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Practical Fire Bomber ?

Old 27th Nov 2016, 21:44
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Practical Fire Bomber ?

There's been discussion here before about what is a suitable fire bomber for Oz.
We can likely scratch one from the list for it looks like the 747 based Super Tanker has some problems...

"...Fire Commissioner says there is no operational need for the massive American firefighting aircraft, the police, which operates the plane, insisted on using it over the Jerusalem Mountains on Saturday. On Sunday, however, it took to the air and circled idly over the Israeli shoreline..."


Looks like the Israelis suffer from the same inter agency bickering we got in Oz. (I wonder if the issue were which agency will foot the bill.)
"...police demanded to use the firefighting aircraft in the forests that border Highway 1, while the Fire & Rescue Authority determined there was no operational need for it..."
Ynetnews News - Fire commanders, police at odds over Supertanker


Some amazing videos of bomber flying below rooftops in the middle of a city:
Ynetnews News - WATCH: Friends in need: Many countries send firefighting aircraft to Israel






.
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Old 27th Nov 2016, 22:06
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Not much use in Oz anyway - runways that can take a fully loaded 747 are a long way apart. And imagine the time lost getting in and out of Sydney and taxying around to wherever a big enough garden hose is to fill it up again.

C130 is probably the better bet, with its STOL capability.
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Old 27th Nov 2016, 23:46
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What about the P3 Orion? Raaf retiring, good solid robust aircraft with performance
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Old 28th Nov 2016, 02:19
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Originally Posted by Ascend Charlie
runways that can take a fully loaded 747 are a long way apart.
You must be the advisor for WA Minister Joe Francis who said, during the fire that burnt Yarloop to the ground, the DC-10 would be useless because there were no jet runways 15 minutes south of Perth (or similar), Yarloop being a whole 60nm south...
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Old 28th Nov 2016, 02:36
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As a CFA volunteer and pilot i beleive, large air tankers are not suited to much of Australia from both an aviation and fire point. As pointed out above runways which can handle large tankers are few and far between. From the fire perspective retardant bombing in Australia is not as effective as they are in the US. Australia bush has a very thick canopy which 'collects' most of the drop and as a result the fire just moves along under the drop in the ground fuels, American pine forests are not as dense. Australian fires also have a tendency to spot much further than US fires meaning breaches of retardant lines are much more common.
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 00:09
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or the BAe.146 based tanker??
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 01:34
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Does anyone know the story behind this old Neptune? Several years since I saw it at Cunderdin airport in WA.

Aircraft Registration Photos - VH-NEP - JetPhotos.Net Aviation Photos
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 01:38
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The DC 10 was flying out of Willy a few weeks ago bombing fires a few minutes away, how did it do?
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 02:20
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Martin Mars! No need for suitable airfield and "reloads" are very rapid... :-)
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 02:41
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Both the 10 Tanker DC 10 and a Coulson C130 have been based at Richmond RAAF base for quite a few weeks now and both have seen a fair bit of use. I'd guess if it wasn't for them there would of been property losses during some recent fires here in Sydney's west.

This was shot just 3 odd weeks ago.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6AlwhjF9pU
DC-10 turns up about 2:50 in

This was the view from my backyard during that fire, had started getting ontop of it by this stage.


And the same view the week before while it was still out of control.
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 03:29
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CL-415... Purpose built. Any modified or converted aircraft come with issues, one of which is old outdated airframes. Large commercial airliners actually have very limited firefighting scenarios where they can be effective and safely used.

DC
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 06:52
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A combination of aircraft is "The Best Practical Fire Bomber" Some large converted ex-airliners B747/A380 (not too long to relocate from say Adelaide, Sydney and Perth) could work on large fronts and CL-415 (based at more locations about Australia) could be more dedicated areas, a few smaller and choppers to deal with spots and protecting local areas like houses.

