LACoFD has two new Firehawks

Los Angeles County Fire Department helicopters 21 and 22
Los Angeles County Fire Department helicopters 21 and 22 arrive at Barton Heliport in Pacoima, California. Photo by @ShorealoneFilms via @MichaelDubron.

With their arrival today at the Barton Heliport in Pacoima, the Los Angeles County Fire Department has two new Firehawk helicopters fully equipped and ready to go. Both of the ships, Helicopters 21 and 22, were converted by Colorado company United Rotorcraft into firefighting machines, with extended landing gear, 1,000 gallon firefighting tanks, and retractable snorkel systems. H-21 was in California last winter, went back to Colorado to  finish the conversion, then came back with it’s sister ship, H-22, today August 4.

Now the LACoFD has 10 helicopters, 5 Firehawks and five Bell 412 ships.

The Department announced in July of last year that they were going to buy two more Firehawks.

Last year we wrote about 14 things to know about Los Angeles County Fire Department Air Operations.

Firehawk Sikorsky S70I Los Angeles County Fire Department
Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Sikorsky S70I Firehawk, Helicopter 21, being tested Nov. 16, 2019 in Colorado. Photo by Erick Lama for United Rotorcraft.
HAI_2020_Arrivals_HAI
One of Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Firehawks, Helicopter 21, arriving at HAI 2020 in Anaheim, CA January 24, 2020.
HAI HELI-EXPO 2020 Anaheim helicopter
At HAI Anaheim, January 28, 2020, Sikorsky honored three fire departments whose organizations are operating Firehawks; San Diego Fire Rescue, Los Angeles County, and CAL FIRE.
Sikorsky Firehawk H-21
At HAI Anaheim, January 28, 2020, Sikorsky honored three fire departments whose organizations are operating Firehawks; San Diego Fire Rescue, Los Angeles County, and CAL FIRE. LACoFD’s new H-21 is in the background.

Video of National Guard MAFFS air tankers in action

MAFFS air tanker
A MAFFS air tanker approaches a target. Screenshot from the National Guard/Airailimages video.

Fred Johnsen of AIRAILIMAGES sent us information about a video he compiled about the California National Guard C-130s that were activated with the slip-in Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System. The MAFFS can spray up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant using the air-pressurized system.

Fred describes the video:

Here’s a blend of two video B-Roll segments from the California Air National Guard showing the preparation of he 146th Airlift Wing’s C-130s for use as firefighters, and then actual fire duty from the cockpit in July 2020. Look closely and you will see the lead plane put out a stream of smoke where the C-130 is supposed to drop. And listen to the sounds of the drop from the cockpit.

The two C-130s from the California National Guard were replaced after a week as scheduled on July 29 by a Herc from Nevada Air National Guard’s 152nd Airlift Wing “High Rollers” and one from the Air Force Reserve’s 302 Airlift Wing out of Peterson Air Force Base at Colorado Springs.

Two air tankers collide near Bishop Fire in Nevada

UPDATED at 10:15 p.m. MDT July 30, 2020

map Bishop Fire
Map showing heat detected by satellites on the Bishop fire as late as 3 a.m. MDT July 30, 2020.

Two air tankers collided July 30 while working on the Bishop Fire in southeast Nevada.

The Air Tractor Single Engine Air Tankers, SEATs, were involved in a mid-air collision Thursday afternoon according to Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Claire Morville. There was one person on board each aircraft.

At 10 p.m. MDT July 30 a spokesperson for the Bureau of Land Management, Chris Hanefeld, confirmed that the collision occurred earlier in the day at about 12:55 p.m. He said both pilots were killed in the crash. Recovery operations are currently underway and initial notifications are still being made.

“We offer our sincere condolences to the families of the two pilots and to all those working with the BLM Nevada Ely District,” said BLM Nevada State Director Jon Raby.

The Bishop fire, reported July 29, has burned 500 acres 14 miles south-southwest of Caliente, Nevada.

The accident occurred near the intersection of Kane Springs Road and Riggs Road, Ms. Morville said.

The fire is on land managed by the BLM. The two privately owned aircraft were under contract to the agency.

SEATs are small airplanes used to support wildland firefighters on the ground. They can deliver up to 800 gallons of fire retardant and operate in areas where larger airtankers cannot.

The names of the pilots have not been released.

Our sincere condolences go out to the pilots’ family, friends, and coworkers.

Bishop Fire
Bishop Fire, from Ella Mountain Lookout July 29, 2020. InciWeb photo.
map Bishop Fire
Bishop Fire map. Data from 7:53 p.m. MDT July 29, 2020. BLM.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom. Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Two C-130 MAFFS air tankers relieved by another pair

MAFFS C-130
MAFFS C-130 training in Boise April 21, 2017. Photo by Bill Gabbert

After a week on the job the two California National Guard C-130 MAFFS air tankers that were activated on July 22 are being relieved as scheduled and will return to the 146th Airlift Wing at Channel Islands in southern California.

A Herc from Nevada Air National Guard’s 152nd Airlift Wing “High Rollers” deployed July 29 to Sacramento McClellan Airport. It will be joined by one from the Air Force Reserve’s 302 Airlift Wing out of Peterson Air Force Base at Colorado Springs.

