I don't know what they`re called or what type of plane they are, but Australian bushfire-fighting planes scoop water up as they fly low over a lake, air pressure sucks it in somehow. I`ve seen it in real life and its just magical the way the water seems to leap into them. So no, not all planes have to return to base to reload.
Thursday, January 7, 2010 9:31:08 PM
dragonshadoz "We need these for more wildfires. They'd be better than the the comparable teeny helicopters that do it..."
Actually, we need both because each has advantages over the other. Fixed-wing tankers can carry more water on average, but they can`t fly as slowly or maneuver as well, so they can`t deliver it as accurately as a chopper. Also, fixed-wing tankers must return to an airfield to refill. A fully loaded 747 needs a 10,000` runway to take off, and the nearest one of those might be hundreds of miles from the fire.
Helicopters, on the other hand, can refill by lowering a siphon hose or a bucket into a small lake near the fire. So while each load is smaller than the tanker`s, it can make several drops before it needs to refuel, and that can be done from a tanker truck parked near the fire. The down side to choppers is that they are MUCH more expensive to purchase and operate, and fewer pilots can fly them.
Thursday, January 7, 2010 1:12:56 PM
Yes, TKD, but it would be so nice if we could use those (closer to the ground). The helicopter ones used most often don't seem like enough. We need to find a way to have these giant water things and make them work. (If they don`t already...)