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Practical Fire Bomber ?

Old 1st Dec 2016, 01:51
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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SBAKER, have you personally flown in both Australia and the US on fires? Your posts indicate that you haven't.
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Old 1st Dec 2016, 05:41
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Originally Posted by havick View Post
SBAKER, have you personally flown in both Australia and the US on fires? Your posts indicate that you haven't.
Nope. I was just suggesting that we utilise assets we already have. - and not have to pay extra for personel when you have ADF members that can be trained to do the task... You know we are already paying the RAAF for the C130 and crew wether it flies or not.. surely it would not be hard to buy 2 modules and have one on standby/alert during fire season...

You know why go and spend a crap load to get private overseas companies for the large water bombers when you could do the same here in-house without that much ADDED cost (compared to overseas large water bomber contractors).
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Old 2nd Dec 2016, 03:19
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What you're not accounting for is that the RAAF are already utilising their C130's for what they were intended for in scope. You would essentially be taking a large chunk of the current fleet out of service to be on standby for a separate tasking. If you simply have the current aircraft sitting on standby, then they would not really be dedicated for the task as they could disappear elsewhere at a moments notice for other RAAF tasking.

To add firefighting would realistically need more airframes and more crew and all the infrastructure and knock on effect that would entail.

Once you factor everything in it's still far cheaper to have contractor aircraft and crews for the summer, and then they disappear for the winter. Not to mention you have crews with years of experience of firebombing as opposed to RAAF crews cycling in and out on various postings and duty cycles.

I'm not saying the RAAF guys can't do it, I'm simply saying it's far more expensive than you think it is for them to do it, along with the fact that you won't truly have dedicated availability like contractor aircraft.

Also, in the US when you're flying on the fireline and you see the integration of the guard machines, I think you'll find the effectiveness of their machines vs contractor operated machines vary greatly (as it's not a secondary duty for contractors so to speak). Just ask the USFS, Dept of interior, BLM (for the USA) if they prefer to have contractor or guard/military machines on the line. It's not uncommon to see contractor pilots flying a UH1H with a longline bucket put out 3-4 times the amount of water (accurately) than a Guard Blackhawk crew with 3x the lift capacity simply due to the proficiency of the contractor pilot doing it day in and day out. The military crews that are only doing it part time often hinder the contractor crews as they screw up the pattern/timing of the dips for everyone else because they're so slow. It's not their fault and I know they're doing a good job for the training and experience that they have, but it's just not what they do all day everyday.

**Note; I'm not knocking military pilots, they're great at what they do but firefighting isn't something that you just do 2-3 drops and you become expert level at, just like any other type of niche flying.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by havick; 2nd Dec 2016 at 15:53.
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Old 2nd Dec 2016, 03:50
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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The MAFF System was trialled by the RAAF (using a C-130H) in January of 1983 during the Grampians fires in Victoria.
After all aspects were considered, the decision was made to use private contractors for the task in the future.
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Old 2nd Dec 2016, 04:19
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Thinking that using military crewed C-130's for firefighting is cheaper than contractors is not correct. You don't just ask a mil crew to quickly do a few water drops in between their normal job. Operating firefighting aircraft is a totally different flying skill than you can imagine. Crews must be trained, then skills maintained, to operate safely. Military crews are extraordinary at what they do, but they don't fight fires. If you want to add it to their to-do list, you need to equip them, then train them, then maintain all the skills = LOTS of money. Plus, you are going to eat into the life of the a/c like you won't believe.

Every nation, everywhere, seem to look at firefighting costs the same way. Governments budget an unrealistically low number, hoping the fire season will be small. Fire seasons are increasingly becoming longer and more intense. There is no cost once a fire starts destroying property or lives, especially when it starts into a town or city.

Also, the CL-415 is not just a water scooper. It is a very rugged short field a/c that can land anywhere and be reloaded on the ground in minutes. I'm not trying to sell any airplanes, just pointing out what I think the best all-round medium water bomber is.

DC
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Old 2nd Dec 2016, 05:04
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Ah ok, thanks for the insight.. I don't have any experience in these sorts of things!
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Old 2nd Dec 2016, 07:34
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Please understand that the objective criteria is litres per hour on the target under operational conditions.

