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.

Photos of aircraft on the Elephant Butte Fire, part 5 of 5

Tanker 101, an MD-87 (N291EA) Elephant Butte Fire
Tanker 101, an MD-87 (N291EA), on the Elephant Butte Fire southwest of Denver, July 13, 2020. Photo by skippyscage.com.

The Elephant Butte Fire burned about 50 acres on steep terrain southwest of Denver two miles northwest of Evergreen Lake, Colorado. It was reported around 3 p.m. on Monday July 13 and the spread was stopped at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday July 14 by good work from firefighters in the air and on the ground, with a big assist from rain.

Skippyscage.com got some great photos of the aircraft battling the blaze, both while they were over the fire and at the air tanker base at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (JEFFCO) northwest of Denver. With his permission, we will showing you some of his shots in five installments.

Today we are featuring Tanker 101 (N292EA), an MD-87 operated by Erickson Aero Tanker.

Tanker 101, an MD-87 (N291EA) Elephant Butte Fire
Tanker 101, an MD-87 (N291EA), dropping on the Elephant Butte Fire southwest of Denver, July 13, 2020. Photo by skippyscage.com.
Tanker 101, an MD-87 (N291EA), dropping on the Elephant Butte Fire
Tanker 101, an MD-87 (N291EA), dropping on the Elephant Butte Fire southwest of Denver, July 13, 2020. Photo by skippyscage.com.

Click here to see the series of five installments of photos of aircraft on the Elephant Butte Fire, posted daily from July 17 through July 21, 2020.


Here are more photos of Tanker 101 from the archives.

air tanker durango
Air tankers 101 and 103 at Durango, CO May 28, 2018. Photo by Dave Herdman.
Air tanker 101 Moonfish Fire Florida
Air Tanker 101, an MD-87, drops on the Moonfish Fire in Big Cypress National Preserve in south Florida. It was dropping plain water, rather than retardant or another chemical, due to the sensitivity of the Everglades ecosystem. Photo by Megan Hurrell.
Tankers 105, 06, and 101
Tankers 105, 06, and 101 (L to R) at Redmond OR, June 8, 2014. Photo by Jeff Ingelse.

Two CWN large airtankers to be activated

An MD-87 and a 737

Tanker 101, an MD-87, at Jeffco
Tanker 101, an MD-87, at Jeffco, May, 2020; a sister ship to the one activated on CWN. Photo by @skippyscage

The Forest Service has activated two Call When Needed large air tankers for a 90-day Mandatory Availability Period. This is a guaranteed 90-day contract, not the typical CWN arrangement when they can work a few days and then be sent home.

Tanker 104 (an Erickson Aero Tanker MD-87) is scheduled to start today, May 30, and Tanker 137 (a Coulson B-737) will start June 1. Their administrative bases will be Porterville and McCall, respectively.

After these are on board, there will be 15 large and very large federal air tankers on duty. For the United States. In 2002 there were 44 on exclusive use contracts.

Tanker 101 on the Moonfish Fire

Air tanker 101 Moonfish Fire Florida
Air Tanker 101, an MD-87, drops on the Moonfish Fire in Big Cypress National Preserve in south Florida. It was dropping plain water, rather than retardant or another chemical, due to the sensitivity of the Everglades ecosystem. Photo by Megan Hurrell.

Air Tanker 101, an MD-87, has been working on several wildfires in Florida over the last week.

May 7-8: repositioned from Alamogordo, New Mexico to Lake City, Florida, then delivered four loads of water on the Moonfish Fire in Big Cypress National Preserve in south Florida, one on May 7 and three on May 8. It was dropping plain water, rather than retardant or another chemical, due to the sensitivity of the Everglades ecosystem. (about 320 miles south of the Lake City Airport)

May 11: Made six drops on the High Hill Fire in the Apalachicola National Forest in the Florida panhandle southwest of Tallahassee. (about 134 miles west of the Lake City Airport)

May 14: Two drops on the 36th Ave. SE Fire east of Naples in south Florida.(about 281 miles south of the Lake City Airport)

air tanker 101 sorties Florida

MD-87 air tanker lands safely after losing an engine

The crew declared an emergency and landed at Midland, Texas

Air Tanker 101 MD-87
Air Tanker 101, an MD-87, at Rapid City December 12, 2017. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

A problem with an engine on April 21 resulted in an unscheduled landing for an Erickson Aero Air MD-87 air tanker.

While Tanker 101 was returning to Alamogordo, New Mexico after dropping retardant on the Holcombe Road Fire in Crockett County Texas, the left, or number 1, engine went into an overspeed condition and had to be shut down. Matt Isley, General Manager at Erickson Aero Tanker, said as that was being done the auto-throttle decreased the thrust in the other engine. The pilot then had to override the auto-throttle to power up that engine again.

