This is a very impressive video, probably shot a week or so ago, of the Very Large Air Tanker 912, a DC-10, making a drop close to the telescope facilities at the Mount Graham International Observatory during the Frye Fire in Arizona.
Above: Air Tanker 116, an HC-130H, sprays retardant on a fire near Phoenix, June 22, 2017. Fox 20 Phoenix.
Tanker 116 saw some action today, dropping on a fire near Phoenix that closed Interstate 17. Fox 10 got a pretty fair shot of the drop, but unfortunately the camera operator, perhaps not experienced in covering air tankers, followed the aircraft very closely all the way through the drop so it was difficult to tell which of the two parallel retardant drops was made by T-116. Yes, there were two drops parallel to each other. One looked like it was very wide but the coverage on the ground was very thin. The other was much more narrow and and had better coverage.
The video below shows the drop, and I found it at 2:40:45, but when I first saw it, it was at a different time stamp. The video should begin a few seconds before that point, but it you don’t see it there, check a couple of minutes on each side.
The image below shows the two parallel drops. It is difficult to tell from the video which one was made by the HC-130H.
The news people in the audio have some problems with aircraft ID in that video and at another spot in the same video. At about 2:22:15, there is a second drop and you will hear the news people identifying a lead plane as a Single Engine Air Tanker and what is either an RJ85 or a BAe-146 as a DC-10.
About 2 to 3 minutes after that second drop, a third drop (at 2:25:45) is similar to the second one, and is possibly the same but from a different angle. I am fairly certain this third drop is an RJ85, since you can see the pregnant bulge on the belly.
The very lengthy video goes back to a fire near Los Angeles several times. The image below, a screenshot, show a retardant drop that affected several homes.
T-116 is using, not a conventional gravity retardant tank, but a pressurized Modular Airborne FireFighting System rig that is normally only used in military aircraft that have been temporarily drafted into an air tanker role by loading a MAFFS unit in the cargo hold. The compressed air that blows the retardant out of the 3,000-gallon tank sprays it out of a nozzle, breaking the thickened retardant into very small droplets. T-116 and six other HC-130H’s are in the process of being transferred from the Coast Guard to the U.S. Forest Service. If the process is complete by the end of this decade as the agency expects, all seven will have conventional gravity-powered retardant delivery systems and will be operated and maintained by contractors, but owned by the USFS.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom and Brian. Typos or errors, report them HERE.
These are photos of an air tanker that you don’t see every day. The C-130Q that Coulson recently acquired, was being moved from Tucson to another facility in Mesa, Arizona where it will be transformed into Coulson’s fourth C-130 air tanker, Tanker #134. Obviously it needs a little work.
It is the second C-130Q that they have acquired. The first was Tanker 131 that entered service about four years ago. The company also has two L-382G’s, which is the civilian version of the C-130.
Britt Coulson, who sent us these pictures, said they expect to have the conversion complete by the end of this summer.
The photo below shows the aircraft before it was dismantled.
A squadron of air tankers conducted a flyover in a missing man formation as the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park opened earlier this week. “The Chopper Guy” got some aerial footage as the four single engine air tankers flew toward the memorial site. As they approached, one of the SEATs trailed smoke as it climbed and turned to the right.
On June 30, 2013 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed as they fought the Yarnell Hill Fire near Yarnell, Arizona, 90 miles northwest of Phoenix.
Above: Helitanker 718 is on final at Show Low Airport and will land at the heavy helicopter area next to a Columbia Boeing Vertol, while JR Helicopter’s AStar is checked over by it’s mechanic. Members of the BLM’s Twin Falls Helitack chat near their medium Bell’s parking spot.
Tom Story sent us these captioned photos of operations at the helibase for the Cedar Fire south of Show Low, Arizona. More information about the 9,600-acre fire is at Wildfire Today.
Above: planning for the helicopter water drop training. All photos were taken by Justin Jager.
Members of the 2-285th Assault Helicopter Battalion participated in an annual training and certification course for wildfire response at the Papago Park Military Reservation in Arizona May 4 and 5.
At the completion of the 24-hour course, 16 pilots and crew chiefs were certified to respond and assist with helicopter bucket operations and to deliver water for aerial firefighting.
“The Arizona National Guard’s aviation crews possess a number of skills critical to the wildfire fighting efforts,” said Justin Jager, interagency aviation officer for the National Parks Service and U.S. Forest Service. “Developing the interagency operability of these crews to help support the ground crews is invaluable to the state and region in terms of preparedness.”
Aside from water drop capabilities, the Arizona National Guard’s aviation crews can support lift operations, extraction and insertion of personnel, search and rescue, hoist operations, and sling load equipment transport. There are also specially trained crewmembers who can perform casualty and medical evacuations.