History Of Fire Fighting Strategies

Fire Fighting authorities (& Govts), on both sides of the Pacific, are frequently reported as obdurately pursuing policies that guarantee large numbers of people, animals, homes, forest will be regularly annihilated. These catastrophes will repeat, and increase, with Global Warming. Authorities have arrogantly (and provedly) refused to use better & more appropriate technologies, viz, replacing Miniscule Manpower and Piddling Planepower with proven Large Aerial Fire Tankers. Australia has a deplorable history of ignoring this above option, indeed of ignoring an abysmal number of other recommendations, from so many Royal Commissions over several decades, back to the 1930’s. The current 2009 TEAGUE Commission has, as of July 2009, shown no indication of having even considered, or investigated this option, despite several submissions from the public requesting that the idea of Large Aerial Fire Tankers be explored.

The Effectiveness of (small) Aerial Firefighting in Australia
M. PLUCINSKI1, J. GOULD1, G. McCARTHY2, J. HOLLIS3
2007
1

Ensis Bushfire Research; 2School of Forests and Ecosystems Science; 3Department of Environment and Conservation.
http://www.bushfirecrc.com/research/downloads/Aerial-Suppression-Report-Final-web.pdf

“In forest fires, suppression efforts are most effective when initiated in the acceleration phase, as up to 90% of the maximum rate of spread can be reached within the first 30 minutes (BROWN and DAVIS 1973; LUKE and McARTHUR 1978; McALPINE AND WAKIMOTO 1991). Grass fires can reach their steady state rate of spread within 12 minutes with longer acceleration phases occurring at higher wind speeds (CHENEY and GOULD 1995).” COMMENT: Though the above assertion is undoubtedly true, it ignores an “insurance aspect”, i.e., what firefighting strategy ought be implemented when the fire HAS got out of control. The below paper asserts ONLY Large Aerial Fire Tankers can, and will, do the job.

Critiques & Rebuttals of Current Fire Suppression Practices
C. KLINE, elkline@gmail.com Several facile counter-arguments are touted; and rebuttals are offered below : 1. COSTS (of such equipment) 1.1 Costs can be amortised annually over several Govt budgets, by sharing with other countries as scheduled by each fire-season. 1.2 Costs of fire losses should be properly assessed and weighed against cost of equipment. Fire-fighting authorities seem to have a quite different costing for human life as compared to that asserted by the general public. 1.3 Costs & effectiveness of alternative fire communications should be weighed against aerial ‘eye-in-the-sky’ comm. centres.

2. SALINATION 2.1 Indeed there could be a measured assessment of the percentage increase in water & ground salinity, as measured by the quantity of salt-water delivered by these tankers, as a fraction of the annual rainfall delivered by nature. The costs of such degradation should be fairly weighed against the costs of fire losses. 2.2 Increased corrosion of houses and other property could be likewise fairly weighed.

5.

SMALL PLANES ARE BETTER 3.1 What? Current small aerial fire fighting planes are grounded by safety regulations on windy days of extreme fire danger. 3.2 Because of their small payload, these small planes need fire retardant added to their water load; this retardant is highly questionable from an epidemiological / carcinogenic basis. 4. MEN ADORE THEIR FIRE FIGHTING ACTIVITIES 4.1 A very senior (Victorian) CFA administrator has defended current manpowered technologies with a statement that: “Men like to prove themselves by meeting fire face-to-face”. This might be the epitome of the kind of incompetent planning and thinking that infects so much of obsolete fire authority management. It would appear that the weight of this manager’s testosterone outweighs any other reasonable opinion. 5.1 Where is the carefully investigated report, by qualified assessors, that supports this off-the-cuff assertion, (frequently appearing from fire-fighters contributing to Internet Blogs)? There exists an excellent report on Aerial Firefighting, by M. PLUCINSKI, et. al., but this report refers ONLY to small airplanes. A superficial State Govt test was designed to MAKE the plane fail, in unspecified ways. 5.2 “… 11,000-gallon tanker plane pours ‘too much water,’ officials say …” (American Forest Service). What? The water delivery rate can be minutely controlled ! How can uneducated and unqualified officials be continually permitted to sacrifice so many lives and dollars, with no expertise other than their bombastic bluster?