The crew declared an emergency and landed safely on one engine after diverting to Midland, Texas (MAF) as airport crash-rescue trucks stood by.

Mr. Isley said the engine itself did not fail, the problem was caused by an engine control cable.

We received a report that a lead plane followed Tanker 101 while it was en route to Midland, but Mr. Isley said he had not heard anything about that.

The company’s maintenance personnel are on scene to begin the process of replacing the engine. Erickson stores most of their spares at their facility in Madras, Oregon.

Mr. Isley said they have had an air tanker working out of Alamogordo, NM since the beginning of March.

 route of Tanker 101 April 21, 2020 engine failure Texas
The route of Tanker 101 April 21, 2020 over Texas and New Mexico.
track log Tanker 101 April 21, 2020 engine failure Texas
A portion of the track log of Tanker 101 April 21, 2020 while it was over Texas. The incident appeared to have occurred around 11:28 a.m. CDT.

This is the fourth MD-87 air tanker engine related failure of which we are aware. The other three:

Other air tankers have had engine failures, of course. It was not uncommon on the 18-cylinder P2V’S radial engines, and a DC-10 had one go out in Idaho in 2013.

Engine problems on the MD-87 are noteworthy because when they began there was an issue of retardant dispersing over the wing which left open the possibility of it being ingested into the engines. The company had an external tank, or pod, fabricated and installed below the retardant tank doors in 2017, which lowered the release point by 46 inches, mitigating the problem Kevin McLoughlin, Erickson’s Director of Air Tanker Operations said at the time.

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

Woodbury Fire burns over 44,000 acres east of Phoenix

Tanker 101 tanker 914 Woodbury Fire phoenix
The convection column at the Woodbury Fire shows the beginning of condensation at the top, becoming a pyrocumulus cloud. Tanker 914, a DC-10 is in the foreground, with Tanker 101, an MD87. Photo taken at Phoenix Gateway Airport at 3:18 p.m. MST June 18, 2019. Photo by Ty Miller.

(This article first appeared on Wildfire Today)

The Woodbury Fire 12 miles east of the Phoenix suburbs became very active on the northeast side Tuesday beginning at about 2 p.m., sending up another large column of smoke that blew off to the northeast. It added another 3,894 acres to bring the total up to 44,451 acres.

satellite photo Woodbury Fire Phoenix Arizona
Satellite photo of smoke from the Woodbury Fire east of Phoenix, Arizona at 7:31 p.m. MDT, June 18, 2019.

On Wednesday fire crews are preparing for the possibility of the fire moving north towards Roosevelt and east towards the Pinto Mine along Pinto Canyon. Firefighters will be using burnouts and existing black lines to divert fire from the Reavis Ranch, Roosevelt, and mining operations. They will continue the preparations along 500 KV power lines to make them more defensible, masticating brush and building bulldozer lines where appropriate.

Map of the perimeter Woodbury Fire Phoenix Arizona
Map of the perimeter of the Woodbury Fire at 10:41 p.m. MST June 18, 2019.

The smoke is expected to spread to the east on Saturday, becoming noticeable in Southern New Mexico and Western Texas.

wildfire smoke forecast June 19, 2019
The smoke from the Woodbury Fire is expected to blow off to the east on Wednesday into Southern New Mexico and Western Texas. The map depicts the forecast for 6 p.m. MDT June 19, 2019.

Air tankers at Medford fighting the Klamathon Fire

air tanker Medford Klamthon Fire

Above: T-93 departs Medford, Oregon for the Klamathon Fire in California. All photos by Tim Crippin July 5, 2018.

Tim Crippin took these photos July 5 of eight air tankers that were fighting the Klamathon Fire and reloading at Medford, Oregon.

As of Friday morning the fire just across the state line in California had burned approximately 8,000 acres and multiple structures. A civilian who has not yet been identified died in the fire.

air tanker Medford Klamthon Fire
T-914
air tanker Medford Klamthon Fire
T-164

Continue reading “Air tankers at Medford fighting the Klamathon Fire”

Air Tanker 101 drops on the Boxcar Fire

I hope no one was under that drop (the video on the left) by an MD-87 on the Boxcar Fire near Maupin, Oregon.

In case the video on the left does not work, try it a this link. But below is a screen grab:

MD-87 Drop
T-101, and MD-87, make a low drop on the Boxcar Fire near Maupin, Oregon, June, 2018. By Katie Hemphill-Pearcy.