Thrust reverser falls off DC-10 air tanker while taxiing

Above: part of a thrust reverser that fell off Tanker 911 after landing at Santa Maria. Screenshot from KCOY video.

Part of a thrust reverser fell off a DC-10 air tanker August 25 while it was taxiing after landing at Santa Maria airport (map) in southern California. The aircraft was repaired and is back in service.

Below are excerpts from the SAFECOM:

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“After touchdown and the grounding of nose gear, the #2 engine thrust reverser was deployed with normal indications. All indications were normal during landing rollout. Chief pilot then stowed the #2 reverser and received indication that the #2 reverser was unlocked. Appropriate checklist was performed and engine was shut down. Airtanker Base was notified that the aircraft had a maintenance issue and needed an appropriate place to park. Pilot was then notified by Air Traffic Control that they had “lost a piece of the aircraft on the runway“. The part was immediately removed by airport employees and the aircraft taxied to the Airtanker Base Ramp without further incident.

Corrective Action:

“Regional Aviation Maintenance Inspector {RAMI} was contacted, as well as the Regional Office of the incident. RAMI: arrived SMX at 1930 hours and inspected parts and the aircraft. The company brought in a team and replaced the #2 fan reverser. Findings: company experts concluded that upon the #2 reverser cowl stowing, it somehow bound up at one of the guides and the three brackets that attach the cowl to the deploying jack screws sheared and the cowl departed the reverser. The company did a one time inspection of their fleet to ensure no other problems on their reversers.

RASM Comments: Good coordination with RAMI and company maintenance personnel to understand the cause of the issue. Impact to other airport traffic was minimal with only a brief interruption to retrieve parts of the aircraft that were on the runway. Also good call on the part of the company to inspect other aircraft in the fleet for similar issues. Repairs were made to the incident aircraft and it was RTCA by the RAMI.”

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to John.

Aviation briefing, March 31, 2013

Coulson’s C-130 conversion in San Bernardino

Coulson's C-130 Taxiing
Archive photo of Coulson’s C-130 taxiing before the conversion. Coulson photo.

The Press-Enterprise has an article about the air tanker conversion that Coulson is working on at the San Bernardino, California airport, converting into an air tanker what the article identifies as a C-130Q. According to the article test flights are scheduled to begin in April. Coulson is hoping to receive a next-generation air tanker contract for the aircraft.

Wildfire Today first wrote about Coulson’s C-130 April 9, 2012.

Santa Maria reduces air tanker landing fees

The Santa Maria Public Airport 55 miles north of Santa Barbara, California has reduced the landing fees charged to air tankers using the airport. An article in the Santa Maria Times says the fees will be reduced from $1 per 1,000 pounds to 50 cents per 1,000 pounds. In addition to this fee, firefighting aircraft have to pay ramp handling fees and fuel flowage fees.

After being downgraded to a call-when-needed air tanker base for three years, the Los Padres National Forest in October, 2011 restored it to full-time status during the fire season.

Contracts for next-generation air tankers

Late in the day last Wednesday the U.S. Forest Service announced contract awards for eight “legacy” air tankers, which included seven P2Vs and one BAe-146. Some people within the agency thought contracts for next-generation air tankers would also be announced last week, but that did not happen. The USFS is probably bending over backwards this time in an attempt to minimize the chances of the awards being protested again. Last summer after the awards were announced but not yet finalized, two companies that were not slated to receive contracts filed protests, which sent the agency back to the drawing board, starting the process over again after making dozens of changes in the solicitation.

It has been 487 days since the USFS began the solicitation process for next-generation air tankers.