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DC-10 aiding in wildfires

Two of my favorite things...planes and firefighting. DC-10 coming in for a fast and amazing fire retardant dump out west. Credits go to the author. ( More...

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Roger Hallett 2
Good old DC-10 and some nice flying. Seems he missed the target, though. Maybe the plan was to blanket the next ridge with retardant. But mostly, don't they usually target the fire base?
joel wiley 1
Depends on the choreographer and the fire boss. Not much of a chance to stop it short of the ridgeline. They may have been laying down a line to slow it once it hit the ridge. Take a look at the vdeos of C-140's on the Ridge fire North of Yosemite last year. Great work by the lead plane.
Herb Fischer 1
Roger, actually the best plan is to drop ahead of the fire. As the name implies, it is a Retardant, not an extinguisher. As a Smokejumper, I was on the ground for a lot of Retardant drops, although in those days the B-25 was about the biggest thing we had. If the guys dropped directly on the fire the result was often pink powder hitting the ground after the water had evaporated out- not too effective. Occasionally if we were having trouble getting around the head of a fire they'd give us a load right on it to knock it back so we could get around it. Wasn't a Pilot then, but seemed like they dropped lower on those runs.
Roger Hallett 1
Makes sense. Some fires are very hot that it would be a waste of resources. Thanks
joel wiley 1
On Wednesday 9/17 a group including T910, T911, T912, along with T131 ( a new C130Q), A BAE 146-200 and a number of others dropped a record 170K + gallons of retardant on the King Fire East of Sacramento. That didn't stop it going from 29,000 to 70,000 acres.
Glad to see them flying.

[This poster has been suspended.]

joel wiley 1
The DC-10s are run by 10 Tanker ( and are currently staged at KMCC. I did not see the Evergreen 747 either visually or on Planeplotter. It would be kind of hard to miss since they were vectoring about over the house. Does anyone have its tail# or ICAO code?
joel wiley 1
I asked my good friend Google, and found it is N479EV.
I also found a photo of in in May, 2013 in the Az desert. Does not look good for the Green Team....
I live in the greater Sacramento area and I've enjoyed watching the DC-10s flying overhead. I have a couple classes at KMCC tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing these guys up close!
oowmmr 1
Great flying and second life for the old 3 holer.
emilpudge 1
Aren't these planes privately owned and leased to fire fighting operations? Why doesn't the U.S. Gov't own 10-15 of them to knockout forest fires BEFORE they get really out of control???
Herb Fischer 3
Don't get me started!

The "Let it Burn" crowd has forced the Forest Service to agonizingly evaluate whether each fire should be extinguished or ignored. Unfortunately, this is not a decision that can be made retroactively. You can't decide to stop it early after it has burned Helena.

We have the Jumpers, the Hotshots, etc.- we just have to use them! 50 years ago most of our Jumper Fires were "Two Manners"- two Jumpers on a burning snag before it had a chance to go anywhere. It worked.

Re: Aircraft for Retardant Bombers- I flew C-130's in USAF and thought- and still think- that the Herc would be perfect for the job. 30- 40,000 lbs of retardant, maneuverable, good acceleration........ I know, the spar broke on that "A" Model but that airplane was flying before I could buy a legal beer and I'm 77!
joel wiley 1
How much of a tax increase are you willing to support in order to pay for them?
emilpudge -1
I'll bet they pay less then $200k for a DC-10 parked out in the desert bone yard. looks like they just empty out the interior and add the tanks under. I just saw one of their promotional vids, they have a "long term" contract with the Forest Service - which is prob their only client. So we (the US tax-payers) are now paying for the service including their profit. The US Gov't has 10's of thousands of planes probably still including the useless but maintained B-52's...put those in service fighting forest fires. I say.
joel wiley 2
2006 California contracted on as-needed basis for DC-10 at about $24K/hr. 2007 Arnie the Governator signed and exclusive contract for $5 Mill + about $4.5K/hr. So USFS isn't the sole client. I seem to recall the C-140's cost about $10K/operating hour.

There had been a proposal to convert A-10 to firefighting, but not much came of it.
sharon bias 1
The DC10 fly's right over my house to land, and right over my office to takeoff. I'm talking I can wave at the pilot low. They take the long route to takeoff, but use a dive bomber approach. This was an old A-10 base, and I think these pilots think they're still flying the warhogs. It's taking 1 hour to fill, take-off, drop, return, and refill. They can use the DC10's when the fire is climbing up hills or cresting, but have to use smaller planes in the canyons. I have pictures if anyone wants them.
nitroxprt 1
Who do you think if going to pay the cost of the aircraft, when they are contracted to the Forest Service et al ?
Do you really expect them to not make a profit?


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