestion of someone who would be a good candidate for these questions, drop us a line through our Contact Us page. And their contact information would be appreciated.

Today we hear from Tony Duprey, who presently is a Chief Officer with the Chumash Tribal Fire Department. He works as a call when needed ATGS / ATS (ASM ATGS), HLCO for Federal incident management teams. When he retired from the U.S. Forest Service in 2005 he was a Battalion Chief on the Los Padres National Forest in California, and was on a California incident management team as an Air Attack Group Supervisor.

****

Tony Duprey
Tony Duprey

Who is one of the more memorable aerial firefighters you have known? And why?
“Smokey Val”, Frank Smokey Vallesillo.. USFS Air Attack Hemet Tanker Base. Smokey was one of the first “Air Attacks” I became aware of when I was a young squad boss on the Los Prietos Hotshots. I distinctly remember our superintendent, Mark Linane, telling me, “Smokey is one of the few air attacks you can trust”. Down the road, Smokey became a mentor to me as a young air attack.

Other memorable names that molded my early ATGS years – Walter “P” Johnson, Jan Reifenberg, Steve Maxwell, Greg Hock, Peter Bell, Teddy Mundell, Ray Skeels, Rich “Doc” Watson, Jim Leslie, Gary Hardy, Jim Chestnut, Ray Sauceda, Kenny Duvall, Mike Lynn.

I cannot say enough good things about Sheryl Porter Woods. She is the only reason I succeeded as the Santa Barbara Tanker Base Manager. Extremely memorable experiences working with her at Santa Barbara!!

One piece of advice you would give to someone before their first assignment working on a fire?
Adhere to your training; remember the basics, as there is no such thing as advanced firefighting, stay ever mindful to keep your SA up. Watch and re watch the BLM fire refreshers in which Dr. Ted Putnam is interviewed.

Besides the obvious (funding), what is the number one thing government Fire and Aviation should focus on?
Communication between Fire and Aviation at all levels. Active Listening.

One suggestion you have for ground-based firefighters about fire suppression tactics, or working with aircraft?
The Aerial resources may seem to have the best seat in the house, but their field of focus can be extremely narrow.

One thing that you know now that you wish you had known early in your career?
Aerial firefighters are just that … brother and sister aerial firefighters. Too many government employees at all levels view tanker and helicopter pilots as just contractors. They are brother and sister aerial firefighters.

Which two aircraft manufactured within the last 20 years would make the best air tankers?
Purpose built CL-415’s. When water is close, they are hard to beat. Why they are not used more in the western US is beyond me. The question asks “air tankers” but one cannot ignore the fact that the Erickson S-64 Sky Crane is the ground firefighter “weapon of choice”.

That being said, the P-3 Orion was a Cadillac. I have worked with the DC-10 and am impressed with its capabilities. It is an extremely effective initial as well as extended attack tool. I have worked with the BAE-146 that was on a provisional contract last year and see the drop system improving. The pilots tell me that the platform is fantastic for the role. I am looking forward to seeing the other companies “next gen” BAE’s, RJ’s and others. Hopefully the contracts are let soon.

List the aircraft you have flown, or flown in, on fires. Which is your favorite, and why?

  • ATGS – Shrike Commander, Turbine Commander, Cessna 421, Cessna 340, Cessna Skymaster, Beechcraft King Air, Bell 209 Cobra, OV-10
  • ASM – Beechcraft King Air
  • HLCO / Intelligence – Bell 206, Hughs 500, Bell 209 FireWatch Cobra, Bell 204, Bell 212
  • Ferry flights – Bell 206, Bell 204, Bell 212, Bell 214, Aerospatiale Puma / Super Puma, Lama, Allouette, Sikorsky Blackhawk (military operated), Sikorsky S-58T

Favorite aircraft –

  • ATGS and ASM- Beechcraft King Air… Because – Twin engine TURBOPROP, reliability, single engine performance, load capability (trainee’s etc) and support by current manufacturer
  • HLCO / Intelligence – Bell 209 FireWatch Cobra – Because – performance, visibility, contractor and industry support

Air tankers – Authorized – Flew in the DC-10 as an observer on drops.

Unauthorized – flew in the P3, C-130, DC4, P2V, SP2H as a young air attack as an observer on drops.

