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.
Plus, an opinion about keeping the public away from the static displays
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.
A spokesperson for Fort Carson, a U.S. Army base south of Colorado Springs, admits that 20 fires in the last 12 months have been a result of training activities on the base, according to KOAA. Below is an excerpt from their report:
On March 16, a fire caused by live ammunition training on a Fort Carson artillery range burned nearly 3,000 acres off Mountain Post property, destroying two homes, numerous outbuildings, and dozens of vehicles. Sunday, a wildfire caused by shooting on the Cheyenne Mountain Shooting Complex public shooting range burned more than 2,000 acres and forced the total closure of a roughly 10-mile stretch of I-25 for more than an hour.
Local residents and elected officials are wondering if there is anything the base can do to minimize the number of fires started by training, such as reducing dangerous activities during periods of elevated fire danger.
Ten years ago this month the pilot of a single engine air tanker was killed while helping firefighters on the ground contain a fire that started on Training Area 25 at Fort Carson. Wildfire Today wrote about the report released by the National Transportation Safety Board, which indicates there were very strong winds that day when Gert Marais died:
At the time of the crash, a U.S. Forest Service person on the ground who was directing the SEAT estimated that at the time of the crash the wind was out of the southwest at 30-40 knots. Winds at the Fort Carson airfield, 5 miles from the crash site, were between 20 and 40 knots from 1300 to the time of the accident at 1815.
Strong winds like occured on April 15, 2008 often indicate high wildfire danger if the relative humidity is low and the vegetation is dry.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Bean. Typos or errors, report them HERE.
Above: File photo of two Thrush 510G aircraft, a standard model and one with a dual cockpit. Thrush photo.
(Originally published at 6 p.m. MDT December 27, 2017)
The state of Georgia’s Forestry Commission has purchased two Thrush 510G Switchback single engine air tankers (SEATs).
The 510G model was introduced by Thrush in 2012 featuring a redesign of everything forward of the firewall including a different engine, the 800 shp GE H80 turbine.
The version acquired by Georgia has a dual cockpit and control systems, unusual in a SEAT, but it enables the aircraft to serve in a training role for Georgia Forestry Commission pilots.
The “Switchback” part of the name is an option which means in addition to delivering 500 gallons of water or fire retardant, it has the ability to switch from agricultural spray duties to firefighting capabilities in a matter of minutes thanks to its unique fire gate delivery system. These were the first Switchbacks delivered by Thrush, even though they have sold more than 100 510G’s.
“We’re extremely proud to be adding the Switchback to our aerial firefighting fleet,” said Georgia Forestry Commission’s director, Chuck Williams. “It boasts many advantages for our firefighting efforts and heralds an exciting new chapter in our commitment to protect and conserve the more than 24 million acres of timber land across our state. You’ll see these aircraft deployed not just for rapid fire suppression – but also in the very important role of rapid fire detection, which can sometimes make all the difference in being able to contain a wildfire, versus having it become uncontrollable.”
Specifications of the 510G:
Working speed: 90-150
Stall speed as usually landed: 55 mph
Take-off distance at 10,500 pounds: 1,500 feet
Landing Distance as Usually Landed w/Reverse: 350 feet