Air tanker 96 has mishap at Rohnerville Airport in California

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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.

2 thoughts on “Air tanker 96 has mishap at Rohnerville Airport in California”

  1. “The website quotes Chief Savona as saying the aircraft is repairable.” And what exactly would his qualifications be to make such a claim let alone have them repeated here?

    1. AMU would have sent personnel immediately to inspect the aircraft and assess damage. They would have then told their supervisors what they have found, and it was provided to the Chief for public affairs. Not sure why you’re so hostile, there is absolutely no implication that the Chief took a quick look, kicked the tires and decided himself. CalFire has the largest state owned firefighting fleet in the world, and that comes with a lot of management personnel and protocol when disseminating information to the public.

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