5. LARGE AERIAL TANKERS ARE NOT SUITABLE TO AUSTRALIAN CONDITIONS

Air Fire Tanker 910
McDonnell Douglas DC-10 Also see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evergreen_747_Supertanker Length: Wingspan: Height: Maximum loaded weight: Cruising speed: Service ceiling: Range: 182 ft 3 in-55.5 m 155 ft 4 in-47.3 m 58 ft 1 in-17.7 m 430,000 lbs-195,045 kg 521 kt / 600 mi/h-965 km/h 42,000 ft-12,802 m 3,800 mi-6,114 km

Tanker 910 is the call-sign of the only wide-body jet air tanker currently in fire service. The aircraft, operated by 10 Tanker Air Carrier, is a converted McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft used for fighting wildfires, typically in rural areas. The turbofan-powered craft carries up to 12,000gallons (45,600 liters) of water or fire retardant in an exterior belly-mounted tank, which can be released in eight seconds.

Development
The aircraft, currently registered as N450AX, was originally delivered as a civil passenger plane to National Airlines in 1975, and subsequently flew for Pan Am, American Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and Omni Air International.[1] The conversion of the original airframe to a fire-fighting aircraft was a joint venture under the name of 10 Tanker Air Carrier between Cargo Conversions of San Carlos, California and Omni, with conversion work being performed by Victorville Aerospace at the Southern California Logistics Airport at Victorville, California.

Design
The water or retardant is carried in three center-line belly tanks. The tanks have internal baffles to prevent fluid shift (and consequent shift in center of gravity) while in flight, and sit with a 15inches (38cm) ground clearance. All three tanks can be filled simultaneously on the ground in eight minutes. The retardant is gravity-fed out of the tanks, and the entire load can be dumped in eight seconds, although the actual drop rate is computer controlled by the flight crew in order to produce the desired retardant spread over the fire lines. [2] The aircraft is capable of applying a line of retardant 300feet (91m) wide by 1mile (1.6km) long.[3] But see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_retardant for discussion of carcinogenic properties of fire-retardant, dropped into water catchment areas.

Inside view of Tanker 910’s cockpit.
The number of drops it can make in a day is only limited due to the time it takes to reload the jet with water/fire retardant and fuel, as well as its need for a proper landing field, which may well be a considerable distance from the subject fire. Because of the aircraft’s limited maneuverability, California Department of Forestry (CAL FIRE) officials have said that it will not be used on all fires, and will not be used as an initial attack aircraft[4] One drop from Tanker 910 is equivalent to 12 drops from an S-2 Tracker.[5] Initially, the aircraft is intended to be operated primarily in California, and the entire state will be serviced from the plane’s Victorville base, but in 2007 the CAL FIRE began looking into setting up a second operations base at the former Mather Air Force Base outside Sacramento, California.[4]

10 Tanker Air Carrier announced in 2007 that a second aircraft would be converted to tanker usage for the 2008 fire season.[4]
Tanker 910 received competition from the Evergreen Supertanker, a BOEING 747 which has been converted to tanker use by Evergreen International Aviation and which is able to carry up to 22,000gallons, was introduced.[4]

Contracting
In 2006 the aircraft was operated on a limited evaluation contract from the State of California. During the 2006 season, the aircraft was offered on a “call-when-needed” basis, which came with a $26,500 per-flight-hour (three hour minimum) cost and a 12- to 24hour activation delay.[2] Under these terms, Tanker 910 flew on six fires in California and one in Washington.[4]

Tanker 910 during a drop demonstration
For the 2007–2009 fire seasons, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger authorized a contract for exclusive use of the aircraft at a cost of $5 million per year, or an average of about $41,000 per day for the June 15 to October 15 fire season; there is an additional $5,500 per-flight-hour charge.[2] The exclusivity of the contract allows the aircraft to always be ready for dispatch, and it will be able to launch to a fire within one hour of being called. [4][6] The aircraft has not been certified by the U.S. Forest Service, so it is not permitted to fly on fires which are on USFS land in California.[7]

2006 call-when-needed use
Tanker 910 was first used in July 2006 when it fought the Sawtooth Complex fire in San Bernardino County, California. While the fire was burning, Tanker 910 initially sat on the ground at Victorville, as it had not received CAL FIRE approval to operate. The mayor of Victorville, Mike ROTHSCHILD, became concerned and investigated why it was not flying, finding that the approval process was expected to take up to six months to complete. After a call to California State Senator George RUNNER, the CAL FIRE was able to complete the necessary training and paperwork in a matter of days, with the California certification being granted on July 15, 2006.[8] The following day, July 16, the aircraft made two drops on the Sawtooth fire, and CAL FIRE personnel were reported to have said that “the two fire drops made a greater impact on containing the fire than the 12 helicopters drops for the past 10 days.”[8] Later in the same month, the aircraft was used against several smaller California fires, as well as the Columbia Complex Fire in Washington. In September 2006, Tanker 910 was activated by CAL FIRE for use against the Day Fire,[9] and the following month it flew against the Esperanza Fire.[2]

