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Air Tanker Crash
T O P I C Discussion Started: 07-19-2002, 8:58 AM Add to the Discussion
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What are your thoughts about the air tanker crash that killed to firefighters?

Would you like to leave a message to the families of those killed?

This plane was 57 years old. Do you think these old planes should still be flying firefighting missions?

View Messages: [newest first] | [oldest first]
HawkLoogie 07-22-2002, 1:52 PM Add to the Discussion
The only reason for using old, WWII vintage aircraft for firefighting is based on money (and greed).

Sure, these old planes are structurally inspected but are the procedures thorough enough to ensure their safety? Obviously not! The Air Force has 50 year old B-52's still flying but their meticulous inspection program makes sure they are airworthy. If these firefighting contractors had to do equivalent inspections they would have just scrapped the old planes as it wouldn't be economical for them.

The plane that crashed (a single tail version of the B-24) was designed to release its bombs on a straight and level run, not dive at the target and then perform evasive maneuvers which places extremely high stresses on the airframe.

There are newer C-130's available which can be used without modifiying their cargo carrying capabilities, utilizing a modular system for slurry delivery (see www.aerounion.com/asd_a3.htm concerning their MAFFS: Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System).

But it all comes down to money; these newer aircraft cost a LOT more. Economics and basic greed dictate that companies will fly these old planes until they ALL come apart at the seams or they are banned by the FAA. And we all know the FAA is going to look the other way unless there is a huge public outcry and someone's Senator gets involved.

That' my two cents worth, Hawk A. Loogie

rancher2 07-20-2002, 12:56 PM Add to the Discussion
The best way to save lives is to end development in the "stupid zone" now! Why should pilots risk their lives to save somebody's vacation home or trophy house? Let the forests burn like they have been doing for millions of years without human intervention! The natural forest, and human lives, are more important than "stuff" that can be replaced.

rancher2

DonCurtis 07-19-2002, 3:51 PM Add to the Discussion
Oh, come on now. The old planes are in Arizona because they are no longer economical to fix and/or fly. You can fix a plane almost indefinately. Just replace the parts that are fatigued and or broken.

First of all, these planes used in slurry drops are not, and never were passenger aircraft. They were military bombers. They were designed, from the ground up, to carry heavy loads and to be able to drop those loads quickly. Why are they using such old aircraft? Simple...there are no new aircraft of that type available on the civilian market! Think about it. The B-52 that the Air Force is still flying....is a 1950's era aircraft. They are still on active duty...not available for sale to civilians. Next comes the B-1 type aircraft and fighter-bombers.

All of the pure bomber aircraft, those specifically designed for similar type of service as slurry bombers, other than the B-1 or B-2 "latest and greatest" are 50 years old or more.

The way many in the media is portraying this is that Hawkins and Powers cut back on maintenance to make money. Wrong...how much money do you think they're making now??? Do you think this was a "wanted" outcome? That though is just as ludicrous as saying the pilots *purposefully* overstressed the aircraft to make the wings fall off to prove the aircraft was unsafe.

Hawkins and Powers maintained those aircraft as well as they could (certainly within FAA regulations) and the pilots were experienced well trained personnel. Accidents happen, it's too bad...but they DO happen.

Quit trying to blame "someone, anyone!" for an accident...."stuff happens" it really does!

Don

DonCurtis 07-19-2002, 3:51 PM Add to the Discussion
Oh, come on now. The old planes are in Arizona because they are no longer economical to fix and/or fly. You can fix a plane almost indefinately. Just replace the parts that are fatigued and or broken.

First of all, these planes used in slurry drops are not, and never were passenger aircraft. They were military bombers. They were designed, from the ground up, to carry heavy loads and to be able to drop those loads quickly. Why are they using such old aircraft? Simple...there are no new aircraft of that type available on the civilian market! Think about it. The B-52 that the Air Force is still flying....is a 1950's era aircraft. They are still on active duty...not available for sale to civilians. Next comes the B-1 type aircraft and fighter-bombers.

All of the pure bomber aircraft, those specifically designed for similar type of service as slurry bombers, other than the B-1 or B-2 "latest and greatest" are 50 years old or more.

The way many in the media is portraying this is that Hawkins and Powers cut back on maintenance to make money. Wrong...how much money do you think they're making now??? Do you think this was a "wanted" outcome? That though is just as ludicrous as saying the pilots *purposefully* overstressed the aircraft to make the wings fall off to prove the aircraft was unsafe.

Hawkins and Powers maintained those aircraft as well as they could (certainly within FAA regulations) and the pilots were experienced well trained personnel. Accidents happen, it's too bad...but they DO happen.

Quit trying to blame "someone, anyone!" for an accident...."stuff happens" it really does!

Don

duke1n 07-19-2002, 3:00 PM Add to the Discussion
Maybe if the forest service was not spending so much money defending itself against whacko litigation from environmental extremist groups, they could afford to maintain or subsidies a newer fleet of aircraft. The public is waking up!

HawkLoogie 07-19-2002, 11:03 AM Add to the Discussion
First, my deepest condolences to the families of those who died in the recent air tanker crash near Lyons. I think it's ludicrous to continue to fly these old warbirds for anything other than air shows because of metal fatigue. All commercial airliners are retired after a certain number of landings or combination of that and airtime hours. There's a huge boneyard of old airliners somewhere in Arizona to prove that fact. The stresses placed on the airframe of one of these planes while fighting fires are significantly greater than a normal passenger run anyday. The people running these contract firefighting companies are going to have to bite the bullet and get some newer planes before they run out of pilots. I feel that they are the money grubbers who are ultimately responsible for this tragedy. How many more deaths will it take for them to wake up?

In my humble opinion, Hawk A. Loogie

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