Crash of Portuguese CL-215 air tanker kills pilot

The accident occurred in Spain on a wildfire that burned across the border

August 8, 2020 | 1 p.m. MDT

CL-215 crash map
Map showing the general area of the crash of a CL-215 (EC-HET). The icons represent heat detected by satellites at 8:10 a.m. MDT (US) August 8, 2020.

A Portuguese water-scooping air tanker crashed in Spain on August 8 while battling a wildfire that started near Lindoso, Portugal and burned across the international border. The pilot, Jorge Jardim, 65, was killed and the Spanish co-pilot was seriously injured.

Below are excerpts from an article at the Portugal Resident August 8, 2020:

The tragedy happened mid-morning as the plane was taking part in aerial attacks on a fire in the Peneda-Gerês national park at Lindoso, Ponte da Barca.

The downed plane had just finished a ‘scooping’ (collection of roughly 5000 litres of water) and was preparing to drop the load in an arc at the head of the fire.

By the time rescue workers got to the wreckage, both victims were in cardio-respiratory arrest. SAV (advanced life-support) technicians managed to ‘bring back’ the Spanish co-pilot, but were unable to resuscitate the 65-year-old pilot.

Eduardo Cabrita, minister for Interior Administration, issued a note of regret Monday afternoon, presenting his “heartfelt condolences” to the family, friends and colleagues of pilot Jorge Jardim who made up part of the special aerial fire combat force run by the Portuguese branch of the international company Babcock.

Mr Cabrita also wished for the full recovery of the co-pilot, saying “in this tragic moment I would like to send a word of solidarity to all those who give such selfless service to the country in the combat of fires”.

He also thanked Spanish authorities for their help in the difficult recovery operation.

The aircraft was a Canadair CL-215 (EC-HET) manufactured in 1975.

At the time of the accident, seven Portuguese and four Spanish aircraft were working on the fire.

The investigation will be conducted by Spanish authorities since it occurred on the Spanish side of the border.

YouTube has aerial footage of the crash site apparently filmed shortly after the incident which shows a small vegetation fire spreading uphill away from the wreckage. There are also photos on Twitter.

Our sincere condolences go out to the family, friends, and co-workers of Mr. Jardim and hope for a full recovery of the co-pilot.

Video of air tankers at Boise

August 7, 2020 | 7:01 p.m. MDT

Tanker 168 fire wildfire RJ85
Air Tanker 168, an RJ85, at Boise, Idaho August 6, 2020. Screenshot from AIRAILIMAGES video.

Fred Johnson of let us know about this AIRAILIMAGES video he shot of air tankers landing and taking off at Boise August 6. He said they were probably working on a wildfire in eastern Oregon.

You will see two BAe-146s, Tankers 03 and 41, and an RJ85, Tanker 163.

Photos of air tankers and a lead plane working out of Redmond, OR

August 6, 2020 | 7:50 p.m. PDT

Tanker 60, a DC-7B
Tanker 60, a DC-7B, arriving at Redmond, OR August 3, 2020. Photo by Cooper Palubeski.

Cooper Palubeski sent us photos he took August 3 of firefighting aircraft at Redmond, Oregon. Thanks Cooper!

The tankers were reloading retardant while battling the Fir Mountain Fire south of Hood River, Oregon. Tankers 101 and 163 were dispatched from Redmond, Oregon just after 11:00 a.m. and made four load and returns at the airport.

They got more help around 12:30 p.m. when Tanker 60 arrived from Medford, making several runs on the Fir Mountain Fire before returning to Medford that night.

Tanker 163, an RJ85 (N366AC)
Tanker 163, an RJ85 (N366AC), at Redmond, OR August 3, 2020 landing after its first sortie that day. Photo by Cooper Palubeski.
Tanker 101, an MD-87 (N291EA)
Tanker 101, an MD-87 (N291EA), taking off with its second load of retardant at Redmond, OR August 3, 2020. Photo by Cooper Palubeski.
Tanker 101, an MD-87 (N291EA)
Tanker 101, an MD-87 (N291EA), taking off with its second load of retardant at Redmond, OR August 3, 2020. Photo by Cooper Palubeski.
Lead Plane, Beechcraft Super King Air B200GT (N24HD)
A U.S. Forest Service Lead Plane, Beechcraft Super King Air B200GT (N24HD), at Redmond, OR August 3, 2020. Photo by Cooper Palubeski, who said the aircraft was over the Fir Mountain Fire for nearly 4.5 hours.
Tanker 163, an RJ85 (N366AC)
Tanker 163, an RJ85 (N366AC), at Redmond, OR August 3, 2020. It was taking off for the first time that day from Redmond. Photo by Cooper Palubeski.

Video of National Guard MAFFS air tankers in action

MAFFS air tanker
A MAFFS air tanker approaches a target. Screenshot from the National Guard/Airailimages video.

Fred Johnsen of AIRAILIMAGES sent us information about a video he compiled about the California National Guard C-130s that were activated with the slip-in Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System. The MAFFS can spray up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant using the air-pressurized system.