The funniest thing you have seen in aerial firefighting?
When I was on the hotshots in the late ‘70’s, we were on a fire on the Sequoia NF and one of the crewpersons on the crew found a horny toad while we were constructing fire line. We were flown off the fire at the end of a few days of spiking out from a helispot in a Sikorsky-S-58T. On the first load to be flown out was the crewperson (he went on to become a smokejumper and lead plane pilot) who had adopted the horny toad. After the helicopter lifted and had gained about 200 feet, a horny toad supported by a red bandana and parachute cord fashioned into a parachute and harness, appeared underneath the S-58T. No streamers appeared first, and the “jumper” missed the LZ (helispot) by about 50 feet landing in a draw below the helispot. When we rescued the jumper horny toad we discovered him hung up in a Manzanita bush without a letdown rope. We cut him free and he eventually was released back into the wild after he made the journey back to our home base with us.

How many hours have you spent in firefighting aircraft?
Too many yet not enough! As an aerial supervisor in excess of 3,000… and that is probably low…

Your favorite books about fire, firefighting, or aerial firefighting?

The first job you had in aerial firefighting?
Assistant Helishot Foreman on the San Marcos Helishots, H-528, CA-LPF in 1978.

What gadgets, electronic or other type, can’t you live without?
I love my iPhone, my iPad mini, my Mac Air, my Garman 496, my Kindle, but I can’t live without my fishing gadgets.

12 Questions for Kenneth Perry

This is the fourth in a new series of articles on FireAviation.com featuring aerial firefighters answering 12 questions about their profession. We hope to get participation from senior pilots, as well as Air Operations Branch Directors, Air Tactical Group Supervisors, and others that have worked closely with fire aviation. Our objective is to not only provide our readers with interesting articles, but these very experienced aerial firefighters may also reveal a few gems of information that could prove to be valuable to those considering or just beginning a career in fire aviation. If you have a suggestion of someone who would be a good candidate for these questions, drop us a line through our Contact Us page. And their contact information would be appreciated.

Today we hear from Kenneth Perry, Chief, Air Tactical Supervisors Standards and Safety with the Bureau of Land Management Aerial Supervision Module Program

****

Kenneth Perry
Kenneth Perry

Who is one of the more memorable aerial firefighters you have known? And why?
Can’t remember his name. He was a helicopter pilot that on 7/7/07 was completely taking charge of a burn over, as we arrived on scene. Calming the folks down, and dropping water dangerously close to exploding propane tanks. I put him in for a AirWard… They didn’t give him one.

One piece of advice you would give to someone before their first assignment working on a fire?
Apply their training, yet be conservative. And learn. That goes for their second, 3rd 4th etc., etc.

Besides the obvious (funding), what is the number one thing government Fire and Aviation should focus on?
Standardization in communication. We say we have it in aerial firefighting and aerial supervision, but I don’t think we really do. Accountability from a personal and peer standpoint is also lacking, in my opinion. I also think that the job of aerial supervision should be treated with the complexity and importance that it deserves, when it comes to training, competency and currency.

One suggestion you have for ground-based firefighters about fire suppression tactics, or working with aircraft?
Don’t rely on them. In many areas of the country it is still common for firefighters to decide tactics based on aircraft support.

One thing that you know now that you wish you had known early in your career?
We learn things when we are ready to learn them.

Which two aircraft manufactured within the last 20 years would make the best air tankers?
Designed or manufactured? Designed…. There aren’t any unless you want to tank a 787… Manufactured… I’m not sure if any airtanker that we are currently using, beside the 800 series Air Tractors were manufactured in the last 20 years. Of course there are later versions of the P-3 and C-130, but we won’t see them. Hence a major issue we face now. I’ve worked with the DC-10 quite a bit, and though there are some naysayers , I find it very effective. I’m looking forward to the next-gen, if it happens.

List the aircraft you have flown, or flown in, on fires. Which is your favorite, and why?
Tough question… You name it, I’ve probably done a mission in it. There are, however caveats. I will not fly a mission in a single engine A/C anymore. My favorite for my job (ASM) is the Beechcraft King Air. For ATGS, most certainly the turbine Commander.

The funniest thing you have seen in aerial firefighting?
Me and another guy once hid rubber snakes and spiders all over the airplane of a newly minted P-2V captain. Scared the crap out of him. That was pretty darn funny.

How many hours have you spent in firefighting aircraft?
Wow… Let’s be conservative… say 200 hrs a year X 14 years = 2800 hrs, although I’m sure it’s more.

Your favorite book about fire, firefighting, or aerial firefighting?
Never really been a big fan about reading about what I do. My favorite movie was, of course, Firestorm with Howie Long!!!!!

The first job you had in aerial firefighting?
Smokejumper.

What gadgets, electronic or other type, can’t you live without?
Got an iPhone. Pretty much need that.