The military C-130s use the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) which can deliver up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant. The system slides into the back of the aircraft and retardant is sprayed under pressure through a nozzle in a modified troop door on the left side. MAFFS aircraft can be activated to supplement the civilian airtanker program to slow the spread of wildland fires.

fire wildfire Nevada Air National Guard C-130 MAFFS
A C-130 from Nevada Air National Guard’s 152nd Airlift Wing “High Rollers” during training in Boise April 20, 2020. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

FAA reports Tanker 96’s landing gear collapsed upon landing

air tanker Medford Klamthon Fire
File photo of Tanker 96 at Medford, Oregon July 5, 2018. Photo by Tim Crippin.

Originally published at 3:19 p.m. PDT July 29, 2020

CAL FIRE still has not released any details about the mishap that occurred at about 6 p.m. PDT July 29 at the Rohnerville Airport in northern California, except that there were no injuries.

The FAA in their very brief preliminary information about the incident said the landing gear on the S-2T air tanker collapsed as it was landing at the airport near Fortuna 15 miles south of Eureka. The FAA described the damage as “minor”.

A recording of radio traffic from the incident posted on the Redheaded Blackbelt website included this:

Tanker 96 hit the ground. Left tire is popped. Like to request Fortuna Fire Department. Additionally, Tanker 96 is off the end of the runway. Currently out of service.

Six minutes later when Rohnerville Fire Department was called out, the dispatcher said it was “non injury”.

We will update this article after CAL FIRE releases information.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Bean. Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Photos of MAFFS and 747 Supertanker at McClellan July 28, 2020

747 supertanker c-130 national guard fire wildfire MAFFS
The 747 Supertanker is seen July 28, 2020 at Sacramento McClellan Airport with a MAFFS C-130 from California’s 146th Airlift Wing. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Amanda H. Johnson.

Two C-130 aircraft from the California National Guard were activated July 22 to serve as air tankers using the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS).  They have been available for wildfire support at Sacramento McClellan Airport.

The 747 Supertanker has been flying firefighting missions out of McClellan almost every day for the last week.

c-130 national guard fire wildfire MAFFS
Looking at the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System in the interior of a C-130 operated by California National Guard 146th Airlift Wing. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Amanda H. Johnson, July 28, 2020.
c-130 national guard fire wildfire MAFFS
Retardant residue on a MAFFS C-130 from California’s 146th Airlift Wing. Up to 3,000 gallons of retardant can be sprayed under pressure through the pintle nozzle on the left which exits the aircraft through a modified troop door. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Amanda H. Johnson, July 28, 2020.

Air tanker 96 has mishap at Rohnerville Airport in California

Air Tanker 96 Medford, Oregon June 17, 2019
File photo of Air Tanker 96 at Medford, Oregon June 17, 2019. N440DF. Tim Crippin.

One of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s S-2T air tankers, Tanker 96 (N440DF), had a mishap July 28, 2020 at the Rohnerville Airport in northern California.

“Yesterday at about 6 p.m. we had an incident involving one of our aircraft assigned to Rohnerville Air Attack Base,” said Paul Savona, Battalion Chief with CAL FIRE’s Humbolt Del Norte unit Wednesday morning. “As a result of the incident there were no injuries and no fire. Everything else is under investigation.”

A recording of radio traffic from the incident posted on the Redheaded Blackbelt website included this:

Tanker 96 hit the ground. Left tire is popped. Like to request Fortuna Fire Department. Additionally, Tanker 96 is off the end of the runway. Currently out of service.

Six minutes later when Rohnerville Fire Department was called out, the dispatcher said it was “non injury”.

The website quotes Chief Savona as saying the aircraft is repairable.

Rohnerville is 15 miles south of Eureka, California.

The last flight of T-96 recorded on FlightAware shows that the incident most likely occurred while landing.

Tanker 96 flight
Tanker 96 flight, 5:25 p.m. to 5:59 July 28, 2020. FlightAware.
Rohynerville Airport
Rohynerville Airport. Google Earth.

On October 7, 2014 Pilot Geoffrey “Craig” Hunt was killed in the crash of a CAL FIRE S-2T, Tanker 81, while attempting to drop on the Dog Rock Fire near Yosemite National Park.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom and Dave. Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Excellent photos of Tanker 131 on the Karen Fire

Air Tanker 131 C-130Q (N130FF) fire wildfire
Air Tanker 131, a C-130Q (N130FF) on the Karen Fire in San Bernardino County, CA July 26, 2020. Photo credit: CAL FIRE Riverside Co FD.

Firefighters battling the Karen Fire near Fontana in southern California July 26 got some excellent photos of air tanker 131 (N-130FF). CAL FIRE and local fire departments made quick work of the blaze that burned 277 acres, mostly in San Bernardino County.

Air Tanker 131 C-130Q (N130FF) fire wildfire
Air Tanker 131, a C-130Q (N130FF) on the Karen Fire in San Bernardino County, CA July 26, 2020. Photo credit: CAL FIRE Riverside Co FD.
Air Tanker 131 C-130Q (N130FF) fire wildfire
Air Tanker 131, a C-130Q (N130FF) on the Karen Fire in San Bernardino County, CA July 26, 2020. Photo credit: CAL FIRE Riverside Co FD.

The photo at the top of the article reminds me of the opening scene in the Steven Speilberg movie “Always”.