03 August 2009

Waterbombers ~ Aerial Tools for Fighting Fires

The Big Picture spotlights Fires around the Mediterranean today, and the tremendous challenges facing firefighters dealing with rough terrain, great heat, and infernal weather... A good fraction of the photos are of both helicopters and airplanes conveying water and retardant to the flames. This got me thinking about the best means available for firefighting, and especially the issue of scaling-up these aircraft. Sure enough, there are a few big solutions -- Waterbombers -- including the Russian Be-200 multi-role amphibious jetplane carrying up to 12,000 liters and having the ability to scoop water on the fly while skimming a lake surface... This larger Il-76 reconfigurable jetplane carrying 42,000 liters... And the Evergreen Supertanker, a converted 747-200 carrying 94,000 liters...

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