Photos of P-3 Orion air tankers at McClellan

Also: A DC-10 and Coulson’s most recently converted C-130

Above: Air tanker 23 testing at McClellan.

When Sergio Maraschin saw our article about Airstrike Firefighters signing a call when needed contract with Colorado for their P-3 air tankers, he realized we needed some more current photos of the recently refurbished aircraft. He took these at various times over the last six weeks at Sacramento McClellan Airport.

The article linked to above has the details about Airstrike’s recent projects.

Thanks Sergio!

P-3 Orion air tanker T-23 T-17 T-912
Air tankers 17, 23, and 910.
P-3 Orion air tanker T-23
Air tanker 23, over McClellan.

Coulson’s T-134, a C-130Q, has come a very long way since April, 2017. Check out these photos, here and here, taken as the project was just getting started. It is amazing what private industry can do in 16 months when they want to convert an aircraft into an air tanker. The Air Force dithered for almost five years when they were supposed to be converting seven former Coast guard HC-130H aircraft into air tankers for the U.S. Forest Service, and never fully completed any of them. Now it appears the state of California will get the reborn air tankers, when and if the USAF completes the work.

T-134 C-130 Coulson
This is T-134, Coulson’s most recently converted C-130Q air tanker. Brett Coulson told us as far as they are concerned it is ready to fight fire. They intend to wait until after the fire season to paint it.

Photos of DC-10 air tankers at McClellan

And, a 737 air tanker

Above: T-911, a DC-10, at McClellan October 13, 2017, by Sergio Maraschin.

Sergio Maraschin sent us these photos that he took of DC-10 air tankers at Sacramento McClellan Airport in 2017.

DC-10 air tanker
T-910 at McClellan October 10, 2017, by Sergio Maraschin
DC-10 air tanker
T-910 at McClellan July 30, 2017, by Sergio Maraschin

Thanks Sergio!

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UPDATED at 11:40 MT February 16, 2018. 

A person who prefers that we not disclose their name sent us this photo of one of Coulson’s freshly painted 737 air tankers at McClellan.

Air Tanker 138 737
Coulson’s Air Tanker 138, a 737, at McClellan, January 30, 2018.

Articles on Fire Aviation tagged 737.

Perfect photography of an air tanker drop

The DC-10 was dropping on the La Tuna Fire in Southern California on September 2, 2017.

Helicopter photographer Kevin Takumi shows the perfect technique for filming an air tanker drop. He zooms in close at first on Air Tanker 910, a DC-10, then at the completion of the drop zooms out so you can see where the retardant lands.

Here’s a few more aerial firefighting videos:

Continue reading “Perfect photography of an air tanker drop”

Two DC-10’s at Medford

Above: Air Tankers 910 departs from Medford, July 28, 2017, en route to the Lake Fire in northeast California. Photo by Tim Crippin.

(Originally published at 6:43 p.m. MDT July 30, 2017.)

Tim Crippin shot these photos of two DC-10 air tankers, T-910 and T-911, at Medford July 28. He said they were working the Lake Fire, part of the Modoc July Complex of fires in northeast California.

Air Tankers 910 911 Medford
Air Tankers 910 and 911 at Medford, July 28, 2017. Photo by Tim Crippin.

Thanks Tim!

Infrared video of DC-10 drop

The fire was just a few miles from the DC-10’s base at Richmond, northwest of Sydney, New South Wales.

This infrared video, shot from a New South Wales Rural Fire Service aircraft, shows a DC-10 air tanker dropping on a wildfire in Australia. In the normal video the aircraft disappears in the smoke, but after switching to IR it can be seen again. The water or retardant it drops shows up as black, much cooler than the fire which is white.

In addition to the drop, there is fascinating IR footage of thousands of burning embers being blown downwind. A spot fire can be easily seen thanks to the IR soon after it starts. It later grows very large.

A DC-10 is dropping an alternative to retardant on wildfires in Australia

Above: Tanker 910 dropping on the Londonderry Fire in New South Wales. Screen grab from the video.

On November 14 we posted a video of Air Tanker 910, a DC-10, dropping what we thought was water on the Londonderry Fire in New South Wales where it is working on a contract during the Australian summer.

We heard from John Gould, Business Development Manager at 10 Tanker Air Carrier that operates the three DC-10 air tankers, letting us know that it was not water:

Thanks for your great coverage on fires in Australia. In the video you posted yesterday, the DC-10 wasn’t dropping water, but instead a “gel” made by Blaze Tamer. We’ve been asked to drop it on about 50% of the fires we’ve had in NSW this year, and our pilots seem to like it, mostly in terms of the consistent pattern they’re getting on the ground when compared to water.

A few other air tankers have the ability to drop gel including the reborn 747 and the Martin Mars.

The BlazeTamer website claims it is a “short-term fire retardant”.

Here are some excerpts from their site:

BlazeTamer380™ is especially beneficial for any type of air attack, including helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. It is well suited to provide accurate and reduced drop zone footprint by reducing drift caused by strong winds by up to 71%.

The unique formulation of BlazeTamer380™ creates an excellent fire break by penetrating Class A materials to increase the moisture content of the fuel, thus inhibiting ignition.

A revolutionary fire fighting weapon BlazeTamer380™ guarantees safe handling for fire fighters and is proven harmless to humans, animals and vegetation. BlazeTamer380™ is not a Gel or a Foam and it is totally noncorrosive. (includes Intergranular testing for the aviation industry.)

Tankers 910 and 132 respond to fires in New South Wales

Air Tanker 910, the DC-10 that arrived in Australia October 30, responded to a wildfire that was within sight of where it is based at the Royal Australian Air Force Base in Richmond (map), 40 miles west of Sydney, Australia. It is working on a contract with New South Wales during their summer bushfire season.

10 Tanker Air Carrier published the above photo on their Facebook page, with the caption:

This is a picture of our first fire in Australia this year. We were asked to fly two missions on the fire, taking a total of less than 30 minutes of flight time. We hear about fires right off the end of the runway all the time….but they don’t get much closer than this.

Below is a slow-motion video of T-910 dropping, posted on the Facebook page of the Wallacia Rural Fire Brigade November 4, 2016 (U.S. time).

The photo below was posted on Facebook by the Wallacia Rural Fire Brigade. Coulson’s Tanker 132, an L-382G, started its contract in New South Wales on September 6, 2016.

tanker 132
Tanker 132 drops on the Llandilo bushfire in Australia, November 4, 2016 (U.S. time) Photo by Wallacia Rural Fire Brigade.