N1120A
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:15 am

Quoting Boston92 (Reply 49):

Do you know how many trips a day 910 can do?

Depends on how far from VCV it is flying. It only takes 8 minutes to load the 3 tanks, and you can likely fuel the aircraft at the same time. Still, things like brake cooling, etc. have to be monitored. I am guessing that they are reasonable on a 90 minute turn around to Running Springs.

Quoting Boston92 (Reply 49):
So the cost to operate 910 is above and beyond the yearly cost the state pays it anyway?

Well, that is true even in fire season. 910 is surcharged at $5500 per hour above and beyond the $5 million a year. I don't know what they are charging now, but the rate last year was about $26,500 per hour.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
dw747400
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:20 am

Quoting AlaskaAirMD83 (Reply 37):
Could it be that the lakes we have out here in So Cal are too small, or in too dangerous of an environment to operate these effectively? Would one of these be able to operate out of a lake say the size of Big Bear?

IIRC, the Mars takes about 1 to 1.5 miles of clear water for a pickup run, depending on the terrain. Its actually leaving for CA in a few hours, though apparently on a private contract and not as an "official" member of the fire-bombing force currently in use. The state of CA has been reluctant to hire the big old bird in the past, but if the news reports are right someone with deep pockets decided they didn't care if it was a WWII US Navy plane with more than 50 years of service--they just want lots of water and foam!
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11Bravo
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:23 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 47):
Ask the firefighters on the ground and they won't agree with you.

You're wrong, and I don't have to ask anyone. I'm a senior staff member of a USFS Type-1 Incident Command Team. I have almost 20 years experience as a wildland firefighter including six years in SoCal on the Los Padres and Angeles National Forests.

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 47):
They would love to have 10 of those DC10s in the air this morning. Some of these fires would be OUT if that were the case.

I would suggest to you that's just not true. Air Attack doesn't put fires out. At the end of the day, hand crews and engine crews put fires out. Air assets moderate the intensity of fires so that ground crews can do their work.
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Spacepope
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:27 am

Quoting Transpac787 (Reply 21):
Yea, we have quite a few of them in Colorado that were used in our huge forrest fires a couple years back. Our USAF Reserve squadron at Peterson AFB has I think 12x of them that they regularly use to fight fires.

There were 4 C-130s that left Peterson this morning for Cali. 2 were with the MAFF kit, the other two were for support missions. Local news here in the springs said 2 more from North Carolina, and one of the Dakotas were en route.
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Flighty
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:20 am

That DC-10 better be careful in the winds. They came within a hare's breath of losing their ass earlier this year! That was as close as it gets! Hitting tree-tops with the wings of a DC-10.... Oh my.... time to back off a little bit. Otherwise you're going to be adding accelerants and DC-10 bits to the fire.

[Edited 2007-10-23 20:21:14]
 
Boston92
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:47 am

Quoting Flighty (Reply 54):
Hitting tree-tops with the wings of a DC-10.... Oh my.... time to back off a little bit.

For some reason, I thought that happened while on approach to land, but I might be wrong.
 
11Bravo
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:58 am

Quoting Boston92 (Reply 55):
For some reason, I thought that happened while on approach to land, but I might be wrong.

It happened during a retardant drop on the White Fire near Tehachapi, CA earlier this year.

NTSB Preliminary Report:

http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20070703X00873&key=1
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A342
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:11 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 38):
That depends. Here in California, we have massive Sikorsky S-64 Skycranes, Erickson/Sikorsky S-64 Aircranes, and Bell 204s, which are scooping helicopters that carry far more than a typical bucket chopper. They are also able to operate in conditions that fixed wing aircraft are not able. A combination of resources is essential.

From what I've read, the Italians found out that the Be-200 could operate safely in conditions which were no-go areas for other aircraft and helos (including the S-64).
It is twice as fast and carries twice the load compared to the CL-415. A hell of a firefighter!

But instead of arguing which aircraft are best suited for particular tasks, can we agree that anything they can get their hands on is useful right now?
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
ikramerica
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:31 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 48):
That isn't necessarily true. Again, those tankers have a very specific task, which is to prevent spread. They aren't good at putting fires out. Further, if winds are pushing fires in different directions or keeping the DC-10 from being able to fly as low as needed, then they have little use. Again, smaller, more versatile aircraft are what is needed.

Read my post again. I talk about the morning being the best time, with the lowest winds.

Quoting 11Bravo (Reply 52):
I would suggest to you that's just not true. Air Attack doesn't put fires out. At the end of the day, hand crews and engine crews put fires out. Air assets moderate the intensity of fires so that ground crews can do their work.

