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How not to fly when aerial firefighting

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How not to fly when aerial firefighting

Old 14th Aug 2019, 05:04
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How not to fly when aerial firefighting


Looking at recent social media footage of numerous air tankers in the USA and some in Europe there is a headline grabbing nasty accident just waiting happen.

Near CFIT, showboating, retardant drops so low they strip anything in their path including trees, people and animals

lots of poor airmanship on display - very sad in what is a difficult job for sure - but even more of a reason to make sure you and your crew go home each night!
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 06:51
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Nothing new!

And the point of your post is?

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Old 14th Aug 2019, 07:17
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That there might be some pretty lousy firefighting flying lately.
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 08:02
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Originally Posted by ehwatezedoing View Post
That there might be some pretty lousy firefighting flying lately.
Fire ops have their moments, and that crew did not have much margin in their flightpath. It may be bad judgement, but it is always dependent on judgement, and occasionally it goes pear-shaped.
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 09:36
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Having looked at the video, I have to agree with the narrator.
Cannot confirm from the video, but I suspect with hands on throttles someone forgot the speed-brakes...
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 10:12
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Saw this video yesterday. You can barely perceive a fire, except from what might have been lit by his exhaust on that hill.

Just last week a guy in southern France did the deed flying a converted Grumman Tracker. He'd been firefighting for six years and previously flown Mirages for over a decade, so I doubt his skills are in doubt. It's just that the terrain isn't always friendly, the convective turbulence must be brutal, and visibility sometimes pretty minimal. And on bad days they must just get tired. Dangerous business.
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 10:22
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Might be good to post a link to know which video we are talking about....
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 13:03
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As to the tanker in the OP's clip, do any of you fly them for a living?
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 18:40
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Originally Posted by West Coast View Post
As to the tanker in the OP's clip, do any of you fly them for a living?
Is that a leading question? There is a whole ton of expertise on here with Avro / RJ experience and quite a few with fire ops knowledge, what nobody can really justify from the clip shown is the reason for not following the USFS own guidelines on retardant drops that were recently published here and by the grace of God being a few feet from certain fatal consequences. It was no doubt a lesson that will be learned hopefully very quickly and not repeated any time soon, both to other operators as well as either Neptune or Aeroflite - whoever's a/c it was that was in the clip...
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 19:09
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Originally Posted by Jetscream 32 View Post
as well as either Neptune or Aeroflite - whoever's a/c it was that was in the clip...
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 19:18
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I’ve 1500 hrs 146, none as a water bomber.
But regardless I’m sure I wouldn’t wanna be 10’ from death at any point .
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 19:48
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Angry

Originally Posted by Jetscream 32 View Post
I- whoever's a/c it was that was in the clip...
There is no clip/link in this thread

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Old 14th Aug 2019, 19:51
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Originally Posted by hoss183 View Post
There is no clip/link in this thread
Here's a link to the video:

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Old 14th Aug 2019, 20:10
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ISTR reading that a Martin Mars water bomber crashed into a mountain on Vancouver Island in the early 60s after, it is suspected, the drop mechanism failed and, as a result, the aircraft was too heavy to avoid colliding with terrain. Since then, the possibility of a failure of the drop mechanism has been factored into the drop planning. In this incident, we can only speculate what might have happened if the drop mechanism had failed.
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 20:54
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That video looks to me like a nasty example of ‘hidden ridge’, a known illusion where terrain in the foreground has a similar appearance to that in the background and ‘disappears’ until it starts to bloom rapidly at short range. The usual defence of GPWS is not so effective if warnings are experienced frequently while maintaining a safe flightpath, as is often the case at low level in mountainous terrain: a certain degree of desensitisation is likely. Other defences are to fly along the grain of terrain (not always possible) and to watch carefully for changing sight line rates of approaching terrain. I have no fire fighting experience myself but I’d imagine that the pilots are well aware...
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 20:59
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Originally Posted by Jetscream 32 View Post
Is that a leading question? There is a whole ton of expertise on here with Avro / RJ experience and quite a few with fire ops knowledge, what nobody can really justify from the clip shown is the reason for not following the USFS own guidelines on retardant drops that were recently published here and by the grace of God being a few feet from certain fatal consequences. It was no doubt a lesson that will be learned hopefully very quickly and not repeated any time soon, both to other operators as well as either Neptune or Aeroflite - whoever's a/c it was that was in the clip...
You have no experience in airborne firefighting then?

You post a clip of one aircraft and then reach conclusions about the industry.
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 21:26
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Well here’s some experience right here:


I think we can all agree with FAR 91.875, the pilot in command shall not use the plane to hit the bushes.

Last edited by bunk exceeder; 14th Aug 2019 at 21:37.
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 22:13
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Originally Posted by bunk exceeder View Post
I think we can all agree with FAR 91.875, the pilot in command shall not use the plane to hit the bushes.
Did you just pick that FAR number at random, or does it have some hidden relevance ?
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 22:22
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Random. I was being witty. But any pilot in command who uses the plane to hit the bushes shall submit, upon request, a written report to the administrator within 10 days. I don’t think bushwork appears in NTSB 830.... Of course you have to throw in Careless and Reckless....
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 22:37
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Firework is inherently high risk.
A miss is as good as mile...... I’m sure the crew involved will be reviewing their actions over a well earned cold beer.
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