A Roman Catholic church in rural Louisiana hoping to maximize its blessings has come up with a way to do it: filling up a crop-duster plane with holy water and letting the sanctified liquid mist an entire community.
“We can bless more area in a shorter amount of time,” Rev. Matthew Barzare of St. Anne Church in Cow Island, La., told NPR.
Following this past Saturday’s mass, parishioners from the church in southwestern Louisiana headed to an airstrip about five minutes away from the church. Churchgoers brought with them 100 gallons of water, which was loaded into the crop duster.
“I blessed it there, and we waited for the pilot to take off,” Barzare said, noting that it was the largest amount of water he had ever turned holy.
The pilot had instructions to drizzle certain parts of the community, including churches, schools, grocery stores and other community gathering places.
This is video shot August 29 from the Single Engine Air Tanker (SEAT) piloted by Jim Watson on the R-1 Ranch Fire 13 miles northeast of Susanville, California. He was working out of the Air Tanker Base at Chester, California. You may notice that the aircraft is following another SEAT that makes a drop ahead of him.
A single engine air tanker (SEAT) crashed while scooping water on a lake in Portugal on July 3, 2019. It happened near Trizio, in the municipality of Sertã, in Castelo Branco.
Just after the aircraft’s pontoons made contact with the water the aircraft tipped forward and may have flipped once or twice. It settled upright for a short while as the uninjured pilot self-extricated, then it sank in 25 meters of water.
The aircraft had been based at Proença-A-Nova, in Castelo Branco district.
It appears in the video below that the landing gear was down as it began scooping.
Divers with the Humanitarian Association of Volunteer Firefighters of Cernache do Bonjardim (BV Cernache do Bonjardim) recovered the aircraft from the lake bottom by attaching air bags. When it surfaced it was towed to the shore. These photos by BV Cernache do Bonjardim are used with their permission.
The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) is planning a media day on June 28 at Northern Colorado Regional Airport in Loveland, Colorado (map). Two air tankers will be making demonstration drops — an Airstrike Firefighters P-3 Orion and a Single Engine Air Tanker (SEAT). They will be dropping BLAZETAMER380, a water enhancing gel that looks similar to water when released by an air tanker.
The DFPC has a summer-long exclusive use contract for the SEAT and a Call When Needed (CWN) contract for Airstrike’s large four-engine P3 air tankers.
The airborne demonstrations are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. MDT June 28, with static displays to follow.
The event is for the media, who will be escorted out to the ramps to get a close up look at the aircraft on static display. We were told by Shawn Battmer, the Airport Executive Assistant, that the public will not be allowed to approach the planes but may be able to see them through a fence near the Fort Collins-Loveland JetCenter. Ms. Battmer did not say anything about being able to see the water drops, but they will presumably be from 100 to 200 feet above the ground so sightseers may be able to find a spot where they get a good view of the demonstrations.
Airstrike Firefighters is making progress toward their goal of putting seven P3 Orion air tankers formerly owned by Aero Union back into service. The aircraft have not been used on a fire since the U.S. Forest Service canceled the Aero Union contract July 29, 2011 due to the company “failing to meet its contractual obligations”, according to the agency.
The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control and the Northern Colorado Regional Airport are missing what could have been a grand public relations opportunity by not allowing the public to get close to the static displays of the aircraft. It will be a lost opportunity to educate the public about aerial firefighting. They could at least set up a designated location outside the secure fence where the taxpayers who fund these aircraft could be ENCOURAGED to see how their money is spent as the air tankers make their drops. And further, it would have been possible to allow the public to go 150 feet or so out onto the ramp where they could walk around the three of four aircraft and talk to the pilots and crews. Air shows do this, and the Aerial Firefighting Conferences at Sacramento, Europe, and Australia do it as well, allowing hundreds of people out on the ramp. Portable barriers could be set up and volunteers or wildland firefighters could ensure that the visitors stay within the established viewing areas.
As you can see in the photo below, it is possible for the media to record interviews while others walk around the aircraft.
Below are quotes from a KSN interview of agricultural pilot Bill Garrison, one of the seven pilots that Kansas can draw upon to operate a SEAT as needed now that they have gone through a day of field and tactical training.
The quicker you are on top of the fire, fighting it, the better results you have.
When we get a phone call, we go dump water on the fire.
Flames were over the cockpit of the airplane. I was flying at night.
On August 14 a Single Engine Air Tanker made a forced hard landing while working on the Horns Mountain Fire in Northern Washington. The pilot was transported to a hospital.
Air Spray USA, Inc, the company that owns the aircraft, stated:
The aircraft experienced an unknown problem on the fire it was working near the US/Canadian border. The pilot executed a forced landing on a logging road and was able to exit the aircraft. He was transported to the hospital. No other information is available at this time. An investigation is in process.
Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz said on Twitter that the pilot is OK and receiving medical attention.
KXLY reported that the Department of Natural Resources told them the pilot survived the crash and was able to crawl to a nearby road to get help.
The aircraft was one of five amphibious FireBoss air tankers assigned to the fire Tuesday.
The lightning-caused fire has burned 832 acres in Washington southeast of Christina Lake, BC since it started August 11.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Robert. Typos or errors, report them HERE.
Above: Screenshot from video shot by Jim Watson, Pilot of T-850 GB Aerial Applications, over the Horse Park Fire.
Jim Watson, pilot of the GB Aerial Applications single engine air tanker T-850, shot this video while flying over and dropping retardant on the Horse Park Fire in southwest Colorado May 28, 2018. He was working with Lead 28.