More on the capabilities of firefighting aircraft

S-2T  – “F-ZBEY 07 Grumman S-2T Turbo Firecat Securite Civile” by Jerry Gunner  is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Found a great resource from CAL FIRE, Firefighting Aircraft Recognition Guide, which provides a photo and background of the fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft in the Cal Fire inventory.

Some of the fun highlights, along with a few more photos:

 aircraft  capacity  crew  inventory
 DC-10       12,000             3             1
 747       24,000             3
 P-3 Orion         3,000             3             8
 P-2 Neptune         2,700             3             8
 DC-6         2,800             3
 DC-7         3,000             3
 CL-215         1,300             3
 S-2T         1,200             1
 C-130         3,000             3
 S-64 Skycrane         2,650             2
 S-70 Firehawk         1,000             3
 Bell 212           360             2
 Bell 412           360             2
 UH-1H Super Huey  360+324           11


C-130 – “dropping retardant” by seanmichaelragan is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A few tidbits from the Guide:

  • The DC-10 has a load capacity equal to 12 drops from a S-2T.
  • Both the DC-10 and the 747 can make ‘segmented’ drops, in other words they can drop just a portion of the load and thus make multiple passes.
  • Yes, the P-3 and P-2 were used as long distance maritime patrol, hunting for Soviet submarines.
  • Oh, the DC-6 and DC-7? Yes those were the planes on the cutting edge of technology in the 1940s and 1950s.
  • The S-2T is a twin-engine turboprop. The C-130 is a military version with four turboprops.
  • The S-70 is civilian version of a Blackhawk.
  • The Bell 212 and 412 are civilian versions of the Twin Huey. The 412 has four blades.


P-3 – “Lockheed P-3 Orion” by aresauburn is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Not sure if the Cal Fire book is copyrighted, so I won’t be posting any photos from the guide. All photos above are from Flickr and are appropriately credited to the photographer.

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