Above: One of Colorado’s two Pilatus PC-12 “Multi-mission Aircraft” at McClellan Air Field, March 23, 2016. Photo by Bill Gabbert.
This article was originally published on Wildfire Today.
Colorado’s Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting is requesting information from vendors who could supply equipment that would transmit from aircraft near real-time information about wildfires directly to firefighters on the ground.
The state’s Division of Fire Prevention and Control recently acquired two Pilatus PC-12 Multi-Mission Aircraft. Sensors on the planes can detect and map the location of fires and transmit near real-time spatial data, still images, and short video clips to the Colorado Wildfire Information Management System (CO-WIMS), a web-based situational awareness platform. Fire managers can log into CO-WIMS to view fire perimeters and the other data generated by the aircraft. Firefighters on the ground who have access to the system can view the information as long as they have a good 4G cellular connection. However, many remote areas do not have cellular service.
Colorado’s Request for Information is asking for descriptions and prices of systems that could get this data directly into the hands of firefighters actively engaged in suppressing a fire. Responses are due by June 13, 2016.
This could supply half of the Holy Grail of Wildland Firefighter Safety, providing to firefighters near real-time information about the location of a fire. The other half is near real-time information about the location of firefighters.
And here is a bonus video at no additional charge. Just after the 747 began taxiing before take off, three F-18’s landed. They taxied pretty close to where I was standing. A little military aircraft porn.
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.
Douglas County, just south of Denver (map), recently renewed contracts with four fire aviation companies. The agreements are Call When Needed (CWN) and will only be activated when the aircraft are specifically needed.
“Due to the strong possibility of continued dry conditions in and around Douglas County, coupled with the limited air resource availability in the region for the purpose of fighting wildland fire, it is imperative that we have every resource possible available to us,” said the County’s Director of Emergency Management Tim Johnson.
The day before the Aerial Firefighting Conference officially began at McClellan Air Field in Sacramento I interviewed Melissa Lineberger, the Director of Colorado’s Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting based in Rifle, Colorado. She became the interim Director in August, 2014 and later was selected for the full time job.
In the interview she talks about what the Center does, the projects they are working on, the Night Aerial Firefighting Conference they recently hosted, drones, and tracking firefighters.
Colorado has two Pilatus PC-12 intelligence gathering aircraft.
We ran across this post today from the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control about their Pilatus PC-12 single-engine aircraft. They have sensors on board that when combined with communications and software capabilities provide wildfire intelligence to office-bound fire managers as well as firefighters on the ground.
Click on the photos to see larger versions.
Colorado MMA 327 visited Rifle today; this flight was mostly training/proficiency for pilots and MSO’s. The MMA’s have had a few missions lately.
The company building Version 2.0 of the 747 Supertanker has leased a hangar at the Colorado Springs Airport. The Gazette reports that Global SuperTanker Services will occupy what has been a vacant 14,880-square-foot hangar. The space will serve as its headquarters for storing equipment for maintaining their Boeing 747-400 jet.
The company announced last August that they purchased the retardant system, related Supplemental Type Certificate (STC), and patents from the ashes of the bankrupt Evergreen company, the developer of the 19,600-gallon air tanker. They have removed the system from the 747-100 (Version 1.0) and installed it in a newer 747-400BCF (Boeing Converted Freighter) (N492EV) with more powerful engines.
Global SuperTanker employs eight people with plans to add five more this year. The company plans on acquiring additional large firefighting aircraft, starting next year, [CEO Jim] Wheeler said.
The Colorado Springs Airport is co-located with Peterson Air Force Base. During wildfire season the base makes two C-130 aircraft available for deployment as air tankers outfitted with the slip-in Modular Aerial Firefighting System (MAFFS).
These videos of retardant and water drops by single engine air tankers were published by the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.
Below is the description for the above video provided by the CDFPC, and following that is the description for the second.
“Bitter Creek Fire, July 26 and 27, 2015: DFPC received dispatch at 1700. The fire was located half way between the border of Colorado and Rock Springs. The video was taken by Mike Miller, DFPC Pilot (contract) from Tanker 831 (T831). There were 5 SEATs working on the the fire when this video was taken.The objective was to contain this fire as soon as possible.”
“Video taken from T831 aircraft in Craig, CO. DFPC crew dropped water to assist firefighters on the ground fighting the Keystone Fire on July 24, 2015. Video taken by: Mike Miller, DFPC Pilot.” (The action starts at about 2:55.)
And here is a bonus — a short video from one of Colorado’s Multi-Mission Aircraft demonstrating the two cameras, visual and infrared.