Fred describes the video:

Here’s a blend of two video B-Roll segments from the California Air National Guard showing the preparation of he 146th Airlift Wing’s C-130s for use as firefighters, and then actual fire duty from the cockpit in July 2020. Look closely and you will see the lead plane put out a stream of smoke where the C-130 is supposed to drop. And listen to the sounds of the drop from the cockpit.

The two C-130s from the California National Guard were replaced after a week as scheduled on July 29 by a Herc from Nevada Air National Guard’s 152nd Airlift Wing “High Rollers” and one from the Air Force Reserve’s 302 Airlift Wing out of Peterson Air Force Base at Colorado Springs.

Two air tankers collide near Bishop Fire in Nevada

UPDATED at 10:15 p.m. MDT July 30, 2020

map Bishop Fire
Map showing heat detected by satellites on the Bishop fire as late as 3 a.m. MDT July 30, 2020.

Two air tankers collided July 30 while working on the Bishop Fire in southeast Nevada.

The Air Tractor Single Engine Air Tankers, SEATs, were involved in a mid-air collision Thursday afternoon according to Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Claire Morville. There was one person on board each aircraft.

At 10 p.m. MDT July 30 a spokesperson for the Bureau of Land Management, Chris Hanefeld, confirmed that the collision occurred earlier in the day at about 12:55 p.m. He said both pilots were killed in the crash. Recovery operations are currently underway and initial notifications are still being made.

“We offer our sincere condolences to the families of the two pilots and to all those working with the BLM Nevada Ely District,” said BLM Nevada State Director Jon Raby.

The Bishop fire, reported July 29, has burned 500 acres 14 miles south-southwest of Caliente, Nevada.

The accident occurred near the intersection of Kane Springs Road and Riggs Road, Ms. Morville said.

The fire is on land managed by the BLM. The two privately owned aircraft were under contract to the agency.

SEATs are small airplanes used to support wildland firefighters on the ground. They can deliver up to 800 gallons of fire retardant and operate in areas where larger airtankers cannot.

The names of the pilots have not been released.

Our sincere condolences go out to the pilots’ family, friends, and coworkers.

Bishop Fire
Bishop Fire, from Ella Mountain Lookout July 29, 2020. InciWeb photo.
map Bishop Fire
Bishop Fire map. Data from 7:53 p.m. MDT July 29, 2020. BLM.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom. Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Two C-130 MAFFS air tankers relieved by another pair

MAFFS C-130
MAFFS C-130 training in Boise April 21, 2017. Photo by Bill Gabbert

After a week on the job the two California National Guard C-130 MAFFS air tankers that were activated on July 22 are being relieved as scheduled and will return to the 146th Airlift Wing at Channel Islands in southern California.

A Herc from Nevada Air National Guard’s 152nd Airlift Wing “High Rollers” deployed July 29 to Sacramento McClellan Airport. It will be joined by one from the Air Force Reserve’s 302 Airlift Wing out of Peterson Air Force Base at Colorado Springs.

The military C-130s use the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) which can deliver up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant. The system slides into the back of the aircraft and retardant is sprayed under pressure through a nozzle in a modified troop door on the left side. MAFFS aircraft can be activated to supplement the civilian airtanker program to slow the spread of wildland fires.

fire wildfire Nevada Air National Guard C-130 MAFFS
A C-130 from Nevada Air National Guard’s 152nd Airlift Wing “High Rollers” during training in Boise April 20, 2020. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

FAA reports Tanker 96’s landing gear collapsed upon landing

air tanker Medford Klamthon Fire
File photo of Tanker 96 at Medford, Oregon July 5, 2018. Photo by Tim Crippin.

Originally published at 3:19 p.m. PDT July 29, 2020

CAL FIRE still has not released any details about the mishap that occurred at about 6 p.m. PDT July 29 at the Rohnerville Airport in northern California, except that there were no injuries.

The FAA in their very brief preliminary information about the incident said the landing gear on the S-2T air tanker collapsed as it was landing at the airport near Fortuna 15 miles south of Eureka. The FAA described the damage as “minor”.

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”.

We will update this article after CAL FIRE releases information.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Bean. Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Photos of MAFFS and 747 Supertanker at McClellan July 28, 2020

747 supertanker c-130 national guard fire wildfire MAFFS
The 747 Supertanker is seen July 28, 2020 at Sacramento McClellan Airport with a MAFFS C-130 from California’s 146th Airlift Wing. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Amanda H. Johnson.

Two C-130 aircraft from the California National Guard were activated July 22 to serve as air tankers using the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS).  They have been available for wildfire support at Sacramento McClellan Airport.

The 747 Supertanker has been flying firefighting missions out of McClellan almost every day for the last week.

c-130 national guard fire wildfire MAFFS
Looking at the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System in the interior of a C-130 operated by California National Guard 146th Airlift Wing. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Amanda H. Johnson, July 28, 2020.
c-130 national guard fire wildfire MAFFS
Retardant residue on a MAFFS C-130 from California’s 146th Airlift Wing. Up to 3,000 gallons of retardant can be sprayed under pressure through the pintle nozzle on the left which exits the aircraft through a modified troop door. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Amanda H. Johnson, July 28, 2020.