Friday, June 27, 2014

New planes designed for precision: Aircraft, crew stationed at Campbell River as dry weather hints at fires to come across province

Four strange looking 'arrivals' are at the Campbell River airport.

No, they're not passengers, they are aircraft specifically designed to fight forest fires.

They're brand new, hot off the assembly line and they're lined up ready for any 'hot spots' that show up on the Island or across the province.

The four 802 Fire Boss planes look a lot like crop dusters but they're much more than that.

For one, their pontoons give them the ability to land on either land or water.

And on the bottom of those pontoons there are sensors which open the plane's main frame water tank allowing the aircraft to skim over water and fill the 800 gallon tank in less than 10 seconds.

The lightning quick and deadly accurate delivery of water, or fire retardant, puts the Fire Boss in a league of its own when it comes to fighting forest fires from the air.

The four 802 Fire Boss planes, along with a Cessna Grand Caravan 'bird dog' aircraft, arrived in Campbell River Thursday, from the Kamloops Provincial Airtanker Center, to take care of a local 'pocket hazard' fire.

It makes sure all the (Fire depends on the weather, it's really Boss) runs are good and on target," kind of day to day, we could be said Fire Boss pilot Barry called to anywhere in B.C.," said Florian. "These planes really are air attack officer Eric Antifaeff. a lot of fun to fly." "While we're here we'll be training

The B.C. Forest Service airtanker with the airport ground crew fleet command and staff on different procedures. control is the responsibility of

"These aircraft (Fire Boss) the provincial Airtanker Centre. allow us to get into more spots The centre dispatches fixed wing where larger (fire fighting) aircraft aerial fire fighting resources can't go. These aircraft can from any one of the 18 tanker basically go anywhere." bases in B.C. Strategic decisions

Besides Antifaeff, there are five regarding numbers, position pilots and two engineers in the and alerts are established by the crew. center in consultation with air

"The 'bird dog' (Cessna) and attack specialists and fire center crew goes up first, assesses the personnel. fire and plans the tactics to fight.

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