News & commentary about aerial firefighting, air tankers, and helicopters
A 1950s era film about the use of air tankers.
5:29 of the video: “The lead pilot follows the orders of the Air Attack Boss at his side”. When (and why) did the USFS move away from two-crew lead planes, to their current system of a sole pilot aboard the lead plane?
Chris I think it was early on, about 1960 or so USFS
used T-34’s as leads also… quite a film. Noted the
F7F Tiger Cat Dave Kelly loved it as a Tanker, fast,
effective, quick climbing.. TBMs and B-25’s are my personal favorite, the old Hillcrest air ervice in La Grande had several B-25’s first Tanker I ever sat in
-ok I was Six at the time.
Ironic how the SEATS are a “Back to the Future”
concept… Old TBM bases are back in use…
“the big payoff is in initial attack” circa 1950. How the Fed system has changed. A few air tankers running all over the West attacking fires that have been burning for days. The new generation of fire managers hired after 1995 probably see todays air program as the way it has always been. Too Little Too Late. Remember (old timers) Hit Them Hard Keep Them Small. The B 25 air tanker which at one time there was sixteen in California including Aero Union got a “bad rap” because of several accidents in a short period of time. The last B 25 air tanker was retired in 1992 in Canada after decades of service. It is all history now. As with many studies the answer is determined before the study is conducted. Air tankers that have had structural failures in flight have had a common configuration. The wing was mounted on the top of the fuselage, or mid point in the fuselage with structural modifications to facilitate the tank installation. In both configuration (high or mid wing) these airplanes where not designed for aircraft carrier operations.
You nailed it Johnny, no more initial attack, the forest service will get to it just in time to call for a ics team. Then set up camp, pour in resources then backfire thousands of acres, I guess they think it more cost effective to waste millions of dollars and thousands of acres than to initial attack.
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