The third of six that have been ordered was delivered in December
Above: The third Be-200ES has been delivered to the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations. UAC photo.
(Originally published at 11:05 a.m. MT February 3, 2018)
The Beriev Aircraft Company continues to roll out their amphibious scooping Be-200ES firefighting air tankers at their Taganrog manufacturing facility in Southwest Russia. In December the company delivered the third of six that have been ordered by Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations.
The Russian Ministry of Defense has ordered one Be-200ES air tanker capable of fighting fires and another four of the Be-200PS version that would serve other purposes.
Beriev began manufacturing the Be-200 in 2003. It is one of the few purpose-built air tankers, designed primarily for fighting wildland fires. The aircraft can land or take off on water or land, and the firefighting version can scoop water to refill its 3,000-gallon tanks. It can be converted to haul passengers or serve as a search and rescue aircraft, landing on water to retrieve victims if necessary.
The automatic translation from Bing about the Russian-made Mi-26 helicopter:
Cross-border forest fires occurred in Russia, driven by China in Mongolia Autonomous daeheung an Ridge North. Join the Wu troops in Mongolia and Heilongjiang total fire fighting!
And Google’s auto-translation:
Forest fires occurred in Russia crossed the border and spread to the northern part of Daixing Anrill in China ‘s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Forest Takeshi Kaiuchi Mongolia · Heilongji Squadron participate in firefighting activities.
A helicopter used for monitoring wildfires crashed May 4 in the Russian republic of Bashkortostan, according to TASS which received information from regional emergency services. Three people were on board when it went down 30 kilometers south of the community of Inzer in the Beloretsk district. The reports are that there were no survivors.
Below is an excerpt from TASS:
The helicopter belonged to the Lightair company. The news it went missing came at 14:20 Moscow time. The helicopter had left Bashkortostan’s capital Ufa for Beloretsk. The distress signal from its emergency beacon was picked up by a satellite rescue system. The local office of the Investigative Committee has launched a probe.
Our sincere condolences go out to the family, friends, and coworkers.
A post shared by Федеральная Авиалесоохрана (@avialesookhrana) on
About 50 wildland firefighter in Russia were mobilized to assist with a wildfire in Buryatia, a mountainous Russian republic in eastern Siberia.
Below is the Google translation of the image’s caption:
Avialesookhrana According to the appeal of the Government of Buryatia to assist in keeping the fire situation under control, the operational headquarters of the Federal Forestry Agency sent 50 air firefighters “Avialesoohrana” to extinguish forest fires in the region # PAPC # paratroopers # paratroopers # firefighters # help # Buryatia # national park # Tunkinsky # arsons of dry grass # problem # violation # Russia # Siberia # measure # not # forest # Avialesookhrana # Avialesookhrana # Berehiles # smokejumpers # media # TV
And while we’re on the subject of airborne firefighters, back in America:
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
The aircraft would be manufactured in Santa Maria, California.
A businessman in Santa Maria, California, who has long been interested in the Russian-made Be-200 scooping air tanker, is pursuing still another avenue to use the aircraft in the United States.
David Baskett is the director of Santa Maria’s airport, president of TTE International, and is associated with International Emergency Services (IES). Campaigning for years to import the 3,000-gallon Be-200 air tanker, in 2010 he arranged for one of the aircraft to visit the United States. It was on display at Santa Maria, California and made a demonstration water drop. Mr. Baskett said then that his plan was to purchase 10 of the aircraft and lease them to air tanker operators in the United States.
Now he says he is working with the Beriev Aircraft Company (that makes the aircraft), Global Seaplanes, and Airbus to manufacture the aircraft in Santa Maria. He hopes that the air tanker will receive FAA certification.
Several years ago some U.S. Forest Service employees traveled to Taganrog, Russia the home base of the Beriev company, to conduct tests to determine if the Be-200 could be approved by the Interagency AirTanker Board (IAB). At the time, we heard unofficial reports that it met the criteria for water-scooping air tankers, but tests were not completed for dropping fire retardant.
A Be-200ES struck a tree August 14 while fighting a fire in Portugal but thankfully was able to land safely at Leiria. The jet-powered amphibious water scooper sustained major damage to a pontoon, the right wing leading edge, and the right side wing flaps. There were no reports of injuries to the crew. Other photos of the damage can be seen here.
This is not the first time a Russian Be-200 hit a tree in Portugal. A similar accident occurred July 6, 2006 when the aircraft was leased to the Portuguese government as a trial to evaluate its effectiveness. After scooping water on a lake the left wing hit a tree.
From the Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manhã at the time:
…While hitting the top of the trees, leaves and some wood entered the left engine, which didn’t blow up, but that had to be turned off and the pilot was forced to release fuel for safety reasons. The release of the fuel started small wildfires across the area, reaching some houses, which were quickly extinguished by firefighters and helitack units of the GNR’s Intervention, Protection and Rescue Group.
The airplane was able to do an emergency landing at the Monte Real Air Base.
Until this month, Be-200 air tankers had not been used in Portugal since the 2006 incident. Maybe they’ll wait another 10 years before they try again.