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.
The BlazeTamer website claims it is a “short-term fire retardant”.
Here are some excerpts from their site:
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.)