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View Diary: Flight Engineer - A Dying Breed (106 comments)

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  •  Did you read the article ? (0+ / 0-)
    That fire was in flatter terrain than a lot of fires, though.
    The guy who did up the 747 says he can fly higher so flat isn't needed for him / his plane .
    He also says that because he can drop from higher up , he can drop at night .
    Anyway , his plane is sitting doing not much ...

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 03:35:01 PM PST

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    •  Yeah, I read it (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deward Hastings, elfling, Cobbler, Kevskos

      The guy's talking from his perspective, where he gets to fly his plane and make a lot of money. The Forest Service is operating from the perspective of fighting fires, which they're really good at, and his plane will often not match up with their needs, no matter how good he thinks he is.

      And at best planes drop water or retardant, not 'extinguisher' - they don't put out fires bigger than a few acres. Big fires are contained on the ground, usually by denying the fire area in which to continue spreading - from a 6 inch wide fire line to dozer-width lines to burning out a few hundred yards in front of the fire. Sometimes they want areas to burn, too. If his operation doesn't match up with those strategies, it isn't needed.

      I don't think the guy is cost-effective, or even effective, just because he says so. Maybe he is, maybe not.

      There are considerations of accuracy, cost compared to other options, or simply the fact that most fires aren't within a few hundred miles of an airport that can handle a 747, so his turn around time is terrible plus he burns a lot fuel round trip.

      Our fire last September had a chopper dipping water from a beaver pond less than a mile from the fire. Between his lower cost per hour, lower fuel consumption, and round trip time (3 or 4 minutes at most), I'd bet he could put more water on the fire per hour more precisely for a lot less money than a 747.

      In Soviet Russia, you rob bank. In America, bank robs you.

      by badger on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 04:43:52 PM PST

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