Skip to comments.DC-10 tanker makes emergency landing at SĒLA (Tanker 910)
Posted on 06/26/2007 12:05:20 PM PDT by BurbankKarl
A DC-10 firetanker that was fighting the White Fire near Tehachapi hit the treeline and recovered from severe turbulence, then made an emergency landing at its home base of Southern California Logistics Airport on Monday evening.
The wide-body jet, the first of its kind built to fight fires and the only one in operation, performed two drops where it did an awesome job on the fire, which was 9,100 acres Monday night, said Sean Dakin, fire information officer for state agency CAL FIRE.
With a 12,000-gallon capacity, it carries 10 times the amount of water or fire retardant as a standard S2T firefighting prop plane and has performed effectively on large-scale wildland fires, CAL FIRE officials have said.
On Monday, after helping out the 800 firefighters on the ground, the tanker started to have trouble near Bison Peak, south of Tehachapi, said Janet Upton of CAL FIRE.
It encountered severe turbulence, which caused the aircraft to descend and strike several trees, she said. The flight crew was able to apply power and fly out of the turbulence, and they safely returned to their base at Victorville.
Fire officials were standing by after the plane landed safely at SCLA at about 5:45 p.m.
There were no injuries to the crew or anyone on the ground, Upton said. The incident is under investigation, she added, which will include a complete structural examination of the aircraft.
A CAL FIRE team will be arriving today to look at the tanker, and the plane will be grounded until the investigation is completed, she said.
Rick Hatton, a partner with the planes co-developer, San Carlos-based Cargo Conversions LLC, told the Daily Press earlier in the day about the tankers activities on the White Fire.
After the emergency landing, Hatton did not want to comment.
I have no information at this time, he said.
The terrain at the White Fire is highly difficult to access, Dakin said.
Its a tough place to be, very steep, he said.
About 50 structures were threatened, Dakin added, with some damaged but no information yet available. A team will be going in today to assess damage.
CAL FIRE recently hired the tanker exclusively for the next three years, at about $5 million per year making the plane available for 122 days from June to October.
It has not yet been certified by the U.S. Forest Service, so on Forest Service lands, such as the site of the Angora Fire at Lake Tahoe, it is not authorized to fight fires.
hitting the tops of trees?
Oh man,, I know they have to fly pretty low to make the runs but.. damn!
I bet the crew need clean shorts after that one.
if it were such an emergency, I wonder why they didnt divert to Mojave which is far closer to the area than Victorville....
Close to San Carlos?
I sooooo wish I could watch one of those suckers on a run! That has got to be awesome!
not sure,, probably the crew’s call.
sounds like they hit a strong downthrust and powered their way out of it, damn lucky regardless. I hope they release some pics of the plane..
Unless they were in imminent danger of falling out of the sky, they probably figured landing at their home base would simplify things a lot.
San Carlos, CA? That's in the Bay Area on the Peninsula. This took place near Tehachapi in Kern County, 300 miles to the South.
Tahoe? They were fighting the Tehachapi fire.
Oops ... “never mind”.
The GUb had cleared the use of the plane near Tahoe but they didn’t get there due to smoke in that area and ended up staying at the Tehachapi.
man, what a mess, the West is a tinder box.
Could’ve been a number of considerations....
Runway weight restrictions? non-precision approach at Mojave? runway length? manned fire apparatus/station?
Mojave Max Runway Length: 9502 x 200
Victorville Max Runway Length: 15,050 ft. x 150 ft. precision instrument approach (ILS-Rwy 17/35) and a 9,138 ft. x 150 ft. runway (3/21)