View Mobile Site
 

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos

 

Super Scoopers back in Southern California

Mammoth planes can scoop and drop 1,600 gallons on wildfires

Posted: August 15, 2013 6:19 p.m.
Updated: August 15, 2013 6:19 p.m.

One of two "Super Scoopers" practices drops at Castaic Lake in 2010. Two of the firefighting aircraft are leased each year by Los Angeles County. Signal file photo

 

Los Angeles County’s big guns in its firefighting arsenal have arrived in Southern California, and the amphibious aircraft on lease from Quebec were practicing at Castaic Lake on Thursday.

The two fixed-wing Super Scoopers, which can scoop up 1,600 gallons of water in seconds, are stationed at Van Nuys Airport. They can do multiple drops with one load of water and can also drop retardant, a county Fire Department spokeswoman said.

To refill, the pilot skims the surface of a lake, reservoir or the ocean, and the plane’s refilling system sucks up a full tank’s worth in about 30 seconds.

The big yellow planes can be airborne in as little as five minutes and can stay in the sky for three hours before needing to refuel.

Also arriving with the planes on Wednesday was an Erickson Air-Crane Helitanker, which can hold 2,650 gallons of water and is also stationed at Van Nuys Airport.

The helicopter can be refilled in about 45 seconds. By comparison, the Fire Department’s water-dropping choppers carry a payload of 1,000 gallons.

Los Angeles County leases the aircraft annually from Quebec, where the wildfire season is ending. It pays more than $5 million for the aircraft, which remain in service until at least November, covering the period of strong Santa Ana winds that offer the most dangerous feature of Southern California’s fire season.

The county is preparing for a hot, dry season that’s already seen wildfires torch dozens of homes and buildings.

 

 

Comments

Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.

 
 

Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...