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#1 mugcanic

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 11:26 AM

I wonder when the penny will drop for the authorities in regard to the aircraft they use to "try" to put out these raging bushfires.

Hundreds of homes lost recently in Victoria and now in WA plus some lives.. I'm not sure of the capacity of our local water bombers but 4500 litres is a figure I think somebody once told me.

I read recently of a Boeing 747 which has been converted to carry over 100,000 litres.

I could be wrong but if this is true then why don't we have these?. ....at the first hint of smoke one of these could snuff out a bush fire before it gets to the catastrophic level where it burns out complete towns and kills people.

Happy to be corrected if my numbers are wrong.


Edited by mugcanic, 10 January 2016 - 11:27 AM.

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#2 koiom K. Asterisk*

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 12:22 PM

The logistics of having a 747 on hand at every major bushfire would be difficult to say the least.
I imagine you can't fly a 747 a couple of hundred feet off the ground either, well maybe Tom Cruise could, but no-one else.
Then you need to ask where are you going to fill it?
Elvis the helicopter is the best bet.
They can fill up easily in dams, rivers, oceans etc on the hover.
A 747 can do none of that.

You didn't really think this through much did you?

Edited by koiom K Frenzy, 10 January 2016 - 12:23 PM.

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#3 mugcanic

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 12:41 PM

The logistics of having a 747 on hand at every major bushfire would be difficult to say the least.
I imagine you can't fly a 747 a couple of hundred feet off the ground either, well maybe Tom Cruise could, but no-one else.
Then you need to ask where are you going to fill it?
Elvis the helicopter is the best bet.
They can fill up easily in dams, rivers, oceans etc on the hover.
A 747 can do none of that.

You didn't really think this through much did you?

 

What about the "logistics" of the massive clean up presenting the people of Yarloop....hundreds of peoples lives ruined, possessions lost forever, dream homes destroyed. Not to mention the 2 blokes who actually died in these fires.

i think maybe you need to get your head out of the sand.

I certainly DID think this through....the cost of having a 747 on standby would be miniscule compared with the cost of rebuilding, the cost of fighting these fires for days on end, spitting on them with tiny water bombers and the "Elvis" chopper



#4 mugcanic

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 12:55 PM

A 747 water tanker in the US can drop water from an altitude of between 400 and 800 feet and 1 drop can cover an area 5km long and as wide as a football field.

DC-10's are also in use and 1 drop from one of these is as much as 12 Grumann water bombers (which is what we use I think)

Do you still reckon I haven't thought this through?



#5 OldBogey

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 01:15 PM

A couple of problems, Mug. We'd need to have somewhere for these 747s to land and be filled with water, then get to the bushfire site.

Helicopters can land and be re-fuelled nearby and refilled from almost any water source. So they can make many trips for each one of a regular aircraft.

Nevertheless, if it's viable, why not use all those Hercules we have lying around. They only require shorter airstrips, too. Then there's our Chinook choppers. They could be adapted.

Our military have all these resources available. Why not a bit of cross-purposing in troubled times?
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#6 koiom K. Asterisk*

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 01:15 PM

What about the "logistics" of the massive clean up presenting the people of Yarloop....hundreds of peoples lives ruined, possessions lost forever, dream homes destroyed. Not to mention the 2 blokes who actually died in these fires.
i think maybe you need to get your head out of the sand.
I certainly DID think this through....the cost of having a 747 on standby would be miniscule compared with the cost of rebuilding, the cost of fighting these fires for days on end, spitting on them with tiny water bombers and the "Elvis" chopper


Head in the sand?
Settle down.
Fact is you need a major airstrip nearby capable of accommodating a 747.
That means if the fire isnt near a capital city they're miles away.
Then it gets one run before it has to go back to fill up.
So it's highly probable it gets one run every eight hours or so given the round trip.
How long do you think it takes to fill a 100,000 litre tank?
In that eight hours how much greater does then fire front get?

Then you need a pilot skillfull enough to manoeuvre a plane designed to fly at 30,000 feet, only a couple of hundred feet off the ground.
For all the years of training a qualified 747 pilot takes to get his/her wings, I'll take a stab that not once do they train to fly at that altitude.
It's just not safe.
Then there's the cruising speed of a 747 to consider.
They fly at approx 800 km/h at cruising altitude.
Of course dropping a payload from that height/speed is useless.

I wouldn't be surprised if it's actually impossible to keep a 747 airborne at the speed you'd need to be flying to effectively drop the water.
Like I said, to be effective it has to be done at a couple of hundred feet.
Remember they're going to be full of fuel and 100,000 litres of water/fire retardant.

Bush fires are a fact of life in this country, unfortunately they're going to destroy lives and property.
Equally unfortunate is that there's no quick way to put them out once they get dangerous, least of all the use of a 747
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#7 Tigerblood

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 01:21 PM

The logistics of having a 747 on hand at every major bushfire would be difficult to say the least.
I imagine you can't fly a 747 a couple of hundred feet off the ground either, well maybe Tom Cruise could, but no-one else.
Then you need to ask where are you going to fill it?
Elvis the helicopter is the best bet.
They can fill up easily in dams, rivers, oceans etc on the hover.
A 747 can do none of that.
You didn't really think this through much did you?