Well obviously that is the case. The air drop will help "kill" it, and then the ground crews can get in to mop it up and keep it from reflaring. And the larger the dump at one time, the less likely it is to spread or flare back up.

And while I'm not going to argue against your life experience, you are honestly trying to tell us that the DC10 thanker is not a valuable tool and that you don't want any more of them? Really? Because all I said was that it was a valuable tool, one of MANY, and the ground crews would like to have more of them as they can be really valuable when the conditions are right to get the upper hand on a situation. And I have the opinions of commanders interviewed this week on my side...

Maybe the planes are not useful in wildfires in the National forests like Angeles where the terrain is harsh and mountains steep, but we are also talking arson fires in foothills and residential areas as well, where the terrain is flatter, the winds quite different, the priorities different, and where your life experience may not match the situation on the ground.
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Mortyman
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:33 pm

Video of the DC10 on a Norwegian web newspaper:

http://nettv.aftenposten.no/player/player.php?id=6225&category_id=3
 
N1120A
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:59 pm

Quoting A342 (Reply 57):
But instead of arguing which aircraft are best suited for particular tasks, can we agree that anything they can get their hands on is useful right now?

I absolutely agree that the BE-200 is something that the State of California should purchase and operate, along with the CL-415
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
ncelhr
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:04 pm

Does anybody know how many aircraft / helicopters are currently used to fight the fires in California?

I checked on CNN and it looks to me that for the number of fires and the huge size of the areas concerned, there is a real lack of resources. Just looking at the Wikipedia page on the CL-415, I have found:

* Canada - 17 (Quebec - 8 CL-415 and Ontario - 9 CL-415)
* Croatia - 4 (CL-415) - 2 on order
* France - 13 (CL-415)
* Greece - 9 (CL-415GR - 8 and CL-415MP - 1)
* Italy - 14 (CL-415)
* Spain - 1 (CL-415)
* United States- Minnesota DNR (Department of Natural Resources) flies a mix of CL-215s and CL-415s. CAL FIRE leases 2 CL-415s from the Province of Quebec for use during the wildfire season.

That's just for the SuperScoopers. In addition, some European countries also have a mix of CL-215, various Helicopters, Conair Firecat (Retrofitted Grumman S-2 Trackers), Hercules, etc. There are also bilateral agreements around the Mediterranean to share equipment, something which has been seen this summer in Greece. Even the Russian ministry of Emergency Situations sent aerial ressources there! Lessons were learnt from past disasters in the 80s and 90s.

Seeing the heartbreaking images on TV, I can't help but having the feeling that there seems to be a real lack of aerial firefighting resources that can be mobilised quickly before things get out of control, and it looks to me as though this time round, things got seriously out of control.
 
FlagshipAZ
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:31 pm

Per CNN, there are 23 fixed-wing aircraft & at least 50 helicopters fighting the fires in CA. One of the Martin Mars is supposely coming down from Canada to help out. But I'll believe that when I see the video of this giant bird dropping water on the fires.
God, please send them some rain...
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pnwtraveler
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:41 pm

Yes one of the two Martin Mars left Sproat Lake on Vancouver Island just outside Port Alberni. It isn't owned by the Canadian government but by a forestry company and flies under contract. I believe that the one coming to CA is the one that is leased to Hawaii in the off season and has a red tail. They are amazing birds to see moored out in the lake. I have only seen one fly once and there was a great show on TV about them but can't remember the name of it. Never seen them scoup or drop water. I believe the last two Mars flying.

The CL-415 and even the old radial CL 215 are great aircraft. I have seen the older CL215 demonstrate at the Airshow of the Canadian National Exibition in Toronto. They showed the plane scouping water from Lake Ontario then dropping it on a barge that had a bonfire lit on it. It was a smoking hot day and the wind carried the mist over the shore and was amazing how much it cooled the air. One drop and the fire was out.
 
GPIARFF
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:53 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 47):
They would love to have 10 of those DC10s in the air this morning. Some of these fires would be OUT if that were the case. The others, that can't be fought with them, would be better contained because the smaller birds could concentrate on those areas more.



Quoting 11Bravo (Reply 52):
I would suggest to you that's just not true. Air Attack doesn't put fires out. At the end of the day, hand crews and engine crews put fires out. Air assets moderate the intensity of fires so that ground crews can do their work.

