Helicopter photographer Kevin Takumi shows the perfect technique for filming an air tanker drop. He zooms in close at first on Air Tanker 910, a DC-10, then at the completion of the drop zooms out so you can see where the retardant lands.
The fire was just a few miles from the DC-10’s base at Richmond, northwest of Sydney, New South Wales.
This infrared video, shot from a New South Wales Rural Fire Service aircraft, shows a DC-10 air tanker dropping on a wildfire in Australia. In the normal video the aircraft disappears in the smoke, but after switching to IR it can be seen again. The water or retardant it drops shows up as black, much cooler than the fire which is white.
In addition to the drop, there is fascinating IR footage of thousands of burning embers being blown downwind. A spot fire can be easily seen thanks to the IR soon after it starts. It later grows very large.
Above: Tanker 910 dropping on the Londonderry Fire in New South Wales. Screen grab from the video.
On November 14 we posted a video of Air Tanker 910, a DC-10, dropping what we thought was water on the Londonderry Fire in New South Wales where it is working on a contract during the Australian summer.
We heard from John Gould, Business Development Manager at 10 Tanker Air Carrier that operates the three DC-10 air tankers, letting us know that it was not water:
Thanks for your great coverage on fires in Australia. In the video you posted yesterday, the DC-10 wasn’t dropping water, but instead a “gel” made by Blaze Tamer. We’ve been asked to drop it on about 50% of the fires we’ve had in NSW this year, and our pilots seem to like it, mostly in terms of the consistent pattern they’re getting on the ground when compared to water.
A few other air tankers have the ability to drop gel including the reborn 747 and the Martin Mars.
BlazeTamer380™ is especially beneficial for any type of air attack, including helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. It is well suited to provide accurate and reduced drop zone footprint by reducing drift caused by strong winds by up to 71%.
The unique formulation of BlazeTamer380™ creates an excellent fire break by penetrating Class A materials to increase the moisture content of the fuel, thus inhibiting ignition.
A revolutionary fire fighting weapon BlazeTamer380™ guarantees safe handling for fire fighters and is proven harmless to humans, animals and vegetation. BlazeTamer380™ is not a Gel or a Foam and it is totally noncorrosive. (includes Intergranular testing for the aviation industry.)
Air Tanker 910, the DC-10 that arrived in Australia October 30, responded to a wildfire that was within sight of where it is based at the Royal Australian Air Force Base in Richmond (map), 40 miles west of Sydney, Australia. It is working on a contract with New South Wales during their summer bushfire season.
10 Tanker Air Carrier published the above photo on their Facebook page, with the caption:
This is a picture of our first fire in Australia this year. We were asked to fly two missions on the fire, taking a total of less than 30 minutes of flight time. We hear about fires right off the end of the runway all the time….but they don’t get much closer than this.
Below is a slow-motion video of T-910 dropping, posted on the Facebook page of the Wallacia Rural Fire Brigade November 4, 2016 (U.S. time).
The DC-10 will be down under for the New South Wales bushfire season.
Above: Air Tanker 910 just after landing at RAAF Richmond in New South Wales, Australia, October 30, 2016 (U.S. time). Photo by Bernie Proctor.
Tanker 910, one of the three DC-10s operated by 10 Tanker Air Carrier, landed in Richmond, New South Wales, Australia (map) on Sunday (U.S. time) to begin a contract during their summer bushfire season. During this second year of its contract, the 11,600-gallon aircraft will again be based at the Royal Australian Air Force Base in Richmond, 40 miles west of Sydney.
Sunday was the last day of Tanker 911’s contract with the U.S. Forest Service. It had been on standby in San Bernardino for the last two weeks. Tanker 912 continues with its CAL FIRE contract based at McClellan Air Field in Sacramento.
All three of the DC-10 air tankers were in the same place at the same time Saturday, October 1, which is a rare occurrence. Tankers 910, 911, and 912 were all parked at McClellan Air Field. This happened at least one other time that we are aware of, August 30, 2014 at Castle Airport near Merced, California.
The trio will be split up again in the near future when Tanker 910 begins preparing for its contract in Australia where it will begin in less than four weeks. Tankers 911 and 912 will continue their work for CAL FIRE and the U.S. Forest Service for the remainder of the season.