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beau222
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DC-10 Fire Tanker

Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:29 pm

What a sight to see this plane in action, under different circustances this would have been an awesome thing to see in real life. Question is I have seen two videos that show the DC-10 in action and in each one there looks like a small chase or being chased plane that is in the lead. Is this a normal thing or just something on these videos where they act like a marker guiding the plane to a drop zone?

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=1a7_1193165376
 
a300
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:33 pm

The other aircraft is probably the spotter.
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lrdc9
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Thu Oct 25, 2007 10:33 pm

Personally, I love the orange paint! Looks spicy.
Just say NO to scabs.
 
freshlove1
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 12:24 am

How in the world do they refill it? does it drop a scoop and pick up the water from a lake or do they have to land and refill it on the ground then go back up?
 
wjcandee
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 12:34 am

There's already a lot on this aircraft (Tanker 910) on the forums and on the internet.

It lands and refills at an airport. It can turn in less than half an hour. CalFire likes it because it has the same kind of Erickson Skycrane gravity drop tank as the helicopters do, albeit one that's much larger, and therefore uses the same "coverage level" nomenclature as a familiar piece of equipment.

The little plane you see is the lead aircraft. It is traditional to have a guide aircraft lead any tanker into the fire zone and line it up over the drop area. Even though the DC10 is much bigger, they use this procedure with the DC10 as well. Indeed, one of the tests that they ran with the thing was how well it could coordinate with the lead plane.
 
AmtrakGuy
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 12:46 am

I'm curious -- do they fill the DC10 full (whole fuseage where passengers used to sit and cargo holding) with water (or special fire-fighting water)?? If so, does DC10 needs a long runway to take off? Because filling up the DC10 with water is way heavy than with passengers and cargo.

Anyone can provide me a link to a website I can view inside the DC10 water tank?

Thanks so much in advance.

Dave
 
Boston92
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 12:58 am

Quoting AmtrakGuy (Reply 5):
Because filling up the DC10 with water is way heavy than with passengers and cargo.

Yeah, but it is made up with the reduced fuel.
"Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?"
 
AmtrakGuy
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:09 am

Quoting Boston92 (Reply 6):
Quoting AmtrakGuy (Reply 5):
Because filling up the DC10 with water is way heavy than with passengers and cargo.

Yeah, but it is made up with the reduced fuel.

ahhh..didn't think of that.....they usually fly out from nearst airport after filling up the tank (rather than where they're based if it was in North California or Aroniza). Thanks Boston92.
 
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beau222
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:14 am

OK I did not know this, I was under the impression that the fuselage is where the retardant was housed.
http://www.fire.ca.gov/newsreleases_...2006archive/Tanker910factsheet.pdf
 
rfields5421
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:32 am

To summarize the notes

The tanker carries 50 tons of water - about 12,000 gallons - in three separate EXTERNAL belly tanks. It takes 8 minutes ot refill the tanks on the ground - they have to land after each drop.

That is about the amount of water of 10 regular S2T tankers.

A Beech King Air E-90 flies lead and guides the DC-10 into it's drop zones.

The DC-10 does not try to apply specific pinpoint drops on active fires - but lays down large areas of retardant mix to create fire barriers. There is apparently a plan to try direct application with gel at some point this year.

It's not stated - but I would expect the aircraft flies at a relatively light weight compared to it's past commercial passenger weight or a similar aircraft cargo weight / MTOW. Though the aircraft drops 100,000 pounds of retardant - they want it at a light enough weight as far as fuel to make quick landings and a fast turn around.

(Air Force fuel tankers do not replace fuselage volume with liquid - no plane could lift such weight. They may have some extra tanks but the interior is largely empty. Remember for aircraft - weight is everything)
 
Arcrftlvr
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:54 am

Evidently, when the plane was making the drop on the Lake Arrowhead fire, it hit some wind shear and the lowered flaps almost hit the tree tops. What a disaster that could've been. Did anyone else hear this?
 
hawaiian717
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:59 am

Quoting AmtrakGuy (Reply 7):
rather than where they're based if it was in North California or Aroniza

The aircraft is based in Victorville, which is in Southern California.
 
wjcandee
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:01 am

Quoting ArcrftLvr (Reply 10):
Evidently, when the plane was making the drop on the Lake Arrowhead fire, it hit some wind shear and the lowered flaps almost hit the tree tops.

They did hit the tree tops. There's some media coverage of it and I believe a discussion of it here. They bent the leading edges and the thing was out of commission for several days while it was fixed. They determined that the situation was unusual, and have taken some steps to try to keep it from happening again. Had the thing crashed, it would have been the end of the larger-tanker program for sure. It was *very* close.
 