I think it has to do with differences firefighting strategy. No one should argue that the fire is only declared out after the ground crews mop up and secure the line but the USFS has a different philosophy about using aerial tanker assets than most other countries with significant aerial firefighting assets. For instance the Canadian and most European Governments don't use retardant placed in front of the fire to control the growth, they use water or wet water ( water with class a foam injected) and apply it directly to the fires leading edge to cool the fire and put it out. After taming the fire with the Amphibious aircraft like the Canadair and Beriev airframes the ground crews move in and secure the lines.
In America the prevalent use of fixed wing aircraft involves retardant placed in front of the fire to slow the it down while the ground crews use natural fuel breaks, direct line, indirect line with burnouts and significant weather events to control the fire growth. The DC-10 tanker is essentially a larger version of the current firefighting force of neptune P2V's and P-3 orion aircraft with gravity dumps necessitating a low altitude drop. This is one of the drawbacks to gravity drops, you need to be low and slow (about 200' agl )for correct dispersal. The Evergreen 747 was designed with a pressurized tank system and can dump from up to 800' agl with good coverage. This allows it to fly above alot of the fire created turbulence and can allow it to fight the fire directly. But direct attack is not in the USFS play book and so it received lackluster support from them in the last few years of development. There isn't a large enough pool of local government contracts to support the 747 program so when it became obvious that the USFS wouldn't use it it was KIlled as a project.


Gpiarff
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md90fan
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Thu Oct 25, 2007 1:05 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 38):
Here in California, we have massive Sikorsky S-64 Skycranes, Erickson/Sikorsky S-64 Aircranes, and Bell 204s

S-70s are helping out too:

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e118/kebandy/Fire%20Oct%202007/100_8519.jpg

Here are the Quebec Twins:

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e118/kebandy/Fire%20Oct%202007/100_8546.jpg
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11Bravo
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Thu Oct 25, 2007 10:46 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 58):
And while I'm not going to argue against your life experience, you are honestly trying to tell us that the DC10 thanker is not a valuable tool and that you don't want any more of them? Really? Because all I said was that it was a valuable tool, one of MANY, and the ground crews would like to have more of them as they can be really valuable when the conditions are right to get the upper hand on a situation. And I have the opinions of commanders interviewed this week on my side...

These aircraft are not completely useless, and you are correct that there are situations where they are a reasonably good tool, but like most things, it's important to consider context.

When all is said and done, budgetary constraints define much of the context here. All things being equal, I'm sure the USFS and others would like to have whole squadrons of giant tankers, but all things are not equal. The reality is that financial resources are limited and planners must prioritize. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

If these large tankers are funded then planners must reduce other assets to pay for them. So how many hotshot crews should be cut? What about Type-III engines and helos? How many fewer of those should we have so that we can pay for the mega tankers? Should we reduce or eliminate expensive fuel management programs to fund more big tankers?

How will those reductions affect Initial Attack ops where thousands of very small fires are put out each year while they're still less than an acre?
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Revelation
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:51 pm

Quoting Boston92 (Reply 8):
Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 6):
Was that the one that "nipped" the trees awhile back?

I believe so, it actually had a good amount of damage to it.

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N1120A
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:09 pm

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 58):
you are honestly trying to tell us that the DC10 thanker is not a valuable tool and that you don't want any more of them?

The whole point of that tanker is to attack large fires and keep them from spreading, not to be the be all, end all tool.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
Alessandro
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Thu Oct 25, 2007 10:30 pm

Mars Martin is rumored to cost 12k US$/hr.
Flagship, isn´t the wheel configuration different on the -30 series making it less useful? I thought the -15 series would be the best as firefighter among the DC-10s?
Stallspeed I guess is important as well, you want a slower plane, prop-plane like the AN-22 rather than one with a higher one like the DC-10. Or one that can be used to skim off the water like the BE-200 or CL-415.
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ncelhr
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Fri Oct 26, 2007 12:37 am

Quoting GPIARFF (Reply 64):
I think it has to do with differences firefighting strategy.

Thank you for your post. Very informative!
 
FlagshipAZ
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RE: Why No 747 Super Rainmaker In Socal?

Fri Oct 26, 2007 12:49 am

Alessandro (reply 69), yes the -15 would be useful as a waterbomber as well, probably more so than the -10 given the -15 had a better hot & high package built-in the airframe. Problem is that there were only 7 -15s built, and either they're scrapped or in the boneyard. The -30's center gear can be removed for the water outlet nozzles. Remember that -30 has a bigger wing & more power than the -10, thus probably slower approach speed & more weight capacity.
Regards.
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