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How to fight the California wildfires with a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet

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Step inside (which you can do in the interactive 3-D model below) and you'll see that the upper floor looks pretty normal, with the cockpit and a few seats. Head down the stairs to the main floor, though, and you'll see the key changes its owner, Global Supertanker LLC, made when it converted the Japan Airlines passenger plane to a firefighter in 2016. (www.wired.com) עוד...

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jimcander
Jim Anderson 8
This beast and the two DC-10's that they fly helped save my Mom's development outside Santa Rosa... There's some amazing video of it during that series of fires. And FWIW... my mom's 750,000 dollar home that was saved is a two bedroom bungalow on a slab... as are most in her development... So when comments about saving "million dollar" homes are made, I tend to chafe a bit... how much does a home have to be worth before they utilize something like this?
joelwiley
joel wiley 6
You are welcome to chafe - there is little 'affordable housing' left in California. My million-dollar home comment referred to potential insurance losses, although the newer homes in the urban-wildeland interface tend to be between 'higher end' and 'off scale'. The losses in the complex around Santa Rosa are estimated now north of 9 Billion. As Sentor Dirkson said, a billion here a billion there and soon we are talking real money. Tanker 944 and the CL-415's are both tools in the toolbox. Sometimes one is better than the other. Calif 2017 has needed the whole box, and then some.

Take a trip to any fire area in California (and probably elsewhere) and see the number of hand-painted "THANK YOU FIREFIGHTERS". Tankers help, but the down in the dirt hand crews actually do the stopping. That tends to be overlooked sometimes.
jimcander
Jim Anderson 4
Always respect your comments Joel. I was out just as she returned home to help clean up the superficial damage she experienced. Those on the ground stopped it 1/4 from her house and She made sure we found out who they were and I went with her to thank as many of them as we could find. And just those encamped around her development after she got home. I just know 944 was part of some of the Bennett Valley drops and after the wind shifted to southwesterly direction.
wx1996
wx1996 2
For background, this is a Colorado Springs based aircraft and company. Not related to the older Evergreen tanker attempt.

http://globalsupertanker.com/
andrewcarter747b
andrewcarter747b 1
Not sure if that's the 979 evergreen jumbo doing the dumps. The DC10 tanker at KVCV is normally active for this. It went down under to Australia last summer for there bush fires fantastic to see it operating dumping retardant.
vector4traffic
vector4traffic 1
I wonder how it handles the massive uplift from the heat of the fire. Those engines take a while to spool up.
taterhed1
taterhed1 1
I've heard (from a crewmember) that one of the real issues is ingesting super-heated air into the engines. It can cause rollback/flux based on the rapid changing probe/sensor values. Not sure if they did any mods to address this.

Again, I'm not sure if this info was based on prior 74 or DC10 testing or current....but, it was an issue.
betwalam
Walt Amrein 1
Let's not forget the "smoke jumpers". They are part time and make very little. I had the opportunity to tour the facility at Moezula, Montana. The fellow was fantastic. He was killed in a blow back about a month later. This was about 20 years ago.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Another tool in the toolbox. Easy commute to the jobsite. Hike out not so easy.
https://www.fs.fed.us/fire/people/smokejumpers/missoula/
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
It is currently operating out of Sacramento KMCC for CalFire at $16,500/hr protecting million dollar homes.
https://flightaware.com/live/flight/N744ST
bevandter
Terry McKinney 0
The Canadair (Bombadier) CL-415 is by far the world's best waterbomber. It doesn't need to land to refill and adds retardent dependent on the fire type. The EU has several which thay move around where neede but the two countries with the worst brush and forest fires; USA and Australia don't have any. (at least I don't think they have. As sor the US I guess because it is Canadian they won't buy it. The US wants every one in the world to buy their commercial and military aircraft; and everything else as well but seem to be on a perennial "buy America" kick. Free trade folks; if you don't make the best product for the job; buy it from those who do.
joelwiley
joel wiley 3
One other possible reason for US not purchasing new CL-415's is that they are not making them any more (that may change). I agree it is a valuable tool and is the best tool for certain situations. I don't think there is an overall 'best' aerial tanker. Tanker 944 is 'best' when you need to lay down a half mile retardant line on a ridge, but not so good on a small spot fire or structure protection.

Overall, I believe the three best firefighting tools are the shovel, McCleod, and pulaski in the hands of an experienced ground crew. The planes make great videos, hand crews make great firelines.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Just after I posted, I found a new squawk on the subject that makes interesting reading:

https://flightaware.com/squawks/view/1/recently/popular/64194/How_Air_Power_Helped_Defeat_San_Diego_Lilac_Wildfire
nick0909
nick0909 2
Your political rant isn't really correct. The US West Coast utilizes super scoopers routinely, when the fire season in Canada ends they come down on contract all along the coastal cities. We love the Scoopers down here in SoCal, but there is no need for us to own them. They do a great job during the months we need them, and their French accents on the radio add a bit of spice to the air attach chatter as well.

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