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Water bomber crash Southern France

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Water bomber crash Southern France

Old 2nd Aug 2019, 19:32
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Water bomber crash Southern France

The pilot of a Conair Turbo Firecat has died after it crashed this afternoon while tackling a fire near Générac, South of Nimes.

https://www.laprovence.com/actu/en-d...st-decede.html

The pilot is believed to have been the only person on board.
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Old 3rd Aug 2019, 08:39
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Very sad news. Another brave pilot lost. According to local newspapers this was No 22, which makes it F-ZBAA. In France these aircraft are still referred to as "Trackers".
Laurence
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Old 3rd Aug 2019, 08:49
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Originally Posted by l.garey View Post
In France these aircraft are still referred to as "Trackers".
Indeed they are.

Government press release on the accident: Décès d'un pilote de tracker lors d'une intervention sur des incendies dans le Gard
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Old 3rd Aug 2019, 09:45
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This Tracker was built in 1958, transferred from the US Navy (Bu 136547) to the Sécurité Civile in 1987 as Firecat F-WEOL, and converted to a Turbo Firecat in 1992. It had recorded more than 14,000 hours of flight.
Laurence
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Old 3rd Aug 2019, 11:44
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The authorities had suspected the fires were arson and they have arrested two individuals they believe were responsible, a third is still being sought.

These aircraft are a common sight here during the hot months, especially when strong winds are blowing. While yesterday's incident was taking place a Dash 8 circled overhead here for over an hour, spotting and ready to respond to any flare ups. My neighbour is the local fire chief and he says that over 80% of these bush fires are malicious. The son of a local Mayor was put in psychiatric care when he graduated from setting fire to rubbish bins and set a large part of the hillside near Cavaillon alight.

The pilot who died in the crash has not yet been named. R.I.P.
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Old 3rd Aug 2019, 18:21
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Nimes airport

My daughter had just checked in when the fire broke out. Very quickly we had 4 Canadairs pass over head in loose formation around 500ft.
Watched them and one tracker bombing from a couple of clics.
Another 4 Canadairs went to join them and I noticed some very black smoke..didnt see the aircraft again.
The stansted and charleroi flights diverted to Montpellier and within half an hour Ryanair had provided a coach. As a black day on the autoroutes there was 35mins of traffic jams. Ryanair incredibly efficient.
Overtaken by a tracker, low level and high speed on my way home...another fire around 20km north of Nimes with a few Canadairs bombing.
less wind today but still hot and an official drought.
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Old 4th Aug 2019, 07:05
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A quick Google translation of the accompanying article.

According to the first elements of the investigation, the pilot of the water bomber who died in the crash of his aircraft Friday at 5:20 pm trying to extinguish the fire of Générac "lost its bearings". "The pilot, who was in a descending phase, entered a column of very thick smoke and hit the treetops," said a source close to the AFP investigation. "It's a problem of estimating the pilot who has entered a very dark cloud and lost his bearings," she continued.

Fleet Manager Tracker was right over him and witnessed the accident, the minister said. The victim, in his fifties and father of two, was an experienced man who had flown "a Mirage 2000," Castaner said.

An investigation was opened under the authority of the prosecutor's office and entrusted to the gendarmerie research section of Nimes, as well as on the side of the Accident Investigation Bureau.

Such accidents are extremely rare. The last similar tragedy dates back to 2005, with the fall of a Canadair at sea, with his pilot and his co-pilot, at Calvi in ​​Haute-Corse.
https://www.laprovence.com/actu/en-d...perimente.html
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Old 4th Aug 2019, 09:02
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Video

Brother watched a report including footage of an interview and the accident.
His recollection is that during a run in the pilot was retasked, went into a turn then into the dense part of the smoke. Flew into a hill.
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Old 4th Aug 2019, 11:55
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I watched two Firecats tackling a straw field blaze near Petit Palais a few weeks ago that was rapidly expanding due to a Mistral blowing hard.
They both made a number of passes, reducing their height each time, before the final low pass when they dropped the water.
The terrain there is flat and open with no high trees or obstacles.
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Old 4th Aug 2019, 15:02
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From the air

Watched them many times but rarely over flat ground..most interesting was for nearly an hour about 3 kms away and at 2,500ft agl whilst paragliding from Mont Bouquet.
They flew in a sort of holding pattern with the lower leg into wind and adjacent or over the fire apparently awaiting orders from the ground.
Many moons ago I watched them from a layby on the old RN 106 where they pulled up to 60ft to drop the retardant. I was within 400m.
Incredibly skilled.
Sadly most of the fires are set around my area and has included idiots who use flares attached to one tree with a trip line to the second which operates when the mistral blows.
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Old 6th Aug 2019, 10:36
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Colleagues and dignitaries pay homage to the deceased pilot, Franck Chesneau, who has posthumously received the Légion d'honneur.




https://www.laprovence.com/actu/en-d...-castaner.html
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Old 6th Aug 2019, 12:12
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Merci. Un vrai hėros.
Laurence

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Old 6th Aug 2019, 13:35
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Very sad. One pilot - are these flown solo for fire suppression?
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Old 6th Aug 2019, 15:14
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Originally Posted by kenparry View Post
Very sad. One pilot - are these flown solo for fire suppression?
It would appear that the Firecats are. Presumably the larger CL-415s have two pilots up front.
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Old 7th Aug 2019, 05:11
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are these flown solo for fire suppression
Yes Ken.


Presumably the larger CL-415s have two pilots up front
Yes, they do Dave.

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