B747, Dc10, amphibians have more difficult to satisfy operational requirements than those for a Helo with a bucket.
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Old 2nd Dec 2016, 07:56
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I think military aircraft are more about starting fires than putting them out..
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Old 2nd Dec 2016, 16:06
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Please understand that the objective criteria is litres per hour on the target under operational conditions.

B747, Dc10, amphibians have more difficult to satisfy operational requirements than those for a Helo with a bucket.
Actually the LAT's and VLAT's aren't really used for direct attack at all, they're used for putting retardant lines down as part of the overall strategy of containing the fire. They are very good at that effort, but direct attack they are not very good at all.

The Coulson C130 on the other hand works well at both direct attack (if necessary) AND retardant lines. From sitting in my B412 or 212 helo I've seen the Coulson C130 do an awesome job getting into the same tight spaces that 802 air tractors get into and put lines down in valleys with great precision.

It's all about the right tool for the task on hand at the time. For example on open terrain and fast moving fires, the VLATS can put down retardant lines that can significantly slow down the advance of a fire (while using helo's and 802's to hit to spots jumping over the retardant lines) and buy the ground crews enough time to get in place with the overall attack strategy.
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Old 3rd Dec 2016, 08:05
  #30 (permalink)  
BPA
 
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Looks like Buffalo are going with smaller firebombers.

Buffalo Airways awarded contract to operate N.W.T.'s new water bomber fleet - North - CBC News
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Old 7th Dec 2016, 05:39
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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CL-415... Purpose built. Any modified or converted aircraft come with issues, one of which is old outdated airframes.
The Buffalo Airways contract that BPA mentions above is on behalf of the NWT government, who are buying AT-802's to replace CL-215's. If the Canadians consider the 802's (which we already have lots of in Australia) a better tool, why consider CL-215' or -415's?
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Old 7th Dec 2016, 22:38
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by havick View Post
What you're not accounting for is that the RAAF are already utilising their C130's for what they were intended for in scope. You would essentially be taking a large chunk of the current fleet out of service to be on standby for a separate tasking. If you simply have the current aircraft sitting on standby, then they would not really be dedicated for the task as they could disappear elsewhere at a moments notice for other RAAF tasking.

To add firefighting would realistically need more airframes and more crew and all the infrastructure and knock on effect that would entail.
This. Not only is the plane dedicated to fire standby, to the exclusion of any other activity, but also when it is on contract, during the day, the crew is sitting there at the airplane, or very close, pretty much doing nothing but waiting for a request and ready to start running the before start checklist.

Certainly it is technically feasible for the RAAF to *also* provide this service, *in addition* to what they already do, but the notion that thy could provide this service at no additional cost is silly fantasy.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 20:03
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Very glad to see such informed comment. I've hopefully learned a lot. Two of Coulsons Sea Kings are on standby here at Mansfield.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 23:56
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Sunfish View Post
Very glad to see such informed comment. I've hopefully learned a lot. Two of Coulsons Sea Kings are on standby here at Mansfield.
One of those is actually an L382. T131 is a C-130Q and T-132 is an L382G If you see them on the same ramp, you'll probably notice that T-132 is significantly longer than T-131.
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Old 11th Dec 2016, 06:38
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Is Coulson associated with Lynden Air by any chance? Lynden Air is an Alaskan based C130 operator, they had a couple of C130s operating out of Nadzab in PNG a few years ago.
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Old 11th Dec 2016, 13:49
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Duck Pilot View Post
Is Coulson associated with Lynden Air by any chance? Lynden Air is an Alaskan based C130 operator, they had a couple of C130s operating out of Nadzab in PNG a few years ago.
Yes. T-132 is a Lynden L382 on lease to Coulson and partially crewed by Lynden aircrew.
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Old 14th Dec 2016, 04:25
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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Dropping salt water at the Patonga, NSW fire right now. RFS just put up a videoclip showing a Skycrane refilling using the scoop offshore and then heading into Brisbane waters NP to offload.
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Old 14th Dec 2016, 20:40
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks A Squared, thought that may have been the case.
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