PlanenutzTB
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:28 am

Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 12):
They did hit the tree tops. There's some media coverage of it and I believe a discussion of it here. They bent the leading edges and the thing was out of commission for several days while it was fixed. They determined that the situation was unusual, and have taken some steps to try to keep it from happening again. Had the thing crashed, it would have been the end of the larger-tanker program for sure. It was *very* close.

I live in So Cal and have listen to a number of experts on fire fighting. Many have been critical of the DC-10 for fighting fires. There opinions are that the DC-10 was not designed to fly that slow and low in smoky conditions and mountain terrain. They feel the DC-10 is a disaster waiting to happen. If the DC-10 goes down hundreds of fire fighters on the ground could be killed.
I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.
 
FlagshipAZ
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:48 am

Planenutz, I'm a native Angeleno, having lived in the greater LA area for 25+ years, and I too have seen the fires of the past & listened to the experts. If many are critical of the DC-10 fighting fires, the property & home owners are not. The firefighters knew the risk taking the job, which involves working with water-bombers. Granted, the DC-10 was never designed to fight fires, but neither were the majority of other aircraft doing the same job albeit on a smaller scale. Only one aircraft, the CL-215/415 family was built for this purpose.
If the DC-10 goes down (God forbid), there will be loss of life, but "hundreds" of firefighters is doubtful, since all firefighters are spread thru-out the fireline.
The DC-10 is doing a dangerous job for certain, but the risks are worth it and rewarding, if not calculated.
Regards.
"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." --Ben Franklin
 
threepoint
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:55 am

Quoting PlanenutzTB (Reply 13):
I live in So Cal and have listen to a number of experts on fire fighting. Many have been critical of the DC-10 for fighting fires. There opinions are that the DC-10 was not designed to fly that slow and low in smoky conditions and mountain terrain. They feel the DC-10 is a disaster waiting to happen. If the DC-10 goes down hundreds of fire fighters on the ground could be killed.

Yeah, sure they're experts. The DC-10 (and any airtanker aircraft) is not operating outside the envelope for which it was designed. It's simply flying a different mission for which it was designed. As are almost all other firefighting aircraft (the CL-215/415, Beriev 200 and AT-802 are notable exceptions). The smoke in the air has nothing to do with flight characteristics, save for obscuring visibility.
I have my opinions on using a large expensive and thirsty aircraft for firefighting use. Given a choice between one large (DC-10) airtanker or ten S-2's or four P-3's, etc, I will take the flexibility of multiple aircraft any time. The main drawbacks are the loss of efficiency when using such an airplane and the expense of operating a jet airplane at low altitudes on short turnarounds.
The DC-10 is not a 'disaster waiting to happen' any more than any other aircraft. Should one actually crash on or near the fireline, the chances of killing several hundred people are so slim as to be preposterous. The only way I can see that happening is of they were actually aboard, which of course doesn't happen.
For those wondering what the interiors of the airtankers look like, imagine all the seats, upholstery, overhead bins and liners removed with nothing but the structural ribs and stringers visible. There are some cross-braces for strengthening due to mounting of the retardant tank on some of the larger aircraft. Quite boring, really.

I haven't claimed to be an expert on anything on this website, however I am when it comes to aerial firefighting. That's what I do.
The nice thing about a mistake is the pleasure it gives others.
 
UAL-Fan
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:26 am

From a thankful San Diegan, THANKS GUYS, my hats off to the people that fly this amazing beautiful machine. I get overwhelmed with emotion every time I see it in action. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!
 
bennett123
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:48 am

Threepoint

I understood that the AT802 was designed as a crop duster, not for firefighting.

Whilst the only effect of the smoke is on visability, surely the heat patterns and the winds/downdraughts that they generate must be a hazard that was not part of the initial design. That said the AT802 was designed for strength not beauty.

David
 
BHXFAOTIPYYC
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 12:38 pm

There is also a 747 that does a similar job. EVERGREEN AVIATION



Nozzles
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dvincent
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 12:58 pm

I'm surprised people are concerned about the DC-10's handling in this situation. Remember, this is the same kind of plane that did barrel rolls to put a hijacker out of commission (and that plane is still flying today).
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mestrugo
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:05 pm

Quoting BHXFAOTIPYYC (Reply 18):
There is also a 747 that does a similar job. EVERGREEN AVIATION

There was. I read on a recent thread that the 747 doesn't operate as a tanker anymore:

http://firebomberpublications.blogsp...supertanker-heads-into-sunset.html
 
wjcandee
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:30 pm

As to the 747, I read most recently that they may reapply for contracts in 2008, after the gov't screwed them last year, AFTER they got FAA approval and USFS carding and contract. The tanks and nozzles can be reinstalled quickly; it's designed to fly as a freighter in the offseason, as many other fire tankers do. The tanks and nozzles go back in easily; they are mounted on skids for easy installation and removal. It can fly offseason as a freighter because its tanks are INTERNAL unlike the DC10 freighter.
 
