Anyone here understanding anything about aerial firefighting?

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16 years 1 month

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As the title says ...

Or knows where one can get decent info on it?

Educated amateurs and professionals only, please.

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So what do you want to know? These days mostly bigger stuff is used from Dromader's and 802's through to converted Convairs and Orions. Really big stuff as well like 146's and DC10. Rotary wing machines go from Huey's to Skycranes.
If you give us an idea of what you want to know maybe I could supply more.

Member for

16 years 1 month

Posts: 4,674

So what do you want to know? These days mostly bigger stuff is used from Dromader's and 802's through to converted Convairs and Orions. Really big stuff as well like 146's and DC10. Rotary wing machines go from Huey's to Skycranes.
If you give us an idea of what you want to know maybe I could supply more.

Thank you for the response!

I'm looking for range at alt/temp - drop weight - cyle times data of bambi/fast-bucket helicopters in hot/high ops environ vs something like a AT-802F (for reasons of price and granularity nothing larger). Basically looking for the distance where something like a M-18 or AT-802 starts to make more sense than a large helicopter.

I'm also curious if a software exists that predicts flame front path, based on 3D terrain data, vegetation, humidity, meteo data; maybe also including MODIS or EFFIS data. Something like that. Also maybe mission planning software. And data how various chemicals influence flame front prpoagation; such stuff.

And then what is typically required as GSE, crew support infrastructure, fuel and chemical tankers, &c to run a semi-mobile ground ops.

Also if anyone is using UAV to monitor forrest areas, or use the UAV as airborne com relay in difficult terrain, incl video feed to ruggedized handhelds.

The basic and (extended) common sense stuff and the stuff that is similar in mil and para-mil ops I know. I need a crash course in the finer points of aerial firefighting. Maybe there is an aerial firefighting forum I missed so far? I only found a few mags ...

Profile picture for user Student Pilot

Member for

10 years 11 months

Posts: 201


I'm looking for range at alt/temp - drop weight - cyle times data of bambi/fast-bucket helicopters in hot/high ops environ vs something like a AT-802F (for reasons of price and granularity nothing larger). Basically looking for the distance where something like a M-18 or AT-802 starts to make more sense than a large helicopter....

The distance is not as far as you think it would be with the relative cost of running complex machines like Skycranes (Plus the added cost of a monopoly operation of the Skycranes). At a rough guess the costs of a Crane would be 7 times more expensive. Ferry speed is another plus for the fixed wing with an 8 having a full load speed of around 130 knots.
With both working maximum load the 802 is 3000 litres and the crane is 9000.
Ferry time aside the landing/loading/take off time for an 8 would be around 5 minutes. Every machine has it's good points, well run departments make use of those good points of each machine.
I'm also curious if a software exists that predicts flame front path, based on 3D terrain data, vegetation, humidity, meteo data; maybe also including MODIS or EFFIS data. Something like that. Also maybe mission planning software. And data how various chemicals influence flame front prpoagation; such stuff....

Good luck with that one, there is an infinate number of variables that would make such software impossible.
Also if anyone is using UAV to monitor forrest areas, or use the UAV as airborne com relay in difficult terrain, incl video feed to ruggedized handhelds....

Again good luck with that. There are many UAV's around now, all extolling the virtues and cost savings of not having a pilot. They range from basically hobby stuff through to military machinery. The only one's that could be usefull would be the military one's but for the price you could have a fleet of GA Aircraft and crew them.
The basic and (extended) common sense stuff and the stuff that is similar in mil and para-mil ops I know. I need a crash course in the finer points of aerial firefighting. Maybe there is an aerial firefighting forum I missed so far? I only found a few mags ...

The science differs from the real world, aerial fire fighting is often restrained for reasons of politics, infighting between departments/states, national economy and just plain people not knowing what they are doing. The same mistakes seem to be made from one national disaster to the next with departments seemingly not learning.

Member for

16 years 1 month

Posts: 4,674

The distance is not as far as you think it would be with the relative cost of running complex machines like Skycranes (Plus the added cost of a monopoly operation of the Skycranes). At a rough guess the costs of a Crane would be 7 times more expensive. Ferry speed is another plus for the fixed wing with an 8 having a full load speed of around 130 knots.
With both working maximum load the 802 is 3000 litres and the crane is 9000.
Ferry time aside the landing/loading/take off time for an 8 would be around 5 minutes. Every machine has it's good points, well run departments make use of those good points of each machine.

Good luck with that one, there is an infinate number of variables that would make such software impossible.

Again good luck with that. There are many UAV's around now, all extolling the virtues and cost savings of not having a pilot. They range from basically hobby stuff through to military machinery. The only one's that could be usefull would be the military one's but for the price you could have a fleet of GA Aircraft and crew them.

The science differs from the real world, aerial fire fighting is often restrained for reasons of politics, infighting between departments/states, national economy and just plain people not knowing what they are doing. The same mistakes seem to be made from one national disaster to the next with departments seemingly not learning.

I know the guys from Skycrane Erickson. Not looking for services, though, rather own capability. But good point, as they can be used in case of a larger than planned-for event (always the question: regular event? 5 year? 10 year?). Also MChS is always willing and rather able.

Understand that helicopters are 5 to 10 times more expensive. Can be partially offset by (on paper) multi-tasking them with SAR, MEDEVAC, flood fighting, &c. Conventional firefighting aircraft are a little underemployed in the off-season (how much aerial seeding and fertilizing can you do?). I think a plus for the 802 over a heli is its loitering capability. Also big question always flying over populated areas with sling loads - that's really tricky, totally lawyered-up.

Re software: Looks like I just found a gap in the market! LOL. Well, gotta look around a little more ...

Re aerial monitoring and early warning, aka UAV: I know all there is about the mil stuff, but found two good civ solution. very much depending on national ATC regulations anyway. but got that one covered.

Your last point: Exact!! I can blow a lot of hot air on paper, but how it turns out in reality ... still I'll try not to look like some stupid smart alek when facing the actual operators ;-)

Thanks for the dialogue!! ;-)

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