One size wont fit all, we need a fleet with a National approach .
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 07:07
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What about a Convair CV580?
Just call Barry Lapointe at Kelowna Flightcraft in Kelowna BC Canada.
He will get Conair to slap a tank on and you'll have one here in no time.
I'm sure he has a few on CV580's spare at the moment...........
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 20:16
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The CL-415 is always promoted, but we are different from Canada, where a long lake is in the bottom of every valley. Try to find a body of water long enough to make a run on, without lots of dead trees in it, and it has to be fresh water - the authorities won't let you drop salt water as its residues kill the vegetation and pollute the soil. Turnarounds of more than 20 minutes are not very helpful.
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Old 30th Nov 2016, 09:59
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Originally Posted by Ascend Charlie View Post
- the authorities won't let you drop salt water as its residues kill the vegetation and pollute the soil. Turnarounds of more than 20 minutes are not very helpful.
That wasn't the case in the Otways fires last Dec/Jan in Victoria. The choppers were filling their buckets from the ocean. Got the video to prove it.
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Old 30th Nov 2016, 11:30
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I second the C130 as a fire bomber..... why not make it a part of the ADF.... They already assist with disaster relief, and have trained pilots on a salary - so it would not cost the taxpayer that much extra - as oppposed to paying private companies stupid amounts of taxpayer money to be on standby....

They are selling a whole bunch of C130's, why not convert 2 to fire bombers?... one for East coast, one for West coast... it is literally just a module you fit inside the cargo bay called MAFFS. Not rocket science.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modula...ighting_System

If you want an idea of how much we as taxpayers pay to have private fire fighting aircraft on call. (and I am not sure if this is year round - the figure could just be during fire season?) - Firefighting choppers cost millions on stand-by - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Victoria alone, $18 million a year to have fire fighter aircraft on STANDBY (and then heaps extra once they are called out).... much better to have a RAAFie on a salary, on fire fighting duties, who can also get some more stick time... and then when it is not fire season.. it can just be a regular old C130 lumping stuff around... in an hour or so.

But it's not just about money at the end of the day... there is something far more important which this system could save.

Last edited by Sbaker; 30th Nov 2016 at 11:41.
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Old 30th Nov 2016, 16:29
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Victoria alone, $18 million a year to have fire fighter aircraft on STANDBY (and then heaps extra once they are called out).... much better to have a RAAFie on a salary, on fire fighting duties, who can also get some more stick time... and then when it is not fire season.. it can just be a regular old C130 lumping stuff around... in an hour or so.
Do you have any idea the cost to the taxpayer to staff those proposed RAAF C130's? I think you'll find that your numbers won't add up.
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Old 30th Nov 2016, 19:24
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Havick. Yes, get the defence force to do it.. we as a taxpayer pay them the same amount in salary wether they fly or wether they sit around.. so just utilising the resources we already have without adding too much cost (in comparison). So it would not be a civilian operation - but more like how the USA do it as an extension of the air force reserves.

That was the point I was making sorry if it didn't come across clear.

Last edited by Sbaker; 30th Nov 2016 at 19:36.
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Old 30th Nov 2016, 19:39
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This topic seems to come up on this site every year about now.
The problem is that there seems to be no perfect "fire bomber".
Each fire is different and the final cost of each fire is different.
The final cost of a fire may or may not justify the large cost of a large or very large aircraft kept on standby for a season in an area.

I was at the site of the NSW Springwood fire a few years ago. My parent lived in the adjacent retirement village and I was taking them home when it started in a nearby paddock. When I first saw it, it was a small grass fire.
The cost of that fire was huge and despite denials, people died as a result. The problem was that they were old and died as a result of being moved off site into sub standard accommodation. Was the cost of their deaths factored in to the cost? Not that I saw.

The problem of that fire was that early on the resulting traffic jam stopped ground based fire vehicles arriving and the fire got away. Early this year I watched the DC10 drop retardant on a fire north of Wollongong. I have no doubt after watching that drop that the Springwood fire would have been out within minutes if the DC10 had been available. So I have no hesitation in saying in the Springwood fire the DC10 was the perfect aircraft for THAT fire.

As far as the criticism of old airframes, the CV580s, C13os and L188s seem to be working well elsewhere. The newer Bae 146 etc still have to prove themselves. The fact is that low utilisation vehicles and aircraft cost wise will always be leftovers. The economics aren't there for new equipment. The trick here is to pick good solid, reliable aircraft and the CV580 is just that.

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Old 30th Nov 2016, 20:15
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NSW Rural Fire Service were dropping salt water on a fire at south Ballina a few weeks ago. One local chopper and one of Pays Air Service Air Tractors with floats filling up in the Richmond River. The air tractor was doing approx 120 sec turn arounds the fire was so close to the river.
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