Videos of air tanker drops on the Francis Fire north of Salt Lake City

Monday afternoon the Francis Fire was burning on the slopes above Fruit Heights between Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah. More information about the fire is a Wildfire Today, but below are videos of fixed wing activity on the fire.

Aircraft at the scene included, at least, an MD-87, a BAe-146 (Tanker 168), and multiple helicopters in addition to an air attack ship.

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6 thoughts on “Videos of air tanker drops on the Francis Fire north of Salt Lake City”

  1. I think the video shot by Mr. Gardiner is superb! It raises a question for me, but please excuse me for asking a question that may have been answered before. What’s the reason, other than “the STC was certified that way”, why the MD-87s fly their approach and execute a drop with the gear down? Thanks in advance.

    1. I believe it is to lower VMC, if they lose their critical engine at low speed, it gives them a little more margin to respond.

  2. There is more to the videos than MD 87 dropping. The air attack & air tanker pilots are “dialed in” on the required coverage level of retardant for the fuel type. The MD 87 drop is about ten to twelve seconds in duration, which represent a coverage level of two or three gallons per 100 square feet, adequate for this fuel type. The idea of applying retardant is not to drown the fire, but use sufficient retardant to allow the fire to enter the retardant line, reduce the intensity, and become a smoldering mass; without traveling through the retardant and exiting into untreated fuel.

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