2007 contract use
Under the terms of the exclusive-use contract, Tanker 910 was activated against the White Fire where it flew two runs before incurring its incident. After repairs were completed, it was activated for use on the massive Zaca Fire, the second-largest fire in modern California history, in August 2007.[3] Tanker 910 was also activated for the Moonlight Fire in Plumas County, as of September 6, 2007. On October 22nd Tanker 910 became involved in the effort to put out California wildfires, including the Slide Fire and the Grass Fire near Lake Arrowhead, California. The next activation came on 24November2007 when the tanker joined the effort to fight the Corral Fire above Malibu, CA.

2008 Fires
In June, Governor Arnold SCHWARZENEGGER activated Tanker 910 in response to the state of emergency regarding the Humboldt Fire in Butte County, California, in order to combat the 20,000+ acre fire in adverse conditions on rough terrain. It is currently flying sorties out of a former Air Force base, now called McClellan Airfield, in Sacramento County. It made 14 drops totaling 168,000 gallons of retardant to quell the raging blaze, Hill said. The aircraft also participated in the defense of Big Sur at the end of June and into July.[10] [11]

New additions to widebody air tanker fleet
Owner 10 Tanker Corp. will be adding a second DC-10 to its fleet in July 2008. It will be used on an on-call basis. [10]

Incident
Tanker 910 experienced its first serious incident on June 25, 2007. While on its third run over the White Fire in the Kern County mountains near Tehachapi, California, the aircraft was in a left bank while turning from base to final approach, when it encountered severe turbulence, the left wing dropped, and the aircraft descended 100 to 200 feet lower than expected.[6][12] The left wing struck several trees before pilots were able to power out of the descent. The aircraft climbed to altitude for a controllability check and to dump its load of retardant, then returned to its base in Victorville, where it made an emergency landing and was grounded pending an investigation, inspection, and repairs.[6][7][12] A post-incident investigation showed that the aircraft suffered damage to the left wing’s leading edge, slats, ailerons and flaps.[13] Despite the accident, the CAL FIRE has stated that they are happy with the aircraft. [14] The aircraft returned to the sky for a test flight after repairs on July 30.[13][14]

REFERENCES
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.
^ Census data from Jetphotos.net ^ a b c d “DC-10 Airtanker - Tanker 910 Fact Sheet” (PDF). CAL FIRE web site. http://www.fire.ca.gov/newsreleases_content/downloads/2006archive/Tanker910factsheet.pdf. Retrieved on 2007-08-22. ^ a b Daniel, Stacy; Tina Leonard (August 12, 2007). “Critical turn in the Zaca Fire: DC-10 Airtanker flies over and Evacuation Order downgraded”. KSBY-TV - San Luis Obispo, CA. MSNBC. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20247741/. Retrieved on 2007-08-22. ^ a b c d e f “Supertanker ready for summer of fighting California’s fires”, Inland Wildfires, June 14, 2007, Accessed August 6, 2007 ^ “DC-10 drops retardant in a first for firefighting” Gizmag, accessed August 10, 2007 See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_retardant ^ a b c Curtis, Bill, “Firefighting jet grounded after grazing trees in Kern County”, Fresno Bee June 26, 2007, accessed same date ^ a b Marcus Wohlsen, “Grounded firefighting jet raised doubts among USFS officials”, North County Times, June 26, 2007, accessed August 8, 2007 ^ a b City of Victorville news release, “Mayor Rothschild Intervenes in the Sawtooth Fire, Use of DC-10 Tanker Helps Contain the Fire”, Accessed August 6, 2007 ^ CAL FIRE News Release, September 24, 2006, accessed August 17, 2007 ^ a b Tanker fleet to add 2nd DC-10 Wesley G. Hughes, Staff Writer, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Inland Valley, CA. 06/22/2008. ^ Humboldt Fire - Paradise, CA forum thread, City-Data.com Forum > U.S. Forums > California, 6/13/08. ^ a b NTSB preliminary report ^ a b “Too Close A Call For Fire-Fighting DC-10?”, KTVU-TV, August 6, 2007, accessed August 10, 2007 ^ a b Patrick O’Driscoll, “Use of jets to fight fires up in air”, USA Today, July 17, 2007

External links

• • • • • • • • •

Tanker910.com - Website dedicated to the Tanker 910, DC-10 firefighting aircraft 10 Tanker Air Carrier page “California Procures Air Supertanker to Fight Fires”, Morning Edition, NPR, July 5, 2007, accessed August 10, 2007 Airsider.net, with detailed technical photos and drop sequence photos from the 2005 Paris Airshow Analysis of DC-10’s fire use (see items #5 & #6, out of sequence) In-flight videos from CAL FIRE’s official web site

See also
Aerial firefighting Wildland fire suppression http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_retardant (see carcinogenic reports - this material being dumped in human water catchments).