Maverick is available, only if you put the water tanks on the roof.
So he can dump the payload, 'inverted'
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#8 Tigerblood

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 01:24 PM

Whilst my heart goes out to anyone that has lost homes or loved ones to bushfires, unfortunately they are a fact of life and if you choose to live in a bushfire orone area you choose to take that risk also.

Bushfires are natures way of 'cleaning up' the bush and not letting it get too overgrown,

Even the aboriginals have been doing it for centuries, they invented back burning.
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#9 koiom K. Asterisk*

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 01:30 PM

I've actually done a quick bit of reading on they use of 747's to fight fires.
It looks like they've trialled their use in the US, Mexico and Israel, dropping payloads from between 400 and 800 feet.
A company called Evergreen Supertankers seemed to be behind the push, but the US Forest Service wasn't keen on contracting them.
Also appears that it costs millions to maintain the craft and crew.
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#10 OldBogey

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 01:37 PM

Like I said, use Hercs. We already have skilled aircrew on the payroll and they can dump loads from low heights. The only additional costs is water tanks and the wherewithall to fill them.
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#11 mugcanic

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 02:36 PM

Head in the sand?
Settle down.
Fact is you need a major airstrip nearby capable of accommodating a 747.
That means if the fire isnt near a capital city they're miles away.
Then it gets one run before it has to go back to fill up.
So it's highly probable it gets one run every eight hours or so given the round trip.
How long do you think it takes to fill a 100,000 litre tank?
In that eight hours how much greater does then fire front get?

Then you need a pilot skillfull enough to manoeuvre a plane designed to fly at 30,000 feet, only a couple of hundred feet off the ground.
For all the years of training a qualified 747 pilot takes to get his/her wings, I'll take a stab that not once do they train to fly at that altitude.
It's just not safe.
Then there's the cruising speed of a 747 to consider.
They fly at approx 800 km/h at cruising altitude.
Of course dropping a payload from that height/speed is useless.

I wouldn't be surprised if it's actually impossible to keep a 747 airborne at the speed you'd need to be flying to effectively drop the water.
Like I said, to be effective it has to be done at a couple of hundred feet.
Remember they're going to be full of fuel and 100,000 litres of water/fire retardant.

Bush fires are a fact of life in this country, unfortunately they're going to destroy lives and property.
Equally unfortunate is that there's no quick way to put them out once they get dangerous, least of all the use of a 747

 

Maybe "head in the sand" could be a bit strong, but I'm not happy being accused of "not thinking this through"

These big planes are possible and ARE being used......and the cost of should not even be in the argument.

Maybe not a 747, but the DC-10's being used in the US sound like a viable proposition to me.

I just get really annoyed watching the small water bombers on tv dropping a cup full of water onto a massive bush fire....just seems like it's not doing anything. 



#12 Francie

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 08:25 PM

Costs and lagistics need to be taken into account. Costs unfortunately are also a consideration as far as the Government are concerned.

There is more than just "buckets of water" that affects the end result.
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#13 pegasus2357

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 09:18 PM

If memory serves me right there is one of those type of big birds in NSW hired by the state government. ..... happy to be corrected

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#14 drgazgiz

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 09:07 AM

I think you need to look at 'scramble' times', operational times to the fire front, safe operation at low altitudes in a smoky environment and hilly terrain, and water bombing effectiveness.

 

I suspect all those things are negatives, and that's why they are not used.

 

In Victoria, a 747 could only be stationed at Tullamarine or Avalon. Scrambling, take-off and flight time to a fire could easily take 30 minutes plus. By that time, in extreme conditions, a fire would be off and running over maybe 2-3 kilometres. It would be very difficult to drop from a low enough altitude in terrain like Marysville-Kinglake.

 

The modus operandi for bushfire fighting now is quick response and try to hit hard. It's why on Code Red days every CFA fire station in the state is staffed, trucks loaded and ready to go.

 

Twenty fire trucks (x 5000 litres) plus smaller water bombers from local airports could get to a fire much quicker, operate with the same overall amount of water, and may be more effective at the seat of the fire.

 

In a large fire of Black Saturday proportions, it's likely to still be "pissing against a nuclear bomb" anyway.


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#15 FairwayBomber

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 09:20 AM

I wonder when the penny will drop for the authorities in regard to the aircraft they use to "try" to put out these raging bushfires.

Hundreds of homes lost recently in Victoria and now in WA plus some lives.. I'm not sure of the capacity of our local water bombers but 4500 litres is a figure I think somebody once told me.

I read recently of a Boeing 747 which has been converted to carry over 100,000 litres.

I could be wrong but if this is true then why don't we have these?. ....at the first hint of smoke one of these could snuff out a bush fire before it gets to the catastrophic level where it burns out complete towns and kills people.

Happy to be corrected if my numbers are wrong.

 

Not sure if the 747's is the answer, but it WILL certainly complement the current fire fighting capabilities. Costs would be very high, but I wonder if these things can be 'rented' during our summer months. Time share with some of the northern hemisphere countries?

But yeah, preventative backburning would be the best, but at the end of the day, rebuilding a community is so much harder...  


Edited by FairwayBomber, 11 January 2016 - 09:20 AM.

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