The tail rotor of a Bell 412 struck a tree while it was attempting to refill its water bucket February 26, 2019 in the northwest part of Spain. The firefighting helicopter (EC-MAQ) operated by Babcock settled upright in a couple of feet of water in the Narcea River in Belmonte de Miranda, Asturias (map).
Photos show damage to the tail rotor. There were no reported injuries.
From Waypoint Airmed & Rescue, dated May 26, 2014:
A pilot was killed when the AT802 plane she was flying crashed into a hillside during a firefighting mission in Almeria, Spain, at around 14:20 hrs on 25 May. The 40-year-old woman, named in reports as Sonia Morales Martínez, was part of an INFOCA team tackling a wildfire in the Sierra de Los Filabres in the Serón area. INFOCA released a statement of condolence to the pilot’s family, noting that she had extensive experience in aerial firefighting including over 5,000 hours’ flight time on this model of plane. She also served as a flight instructor.
Witnesses reported seeing unusual movements in the plane’s tail before it fell to the ground and burst into flames. It is believed that the pilot was killed on impact.
A Spanish language article about the accident can be found at ABCandalucia.
Our sincere condolences go out to the friends, co-workers,and family of Ms. Martinez.
Airbus Military has begun tests near Cordoba, Spain of a C295 aircraft modified as an air tanker. The flights went well, according to the company, and further tests are planned in the near future to make a more detailed analysis of the C295 as a firefighter aircraft.
The C295 looks similar to the C-27J but it has less impressive performance. According to Wikipedia (see the links above) the payload capacity of the C295 is about 5,000 pounds less and the engines have 57 percent of the horsepower of the C-27J. It would probably carry about 400 gallons less retardant than the C-27J, with a capacity of around 1,400 to 1,700 gallons is our guess.
Rumor has it that France is considering replacing their fleet of Conair Turbocats, which are retrofitted Grumman S-2 Trackers.