CANADAIR 415 AIR TANKER
Dimensions: Length = 19.82m; Wingspan = 28.63m; Height = 8.98m; Height on water = 6.96m Draught with wheels retracted = 1.12m; Draught with wheels down = 2.03m; Flight crew = 2 Full specifications The Bombardier Canadair 415 amphibious aircraft was launched in 1991. The aircraft first flew in 1993. 65 aircraft have been delivered to the governments of France (13), Québec (eight), Italy (17), Croatia (four), Ontario (nine), Greece (ten) and Spain (one). The 415 has also been evaluated by the US National Guard. “The Canadair 415, well known for its use in the firefighting service as the Superscooper, can be adapted to a variety of missions.” In November 2007, Croatia ordered a further two aircraft and, in January 2008, Spain ordered an additional two aircraft. In June 2008, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency placed an order for two 415MP aircraft. The Canadair 415, well known for its use in the firefighting service as the Superscooper, is also adapted to a variety of specialised missions, such as maritime surveillance, search and rescue and personnel transport. Superscooper is a Canadian and US registered trademark. The Amphibious Aircraft division of Bombardier, based in Montréal, is responsible for the marketing, sales and product support of the Canadair 415.

FIREFIGHTING MISSION EQUIPMENT
The layout of the interior of the fuselage for the firefighting variant of the aircraft provides seating for eight crew members on inwardfacing four-man folding seats on either side of the forward cabin. Four water tanks installed in the main fuselage compartment have a combined capacity of 6,137l. A hose adaptor is installed on each side of the fuselage to fill the tanks while the aircraft is on the ground. The tanks are filled in flight while skimming over the water surface via two hydraulically operated scoops, located aft of the hull step. With the aircraft skimming over a distance of 1,340m (including safe clearance heights), the water tanks can be filled in 12s by the scoops. For safe scoop-filling operations, for example from a lake, the water should have a depth greater than 1.40m. In a firefighting mission the Bombardier Canadair 415 aircraft can remain on station for up to three hours, dropping typically nine tank loads of water on a fire, refilling from a water source 10km away. A foam concentrate / water mixing system is installed in the fuselage with the chemical tanks for the foam concentrate solutions fitted under the two four-man folding seats. A spray kit can be fitted to the tanks for large area spraying of pesticides, defoliants and oil dispersant chemicals. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_retardant

415 MP (MULTI-PURPOSE) VARIANT
The 415 MP (Multi-Purpose) variant has been developed for a range of roles and missions, including maritime surveillance, and search and rescue. The 415 MP made its maiden flight in March 2002. Greece has placed orders for two 415 MP aircraft for operation by the Hellenic Air Force and the first aircraft was delivered in March 2004. The aircraft, which will be based at the Elefsis Air Force Base, are fitted with a maritime surface surveillance system, Ericsson side looking airborne radar, a FLIR Systems SeaFLIR forwardlooking infrared, a Honeywell Primus 660 weather and sea search radar, rescue beacon transponders, digital imagery, autopilot system and Have Quick secure radios. It can also deploy a jet boat that can carry rapid intervention teams of five at speeds at over 80km/h.

“The water tanks can be filled in 12 seconds by the scoops.”

The aircraft can be fitted to carry cargo, passengers, troops and litter (stretcher) patients. The aircraft can be equipped with searchlights, maritime surveillance radar, electro-optical surveillance systems, and mission-specific communications and navigation systems. FLIGHT DECK
The two-pilot flight deck is fitted with a Honeywell EDZ-605 EFIS electronic flight and information system and dual air data computers. The instrument panels have a three-tube integrated instrument display system and an Electronic Attitude Director Indicator (EADI) and Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI). The cockpit is fitted with a Litef / Honeywell Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS) and a Honeywell radio altimeter. The navigation suite includes an optional Garmin global positioning system, dual automatic direction finders, VOR/ILS integrated VHF omnidirectional radio ranger and instrument landing system, marker beacon receive units and Distance Measuring Equipment (DME). The communications systems include a Global multiband radio communications set covering VHF/UHF/AM/FM bands, Rockwell Collins HF radios with two transponders and an Emergency Locator Transponder (ELT). The cabin is equipped with a vapourcycle air conditioner and a combustion heater.

