Scoopers operating on a fire near Berango, Spain

Luis Calabor shot this video of Bombardier 215/415 air tankers scooping water and dropping on a fire near Berango in the Spanish province of Biscay. It was uploaded to YouTube on December 28, 2015.

We believe we identified the bay where the aircraft were scooping the water.

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

Helicopter pilot killed while fighting fire in Spain

A helicopter pilot was killed on Wednesday December 23 while fighting a fire in Spain. According to the AFP the helicopter caught fire after it crashed in a rural area in the Asturias region.

When rescuers arrived the pilot, the sole occupant, was already deceased, local emergency services personnel reported.

Air tanker pilot killed in Spain

From Waypoint Airmed & Rescue, dated May 26, 2014:

A pilot was killed when the AT802 plane she was flying crashed into a hillside during a firefighting mission in Almeria, Spain, at around 14:20 hrs on 25 May. The 40-year-old woman, named in reports as Sonia Morales Martínez, was part of an INFOCA team tackling a wildfire in the Sierra de Los Filabres in the Serón area. INFOCA released a statement of condolence to the pilot’s family, noting that she had extensive experience in aerial firefighting including over 5,000 hours’ flight time on this model of plane. She also served as a flight instructor.

Witnesses reported seeing unusual movements in the plane’s tail before it fell to the ground and burst into flames. It is believed that the pilot was killed on impact.

A Spanish language article about the accident can be found at ABCandalucia.

Our sincere condolences go out to the friends, co-workers,and family of Ms. Martinez.

Airbus begins tests of C295 air tanker

C295 test water drop
C295 test drop. Airbus photo.

Airbus Military has begun tests near Cordoba, Spain of a C295 aircraft modified as an air tanker. The flights went well, according to the company, and further tests are planned in the near future to make a more detailed analysis of the C295 as a firefighter aircraft.

The C295 looks similar to the C-27J but it has less impressive performance. According to Wikipedia (see the links above) the payload capacity of the C295 is about 5,000 pounds less and the engines have 57 percent of the horsepower of the C-27J. It would probably carry about 400 gallons less retardant than the C-27J, with a capacity of around 1,400 to 1,700 gallons is our guess.

Comparison, C-27J and C295
Comparison, C-27J and C295. Info from Wikipedia. (click to enlarge)

Rumor has it that France is considering replacing their fleet of Conair Turbocats, which are retrofitted Grumman S-2 Trackers.

A Polish Air Force CASA C-295M
A Polish Air Force CASA C-295M

 

Thanks go out to Walter

Commemorating air tanker pilots in Spain

43 GrupoAnother video has been produced about the 43rd Grupo (Group) Firefighting Squadron of the Spanish Air Force commissioned in 1971 when the first Canadair CL-215 arrived in the country. During four decades and 150,000 flight hours, the Squadron has suffered 9 fatal accidents, with a total of 15 casualties and the loss of 25% of its fleet. War-fighting in peace time. Ten years have passed since that last accident, and this video honors those young aviators who gave it all.

Other 43 Grupo videos can be found at Wildfire Today.

2011 was an especially bad year for aerial firefighters in Spain. At least 11 firefighters died in accidents involving helicopters and a single engine air tanker.

 

Thanks go out to Hidros