These two videos show various air tankers in the process of fighting various fires… Since PP is (thankfully) now out of danger as the River fire is mostly controlled, there is a bit less worry on my part.
But… The Ranch fire is still going strong, now over 200,000 acres, less than 25% contained, and the fire crews are hurting. They have brought in a number of air tankers to help out, including the DC-10 air tanker, but it takes a team effort. Air, ground, and hopefully some cooperation from the weather (which they are NOT getting in California right now).
The following video features a number of ‘older’ fire fighting airplanes, S-2s, P-2s, P-3s, and P4Ys. All of these airplanes are ex-Navy submarine hunter airplanes, with bombays that have been converted/added to with external pouches to drop more water or retardant.
As the second video says, not everyone comes back… I knew some of the folks that flew these birds back in the day, after they got out of the Navy. To a person, they said it was ‘busy’ in the cockpit… Dodging hills, wires, antennas, other airplanes, and getting the drop in the right place at the right time made for a high cockpit loading, but very rewarding when it all came together.
My hat’s off to each and everyone that does this risky work today, and the fire crews on the ground.