CONSTRUCTION
The CL-415 aircraft, a cantilever high-wing monoplane, was designed around the airframe of the CL-215 aircraft. The CL-415 has a higher operating weight than the CL-215 for increased firefighting capability. The fuselage is a fail-safe all-metal single-step flying boat hull incorporating several watertight compartments. Stabiliser floats are mounted on pylons on the undersides of the wings near the wingtips. The wings are fitted with endplates to improve the aircraft’s lateral stability. The aircraft is fitted with a powered rudder, ailerons and elevators. The aircraft has a cantilever all-metal fail-safe tail unit. The horizontal tailpieces are mounted half way up the vertical fin. The control surfaces of the tail unit are constructed of honeycomb panels and the surface of the tail is aluminium alloy sheet. Two waterscoops are installed behind the planing step. The aircraft has a firefighting drop system composed of four independently openable water doors.

ENGINES “The Canadair 415 can be adapted to maritime surveillance missions, search and rescue and personnel transport.”
The aircraft is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW123AF turboprop engines, each providing a power of 1,775kW. The engines are mounted in damage-tolerant nacelles. The engines drive Hamilton Standard 14SF-19 propellers. The four-bladed constant speed, fully feathering, reversible-pitch propellers are of diameter 3.97m (13ft 0.25in). The two fuel tanks, with a total usable capacity of 5,796l, are installed in the wing spar box. Each tank comprises a set of eight flexible fuel cells. There are gravity refuelling points on the upper wing and a single pressure refuelling point on the starboard side of the rear fuselage.

LANDING GEAR
The aircraft is fitted with hydraulically operated retractable tricycle-type landing gear. There is a main landing gear well in either side of the hull. A well plate mounted on each of the main landing gear encloses the bottom of the wheel well. The twin-wheeled nose landing gear is steerable, self-centering and retracts rearwards. The nose unit housing in the hull is enclosed by conformal doors. The tubed nosewheel and the tubeless main wheels are equipped with hydraulic disc brakes.
http://www.rense.com/general43/still.htm

Giant Russian Water Air Tanker Still Ignored By US
29-Oct-2003 From Craig : Dear Jeff,
I was wondering why there is no outcry demanding to have this airplane come over here and deal with the California fires? Maybe if we make a stink, we can embarrass enough people and something will get done.

Forest Service Ignores Offers Of Russian Help With Fires
Sarah FOSTER c.World Net Daily and Pravda.ru 28 August 2002 “… 11,000-gallon tanker plane pours ‘too much water,’ officials say …”

The gargantuan Biscuit wildfire in Southern Oregon has now engulfed just under half-amillion acres since lightning ignited it and other western wildfires in mid-July. The magnificent 180,000-acre Kalmiopsis Wilderness within the Siskiyou National Forest resembles a moonscape. The rare plants, the wildlife, the trees that made the Kalmiopsis a special place are gone. And the U.S.Forest Service says it cannot predict when the fires will be completely out v maybe in a month or two when the rains come. “This should never have been allowed to happen, and it need not have happened,” says Tom ROBINSON, 55, a fire administrator and instructor of fire prevention with the Virginia Offices of Fire Programs and Emergency Services in Richmond, Va. Since 1996, ROBINSON has been waging a campaign to build public support for the deployment in this country of a Russian-made air tanker, the Ilyushin-76TD nicknamed the “Waterbomber” - a rugged, airborne behemoth that can haul 11,000 gallons of liquid to a fire, nearly four times the carrying capacity of the C-130 Hercules, the largest tanker used by the Forest Service. At the invitation of its officials and to facilitate the acceptance of the IL-76, ROBINSON serves as volunteer international liaison, an official representative of the Russian Federation and its Ministry of Emergency Situations EMERCOM the Russian counterpart of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. EMERCOM is the agency that actually owns the Waterbombers. ROBINSON sees the IL-76 as a much-needed strategic weapon for the nation’s firefighting arsenal. He is convinced that had it been called in when the Rodeo, Hayman and Biscuit fires began raging out of control, they would have been squelched before they became mega-blazes. “Frankly, I’m outraged,” says ROBINSON. “This has been going on over six years. The Forest Service has refused to allow this plane into this country for fire fighting. It’s a modern aircraft, a four-engine jet. It covers an area the size of 12 football fields with one 10-second drop [of liquid water or retardant]. It puts a fireline down 300 feet wide and 3,900 feet long in 10 seconds. It would have saved every community in Colorado and Arizona this year. It would have saved those 300 homes in Los Alamos two years ago.” ROBINSON said that two years ago during the Cerro Grande fire near Los Alamos, EMERCOM had two planes sitting on the runway in Moscow, fully crewed, each plane having three eight-man crews, ready to take off. They had been requested by FEMA, but at the last minute, FEMA told them they weren’t needed after all. The Associated Press reported that then-District IX FEMA director Buddy YOUNG went to the fire and publicly announced, “You will not bring the Russian planes in here: We’re not having any Russians coming here and fighting our fires.” But in fact, ROBINSON pointed out, this has nothing to do with the IL-76 being Russian-made and owned. The Canadians have their CL-215 tankers and CL-415 SuperScoopers. They developed the CL-215 which ROBINSON considers superior to anything the United States has in 1967, and they’ve been rebuffed by the Forest Service for 35 years. “They have not been able to come in and compete for Forest Service contracts because they are not a private contractor association,” ROBINSON explains. “They’re part of the Canadian government. It’s a quasi-private, public-private partnership, but the Forest Service does not want its contractors to face outside competition.” According to ROBINSON, the only place Canadian planes are used for firefighting is in Los Angeles County, which leases two of them every year and has for about 10 years, ever since the Malibu canyon fires. “The county figures, ‘We can’t trust the Forest Service to be here.’ It was a mass debacle where they lost billions of dollars and all those multi-million-dollar Malibu homes. One insurance company lost $100 million in two hours.” ROBINSON admits to being a “crusader” and even a “zealot.” “That’s because I’ve flown on missions on this plane I know how good it is,” he says. “This plane is ten times bigger than the average tanker they’re using in Arizona and Colorado and Oregon, and because it’s so heavy it can fly in windy conditions