BHXFAOTIPYYC
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:38 pm

Quoting Mestrugo (Reply 20):

Weird. Their website refers to it in the present tense, but then we all know how up to date some sites can be.
Breakfast in BHX, lunch in FAO, dinner in TIP, baggage in YYC.
 
hangarrat
Posts: 428
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:14 pm

Quoting Dvincent (Reply 19):
Remember, this is the same kind of plane that did barrel rolls to put a hijacker out of commission (and that plane is still flying today).

Any more info?
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dvincent
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:39 pm

Quoting HangarRat (Reply 23):

Any more info?


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riyadhnurse
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:32 pm

Absolutely remarkable airmanship. Given all the danger,and the unstable winds present. God bless all those brave souls involved in this heroic effort,and to all affected by this tragedy. Prayers & good wishes to all.  pray 
Tongue-tied and twisted,just an earthbound misfit,I.
 
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lightsaber
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:52 pm

The DC-10 did an amazing job in slowing many of the fires. Quite bluntly, on drop does far more in halting a flame front than 10 dispersed drops. The FAA and forest department need to get a little more flexible in allowing the tankers to earn more cash in the non-fire seasons so that more are made.

Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 9):
Air Force fuel tankers do not replace fuselage volume with liquid - no plane could lift such weight. They may have some extra tanks but the interior is largely empty. Remember for aircraft - weight is everything

Exactly. Liquid is heavy. 50tons of liquid is quite a bit of payload for a DC-10! Yes, the range will be short, but I doubt it will every have to fly more than 200nm from a base airport.

Quoting FlagshipAZ (Reply 14):
If many are critical of the DC-10 fighting fires, the property & home owners are not.

 checkmark  How many homes were saved by this plane?

Quoting Threepoint (Reply 15):
The DC-10 is not a 'disaster waiting to happen' any more than any other aircraft.

This is worth its own discussion. Firefighting planes are regularly lost. The business is inherently dangerous. But a DC-10 will have more margin, after dumping 50T, than many of the existing frames.  spin 

Quoting Mestrugo (Reply 20):
There was. I read on a recent thread that the 747 doesn't operate as a tanker anymore:

Bummer. Talk about putting a stop to the fire.

Thanks to all those who are fighting the fires.

Lightsaber
"They did not know it was impossible, so they did it!" - Mark Twain
 
threepoint
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RE: DC-10 Fire Tanker

Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:09 pm

Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 17):
I understood that the AT802 was designed as a crop duster, not for firefighting.

I should clarify: the AT-802F was designed for a firefighting role. As is the yet-to-fly AT-1002.

Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 17):
Whilst the only effect of the smoke is on visability, surely the heat patterns and the winds/downdraughts that they generate must be a hazard that was not part of the initial design.

Smoke does not generate heat patterns, winds nor downdrafts. Smoke is merely uncombusted material being thrown aloft by the heat given off by the combustion of said material. The turbulence created by the heating of burning fuels is very real, but has no more negative effect on an aircraft than mechanical, clear air or any other form of turbulence found while flying any type of missions.

Quoting Dvincent (Reply 19):
I'm surprised people are concerned about the DC-10's handling in this situation. Remember, this is the same kind of plane that did barrel rolls to put a hijacker out of commission

The ability to barrel roll has um, limited use in firefighting. Nobody questions the 'handling' of the DC-10. I personally question its cost-effectiveness and its ability to climb its way to safety when working low-level in mountain valleys. I wonder how it would fare in the Pacific Northwest, BC or much of Idaho, Montana, Colorado, etc.

Quoting Lightsaber (Reply 26):
Quite bluntly, on drop does far more in halting a flame front than 10 dispersed drops.

Really? Please explain this to me. Be as technical as you wish, this is what I do for a living.

Quoting Lightsaber (Reply 26):
The FAA and forest department need to get a little more flexible in allowing the tankers to earn more cash in the non-fire seasons so that more are made.

I suggest reading the Blue Ribbon Panel Report following the 2002 airtanker crashes. I'll try to post a link, but a good place to start looking is the USFS Fire & Aviation website or on the airtanker.com site.

Quoting Lightsaber (Reply 26):
This is worth its own discussion. Firefighting planes are regularly lost. The business is inherently dangerous.

No more so than most of the thousand types of flying out there. We can attribute almost all airtanker accidents to faulty aircrew judgement or faulty maintenance that led to inflight strutural failures. Very rarely do error-free pilots put a perfectly functional airplane into the trees.

Quoting Lightsaber (Reply 26):
Bummer. Talk about putting a stop to the fire.

Not the 747 with the aft-mounted pressure nozzles. Not at all. One thing the DC-10 developers did right was installing the tank system it uses. It's infinitely more capable of delivering the correct amount of retardant in the correct place. Which is after all, the point of the exercise.
The nice thing about a mistake is the pleasure it gives others.

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