The largest firefighting vehicle in the world
This is pretty impressive! But couldn't they have "tested" it over an actual fire, and done some good with all that water?
Can it drop FireIce Gel from it? That would make it be like 7 aircraft drops in one.
But It's big, bulky, and expensive...
Just seems like it would be much cheaper to operate a fleet of the smaller aircraft and hit the fire a few times if the fire is not burning in a perfect straight line.
There are other big tankers like a modified DC-10 already out there dropping 12k gallons. The altitude must be higher for these bigger planes to fly at over a fire, I think then you are forced then to carry the gels and retardants which cost more to mix up than plain water. You are not going to be able to get right down on a fire with this thing unless you are in flat country. It just doesn't have the maneuverability to get low for the hill fires like in California.
The Bombardier CL-415 super scooper is smaller, way cheaper, and more agile. California leased two of these and they drop 6k gallons (more like 1/4 of the load and not the 1/8th load mentioned in the article)at a pop and can reload on the fly in 12 seconds by skimming a trough or lake. Being smaller it can operate at smaller airfields and be forward deployed.
I still think the Evergreen Supertanker is cool though.
20,000+ gallons in 10 seconds is quite impressive. I wonder how long it takes to fill the plane with that much water?
It would be great to see a link to a video of this aircaft taking on water and releasing its load on a fire.
pretty good idea. but a 747 isn't really the most manuverable plane in the world..... if they could find a better way for this (smaller planes), then that would be better for stuff that isn't out in the open.....
sox all the way
As JimmyD mentioned, the expense, maneuverability, not to imagine the load cycle time, has got to be far longer than this old standby. The Martin Mars, with it's 15 minute load/dump cycle of 7,200 gallons (27,254 L), is hard to beat.
Also consider the high rate of takeoff/landing cycles, rapidly consuming the 747's useful life. The 747 was built to fly 'cruise' for endless hours, not repeatedly land and takeoff, like a commuter.
Not to mention that you also need to be near an airport that has a runway long enough to deal with plus the ability to fill the plan with water. Many areas that have large wild fires don't also have huge airports, I guess one area this would be useful would be Southern Cal maybe fly out of LAX. A 747 loaded with water can't just take off anywhere. This has got to be costly to operate too. Also you need to take into account the dump errors that can happen, sometimes they miss their targets. If they have to dump from higher altitudes this error becomes greater. As a result there may be more wasted runs, adding to the cost.
I have spent many summers in a remote area in Northern Ontario Canada and when there is a forest fire reported they show up with a few turbo-prop scout planes and two or three Martin Mars water bombers. and a few choppers with buckets. The fire is out within a hour. I don't think a 747 could respond that quickly.
The 747 sure looks cool though.
That is very impressive, there's a video of it doing a test drop over at youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PytYPRIsJ38.
It must take a serious amount of time to fill that thing up though, like others I question if the 747 can actually match existing fire fighting aircraft for turn around.
very impressive, yet thats gotta suck up alotta fuel carrying all that weight, not to mention takeoff distance, and like JimmyD said, it isnt none too manuverable. id know i have microsoft flight simulator. youd think theyd start testing other planes.-DaSonicMan
@SonicMan10: REALLY? YOU HAVE MICROSOFT FLIGHT SIMULATOR??? Wow, I guess that would make you the expert, then! :-) Good use of double negatives too, btw.
This is good news. I have nephews who fight fires. Sooner or later we will have to wake up to the idea that what mankind is doing to the planet is having a cumulative effect, and we need to be fighting more fires, not less, as time goes by. This is good news.
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