where smaller planes would be grounded.”
Designed in the early 1970s for military transport, since the end of the Cold War the IL-76 has been used extensively throughout the world by different countries as a cargo carrier. In order to fly firefighting missions, it is retrofitted with two aluminum tubes, each one 90-feet long, four-feet in diameter, and capable of holding 5,500 gallons of water v a total of 11,000 gallons. Unlike American tankers that have a pressurized system to dispense the retardant, the Ilyushin has a simple, virtually “bug-free” gravity-flow system. However, this system requires the aircraft to fly straight and horizontal. “The plane will be flying, say, 150 feet above the ground, at 151 knots [173 mph],” ROBINSON explained. “The water comes out at the same speed as the plane, as one big sheet of water. But when it gets about a hundred feet above the ground, it slows and comes down as a drenching rain. It’s

a big blanket of water that comes down vertically in much larger drops [than in the American pressure system]. It’s so effective the Russians don’t even use fire retardant in it.” See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_retardant The Russian Federation has offered on several occasions to send the plane or a pair of them to the U.S., where it could demonstrate its effectiveness on one of the larger wildfires. They ask only for the cost of fuel and food and lodging for the crew. But officials in the USFS have consistently said thanks, but no thanks. ROBINSON hopes that this year with more landscapes than ever blackened by fire the Forest Service will break its long-standing opposition and agree at least to test the aircraft. But he is not holding his breath. The Forest Service is adept at deflating any interest a politician or member of the public might show in the Waterbomber, and officials of other agencies are likewise skeptical of its value in firefighting. “We are not interested in buying or using the IL-76 for several critical reasons,” Forest Service spokesman Joe WALSH told the Colorado Springs Gazette in June, at the height of the Hayman fire. “The plane would not meet our firefighting needs.” WALSH said the Forest Service has enough air tankers, “despite what commanders at many of the fires are saying. We’re in good shape. We’re not having any problems with our resources. We don’t have any need for it.” The plane is “too costly and lacks ability to make downhill drops, a necessary maneuver in fighting fires in the mountains. It actually drops too much water.” “It’s like wasting water,” WALSH said. “Water is not a commodity we can just dump hundreds of thousands of gallons of and not worry about running out, especially in drought conditions.” (So ... use ocean water – this is becoming more abundant with

