The Marines have conducted some tests to determine how feasible it would be for the MV-22 Osprey to fight wildland fires. As you may know, the Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft capable of vertical or short takeoff and landing. When airborne, it can cruise at over 300 mph, can carry 24 to 32 troops, or 15,000 pounds of external cargo.
In March, 2011 the Marines tested the Osprey with a 900-gallon Bambi Bucket suspended from 50-foot and 100-foot ling lines attached to the rear cargo hook while flying at up to 90 knots. After the tests, they came up with the following recommendations:
- Maximum airspeed with bucket empty – 90 KIAS
- Maximum airspeed with bucket full – 90 KIAS
- Maximum airspeed when dumping – 50 KIAS
- Max angle of bank- 30 degrees AOB
- Use of Automatic Release Mode is prohibited.
- Bambi bucket should be positioned to the 6 o’clock position of the aircraft prior to takeoff or landing.
- Aircrew shall continuously monitor load for oscillations or unusual load movement.
The report can be found here (2.6MB).
However, there are some issues that would stand in the way of the Osprey fighting fires, such as the very powerful rotor wash that has injured people nearby, the extreme heat that comes out of the engine exhaust which has started wildland fires and damaged flight decks on ships, and the high cost of $83,256 dollars an hour.
Thanks and a hat tip go out to Ross.