1. #1
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    Default 747's as tankers

    I recently read the article about how 747's are being convereted for firefighting use. I have one question. 747's are very big, infact the Boise Airport (idaho) isnt even large enough to land a 747. The tankers last year were based all over idaho including the McCall airport which is only about 5000 feet long. The old tankers had difficult lifting off on this short runway but were close to the fires and could offer their support very quick. My question is, where would they keep these 747's? ALthough they could carry a much larger load, the round trip time would be much longer. The old aircraft could make round trips much quicker. 747's would be expensive to opperate and finding runways that could carry their weight in the will be pratically impossible unless they are based out of major airports like salt lake and denver. I think that its a bad idea. I say to just fix the current fleet, give the planes major repairs/modifications and get them back flying.

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    From Evergreen's website: http://www.evergreenaviation.com/supertanker/faq.html

    I'll be the first to admit I know absolutely zip about wildland firefighting or aerial tankers but I think this is a very interesting concept. The sight of a "fat albert" at 400' AGL making a drop of 24,000 gallons would be quite a site to see!
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    Thanks for the article. The funny thing is: there a big space in idaho thats not covered but thats where all the fires are. I read about a different company thats retro fitting a-10 warthogs as firefighting planes. The amazing thing about this is if they could re-fill the retardant in midair from a larger tanker. The ammount of gallons you could lay down on a fire would be incredible. Definatley something that would improve air support for the guys on the groud.
    I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a firefighter. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the firefighter has to do believe that his is a noble calling.

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    I say to just fix the current fleet, give the planes major repairs/modifications and get them back flying.
    At some point, we've got to get new equipment into service. Just look at some of the planes that are used (or were used in the last couple of years) to fight our wildfires:

    The Consolidated Privateer. That's a World War II maritime patrol plane. First flight of type: 1943.

    Douglas DC-4. World War II transport that was Air Force 1 before the Air Force existed. Franklin Roosevelt's was named "The Sacred Cow". First flight of type: 1942.

    Douglas DC-6. Early post World War II transport plane. First flight of type: 1945

    Douglas DC-7. New kid on the block from Douglas and last of their prop airliners. First flight of type: 1953

    Boeing C-97. Post World War II transport version of the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Japan. First flight of type: 1944

    Lockheed C-130A. Introductory version of the type. First flight of type: 1954

    PBY Catalina. World War II maritime patrol plane. First flight of type: 1935

    Douglas A-26. Medium Bomber used in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. First flight of type: 1942.

    Lockheed Neptune. Korean War maritime patrol plane. First flight of type: 1945

    There are also Grumman Trackers, Lockheed Neptunes, and Lockheed Orions performing these tasks. These are all anti-submarine/maritime patrol planes that have been converted to fire attack roles. The Tracker is a Korean war era antisubmarine plane that first flew in 1952. The Orion is much newer, having first flown in 1959. I'm sure the ones in use as tankers are the older models but at least the type is still in widespread use around the world.

    To be fair, there are also many modern aircraft like the Canadiar CL-215/415 in use and the first flight of the type doesn't mean the tanker in use is that old but the fact is many of these planes belong in museums, not flying operational sorties! The C-97 is only one of two flyable examples left IN THE WORLD and the Privateer that crashed in 2002 was only one of about five.

    I don't particularly agree with the quit cold-turkey approach, but it may be the only way to force a fleet upgrade. The really sad thing is that there are modern planes available that would fill the role nicely. The point about a 747's weight and runway requirements is valid, but C-130s have great lifting strength and short field capabilities. If you're looking to scoop water, the CL-215/415 and Be-200 can get it done.

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    Arrow Destroying the old fleet

    I think getting rid of the old fleet is a neccesity, some of those planes are as old as my grandparents. I think that it is time for us to build a new fleet of airplane that is better suited for the change in technology that we are expierencing in this era. The old planes are out of shape and beyond repair. They have suited us well in the past but it is time to let them go.

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    I'm with WTFD10, as don't know a whole lot about wildfires, but it sounds very interesting. Also heard they were looking at converting some DC10's (??) to tankers, also......

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    The idea of the 747 is interesting, but I noticed no one seemed to know what they would cost. If the article I read was right they cost 2M per drop and about 1M per day. I might be wrong, but that is what I read.

    That kind of cost is way to high.

    Zimm

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    Testing on the 747 has only been done on 82,000 -
    97,000 pound drops. (edited to account for retardant)

    While they say internal feasibility would allow them
    to go to 164,000 pounds+, seeing is believing. What they
    appear to want is government money to show it can be
    done.

    The Il-76 has been going out with 90,200 pounds for
    years in Russia and can go to 127,100 pounds.

    Proponents will say the Il-76 is a far better alternative
    than the 747 because the IL-76 was designed as a
    dropper, like the C1-130, and wasn't designed to
    go gate to gate with tourists.

    The cost to hire the IL-76 is $10K/hr+fuel+room,
    board, and ground transport for the crew.
    Last edited by budthespud; 06-06-2004 at 12:07 PM.

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