rising Climate Change levels ! A little bit of salinity can be washed away later, and it’s a hell of a lot better than carcinogenic fire retardant loaded water being dumped on water catchment lands!)
USFS aviation official Ed STONE shares WALSH’s views. “We’ve had contact with this aircraft since 1994,” STONE told ABC News in August 2000. “In the fires of 1994 there was intense political pressure to use it and bring it in, when we were actually holding [our own] planes down. We looked, and we didn’t care for the product,” he said. Dennis LAMUN, head of Bureau of Land Management’s Fixed Wing Program at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, is similarly critical. “The only thing the IL-76 has in its favor is that it’s big,” LAMUN told WorldNetDaily. “Not that it’s sophisticated or technologically advanced, it’s just that it’s big. We build big airplanes in America, but we don’t go out and tank them because they don’t fight fire very well.” “Bigger isn’t necessarily better,” he added. “The Forest Service has more 3,000-gallon, Type 1 air tankers than BLM does, but our philosophy at BLM is that we’d rather have two airplanes carrying 2,500 gallons each, that can go in two different directions, than one airplane carrying 5,000 gallons, because if I want all 5,000 gallons in the same spot, I can get it. We have 54 600-, 700-, and 800-gallon airplanes, and we want more of them, and it isn’t because we’re ignorant that we don’t trade all those smaller airplanes in for one big 10,000 gallon one. It’s because we know what we want because we fight fire for a living.” In addition to his work for BLM, LAMUN heads the Interagency Airtanker Board that represents air tanker contractors and federal firefighting agencies. It is responsible for setting criteria for air tankers and overseeing the certification process. ROBINSON never expected such a degree of opposition when he became involved with those trying to bring the Ilyushin into this country. “I thought it would be easy,” he said. In 1996 he was invited to join Global Emergency Response a Canadian-Russian-American joint venture, created to sponsor the IL-76 in disaster mitigation around the world. The idea of a company that would arrange the leasing and use of the aircraft was the brainchild of Tom EDMISON, president of Total Corporate Aviation Services, a Calgarybased aviation resource company. Formerly a chief pilot for Gulf Oil, EDMISON had routinely flown a B-727 back and forth between Calgary and Russia for oil crew changes. On those runs he got to know the Russians and became familiar with the IL-76, “a marvelous, versatile workhorse. When I started this I said to myself “this is really something,” Edmison recalls. “Here’s a chance to do something entrepreneurial and it’s got peace and the environment written on it. It served everything: It was good business, good for the environment, and it has a tremendous peace message.” He was surprised when the Forest Service didn’t see it that way and began placing roadblocks in the way. Because of ROBINSON’s contacts in the fire prevention community, EDMISON and EMERCOM officials approached him, figuring that an American would be able to overcome bureaucratic objections to the IL-76. He agreed to serve as the fledgling group’s chief administrator. He’s made some progress among politicians, the media and the public, but the door to the Forest Service remains closed. Part of the problem may be that few Americans including Forest Service personnel have actually seen the IL-76 in action. That’s not the fault of the Russians or Global Emergency Response. In particular, the Forest Service has shown a singular lack of interest. It has not tested the plane, though in Sept1994 upon an invitation from GER it sent two specialists to a demonstration at an air show at Bascomb Downs, England, to look the plane over and observe it being put through its paces. They were outnumbered by some 20 members of the media, including the BBC and Associated Press. Aviation specialist Joe MADAR was enthusiastic, reportedly cheering, “My, God, will that thing ever stop dropping water. Perfect, perfect,” as the tanker poured out its cargo of water in two passes before the grandstand. After the demonstration, MADAR told a reporter he thought the aircraft could have been effective in the then-recent fires in California, Nevada and Colorado. The enthusiasm is lacking in his later written report, though MADER noted that the plane could be useful as a “supplemental firefighting resource.” ‘Miracle’ in Greece

