Skip to comments.Editorial:(CA) Firefighting Opportunities Lost(Thanks to government bureaucrats)
Posted on 10/24/2007 7:58:35 AM PDT by kellynla
The television reporters covering the fires have been effusive about the capacities of the converted DC-10 airliner that has been dropping fire retardant on the fires in the vicinity of Lake Arrowhead, and the enthusiasm is warranted. Sometimes called the Tanker 910, and sometimes the 10 Tanker Air Carrier, the plane can carry 12,000 gallons of fire retardant or water in tanks attached under its belly. That's 10 times as much liquid as the other available California air tankers, and four times the capacity of the largest-available tankers operated by the federal government. It can create a fire line three-quarters of a mile long or drop water over a mile-long 300-feet wide swath in eight seconds. It can be refilled in eight minutes.
As Rick Hatton, managing partner for 10 Tanker Air Carrier, the jet's owner, which operates out of the Southern California Logistics Airport (formerly George AFB) in Victorville, has put it, such a firefighting weapon "can be a game-changer."
It would be nice to have more such planes available, don't you think? If the federal government had had its way, even this one almost certainly wouldn't be flying this week . Gov. Schwarzenegger cut through some red tape a few months ago to get this one lined up.
And, as useful as the Tanker 910 has shown itself to be, the U.S. Forest Service still hasn't certified this plane for use on federal lands. That's because back in 2002 there were two accidents involving planes, contracted by the Forest Service, in which the wings literally fell off. That prompted stricter certification requirements for older planes converted from civilian use (this DC-10 was built in 1974) to firefighting use. The bureaucrats are still reviewing the paperwork.
(Excerpt) Read more at ocregister.com ...
Good luck to ya kelly....godspeed
good luck on the fight
I seem to remember Shep Smith on FNC lastyear going off about junker planes, he was cussing them all
Well, if we weren’t in Iraq, we could have enough of these planes to kill any fire. Oh, and have health care for the children too.
The DC-10 would likely have higher maintenance costs per flight hour, and higher fuel costs, but if they don't use them every day, then that cost would not be as significant as the savings from being able to kill a fire while the fire is still small
Well, first off it’s made in Canada. Actually, that’s the only reason. It’s proven, reliable and relatively cheap, but...
(see at http://www.bombardier.com/index.jsp?id=3_0&lang=en&file=/en/3_0/3_3/3_3_0.html)
Also, the -10 appears much more stable,, I don't know the altitude they let it operate at but with 12000 gallons accuracy might not be utterly necessary.
IIRC, those fire bombers that fell apart a few years ago were, I believe, C130's and likely much older than the DC10 in use today only on waivers. USAF has been flying the KC-10 hot and heavy for decades - that's also a modified ex-commercial aircraft and I'm not aware of any serious structural issues.
True, that little plane carries a smaller load, but it refills itself in 40 seconds while skimming the surface of any body of water long (a couple of miles) and wide(100feet) enough, and it only needs to land for fuel and crew changes.
That means FAR less time flying to and from the fire, landing, loading, flying back etc. I’d lay odds that given there’s a rather large body of water close by, one of those little planes could put more water on the fire in 4 hours than that great bloody DC-10 could dream of.
The world's largest and fastest waterbomber can reach a fire anywhere in the world within 12 hours. Carrying 42,000 litres (11,000 gal. US) of water and fire retardants, it can, in one run, dump enough water to cover 6 double-wide football fields, or an area 1.1km (0.7 miles) in length.
Thanks...pinging my little list.
Not enough lakes....we got a desert out here.
Thank you for volunteering, kellynla.
Duncan Hunter has been behind the scenes working to correct this.
Plenty of water up near the LAKE Arrowhead fires....
That means FAR less time flying to and from the fire, landing, loading, flying back etc. Id lay odds that given theres a rather large body of water close by, one of those little planes could put more water on the fire in 4 hours than that great bloody DC-10 could dream of."
Yes, exactly my point. That DC10 has to take off, fly to the fire some miles away, drop it's 12,000 gallons of water/retardant, fly back to the airport some miles away, land, taxi, refill, taxi, wait for clearance, take off and repeat.
The Bombardier 415, or Superscooper, just needs a body of water long enough to allow it to swoop in, refill in like 40 seconds, and climb back to altitude, it's a total touch and go, they hardly slow down. That's also why I said "fleet", you get 10 of these things in a row and you could dump massive amounts of water on a fire.
They are also built like a tank and are specifically engineered for firefighting, unlike a retrofitted civilian airliner. Hence the turboprop design. You won't see the wings of these things twist off like that C-130.
The Canadair product has the edge for fighting fires near large bodies of water, because they can get more water to the fire over a day than a land-based tanker. There is another plane on the scene that has the advantages of both- it’s a flying boat that carries foam concentrate and fills up by skimming.
The plane has quite a history- it’s essentially an updated version of the piston-engined Canadair CL-215. The 215 was developed using lessons learned from converting the navy’s WWII Canso bombers to firefighting aircraft, the first serious effort at using aircraft to fight fires. The 415 is pretty much the gold standard for forest firefighting wherever there is a large body of fresh water nearby (IIRC they’re not designed to carry seawater).
I'd call the KC-10 a derivative of the DC-10. None of the KC-10 airframes were previously airlines. They were built and sold directly to the USAF as airiel refulers. The article makes it sound like these fire tankers are old airliners.
They can’t get as close to a fire as the smaller craft due to the wind sear and thermals from the fire.
These can literally rip the wings off the larger craft which are not designed for the air loads seen.
That’s why a lot of fire fighting aircraft are old bombers, helicopters, or purpose built aircraft; they can take the stress.
It’s not as simple as it looks folks.
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