WorldNetDaily could find no one within the federal agencies who has actually seen the IL-76 in action. Apparently not one Forest Service or BLM ranger or fire fighter has decided to take a closer look. ROBINSON has. And it’s that experience he says that changed him from being an enthusiastic supporter into a “zealot.” It was in 1999, and Greece was enduring its worst wildfires in over a century. Infernos were raging in the mountainous terrain, and winds were so fierce the air tankers of the Greek Air Force were grounded. As he tells it, “There were two 3,000-foot-wide fires that were going unabated because of windy conditions through the mountains, burning all their monuments and forests. CNN was there and said it was unstoppable. But we filled up at the Greek Air Force base, then went to the first fire. We flew by on an observation run, came back around, lined up on the fire, judged the wind direction, opened the doors on the tanks v and whoosh v 10 seconds later we looked back and that 3,000 feet of fire was gone, absolutely gone.” That took care of the first fire. The pilot returned to the base, the tanks were refilled, and they went to the second fire and put that one out just as quickly. “These fires had burned for a week, with hundreds of firefighters and all kinds of equipment brought in from Germany and other countries,” said ROBINSON. “The Greek media called it a miracle.” Though it convinced ROBINSON and the Greek public, the Greek government decided against future use of the Waterbomber, preferring instead to invest in a fleet of planes at $25 million each. Florida burned In June 1998, Flagler Country in northeast Florida was ablaze. Fires were so bad the Daytona 500 had to be cancelled. Half-amillion acres were eventually devastated and several hundred homes destroyed. A standard criticism about the IL-76 is that it won’t work in mountain areas: Flagler County is pancake flat. On June22, EMERCOM made an offer to then-Gov. Lawton CHILES to bring in the Waterbomber and a crew. The plane would have been in Florida within 48 hours, ROBINSON said. All the Russians asked was that the state cover the costs of fuel and maintenance for the aircraft and food and lodging for the crew. A cap of $500,000 for 30 days was placed on the mission. At first, everything seemed to be moving without a hitch. The state of Florida said OK. Both the Federal Aviation Agency and the State Department gave their approval. The Florida Air National Guard was going to host the aircraft and its crew at Patrick Air Force Base. Suddenly the governor decided against the offer, and the whole thing fell through. At a press briefing Chiles tried to justify his decision. “The Forest Service told me that the plane was so big and carries so much water it would destroy homes and kill the firefighters,” he said. “Do people really believe this?”, ROBINSON says he wondered in amazement. Not everybody, surely. Though the Forest Service would like to see it go away, the IL-76 has picked up supporters, including members of the firefighting community. James HARRISON is a battalion chief with the Santa Barbara Co. Fire Dept. in southern California. In his nearly 40-year career as a firefighter he’s fought both structure fires and wildfires. HARRISON said he became aware of the IL-76 a couple of years ago he does not recall the exact date v when a group of Russians came to the United States at the invitation of the U.S.State Department for a week-long session of disaster-preparedness workshops between officials from EMERCOM and local American counterparts. HARRISON met the man who developed the IL-76, and became friends with the head of EMERCOM. They showed him a four-minute video clip of the plane taking off and making water drops. “All I can say is if the planes are half as good as what this man says they are, we should at least give them a chance,” says HARRISON. HARRISON followed through by reading all the articles he could find about it, and so far has seen nothing that would make him change his mind. Asked if he thought the amount of water discharged is not really a good thing, Harrison laughed. “I think you need to be able to put it where you want,” he said, and added, “That’s why I’d like to be able to test this aircraft. I’d like to see the thing at work, because they [the Russians] tell me they can put it wherever you want. They tell me that they can put it in a line almost a mile long, and they tell me they can put it very wide for half a mile.” Would he find that useful as a fire professional? “Absolutely,” he exclaimed, and added that he didn’t think being able to haul and drop 11,000 gallons “could possibly be a drawback.” “I know the Forest Service disagrees with me, and I disagree with them,” he said. “Whichever. But I don’t understand why there’s anything other than a political reason that I’m not aware off that we wouldn’t at least bring that plane over here and try it.” Sarah FOSTER WorldNetDaily ©1999 “Pravda. RU”. When reproducing our materials in whole or in part, reference to Pravda. RU should be made. Comment From Starfleethighcom@aol.com 10-30-3 Shalom, Let us swallow our pride, admit our mistakes, and start doing the right thing. The only reason why it is not allowed to be used here is because of the NIH mentality of our fellow Americans. NIH stands for “not invented here” mentality. Politicians are like that, they wanted something homemade that they can use as a vote getting and campaing fund getting project (from contractors who’ll get the big bucks and expresses their thanks in the form of campaign fund contributions). And the minute somthing went wrong, off they go to the “blame shifting and passing the buck” merry-go-round strategy inorder to avoid their responsibilities. Shalom!

Comment
From Lars Vonpacker 10-31-3 These CL-215s seem to have been ignored, too. From: http://montreal.cbc.ca/regional/servlet/View?filename=qc_aidfire20032810 Quebec offers more aid to California MONTREAL - Quebec is offering increased aid to authorities battling severe wildfires across southern California, where flames stretch from the Mexican border to Los Angeles. The province already has a contract to supply Los Angeles County with two water bombers each fall. But the government said it is willing to send more planes if the state asks for help. Gerard LACASSE, a spokesperson for SOPFEU, Quebec’s fire protection agency, said the province’s two water bombers have already been called into action. He said that Quebec is willing to send up to three more planes if necessary. “If we have a request for any resources we’re going to look at it,” said LACASSE. “And if they need water bombers like we have here, it’s going to be possible because we have a lot of those machines right now available because the fire season is over here.” The fires in California have already destroyed nearly 2,000 square kilometres of land and have made their way to the suburbs of San Diego and Los Angeles. LACASSE said that Quebec is currently seeking contracts with other municipalities south of the border to maximize the use of the province’s planes.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful