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View Full Version : OT: DC 6 Water Bomber pics



Evan
07-14-2007, 08:05 AM
Fire season is here with record high temps in this region. Yesterday was the first day of water bombing sorties that I have heard. Conair bases some of their major assets here in Williams Lake because of our central location in the province. Yesterday I heard the very distinctive sound of 4 twin row R2800 PW radials going over and grabbed my Canon Rebel.

Unfortunately I missed the first sortie when he flew low over my house. :(

I did catch the second sortie but he was several miles away. Still, the Canon did a pretty good job with hand held telephoto.

First, into the storm. A major thunderstorm was brewing.

http://vts.bc.ca/pics2/dc6b.jpg

Here is an enhanced closeup from a pic a couple of seconds earlier.

http://vts.bc.ca/pics2/dc6a.jpg

Later, returning. It was a long time later so the fire must be well to the west of us. Good.

http://vts.bc.ca/pics2/dc6c.jpg

John R
07-14-2007, 09:46 AM
Looks like those engines are turbo props.
What do you think?
John R

DR
07-14-2007, 09:51 AM
Did you hear about the water bomber who mistakenly scooped from the settling pond at an abandoned uranium mine?

Currently they're checking for radioactivity in the bombed area.

Bill Pace
07-14-2007, 09:55 AM
Looks like those engines are turbo props.
What do you think?
John R

4 bladed props, skinny nacelles......gotta be!

Evan
07-14-2007, 10:45 AM
Hmm. I must have been hearing the Firecats that were accompanying him. They are modfied Grumman Trackers with Wright Cyclone engines. It gets pretty busy around here during summer and I am on the main flight path from the airport heading west.

BigBoy1
07-14-2007, 11:28 AM
At my local airport, a DC-3 with turbo-props engine lands occasonally. I bet the airframe is probably 60 or more years old but still flying with new engines.

Bill

Guido
07-14-2007, 12:20 PM
Forestfires, B & D powercord cut, sounds of radial engines, and---------

The four capeller plane appears to be a: Lockheed Electra. Super craft once they figured out why the engines fell off during rough flight. 'twas the last large passenger craft, in prep for the jets and public acceptance.

Google 'Lockheed Electra' for the skinny. Amelia's plane was the first Lockheed named an Electra.

G

Tin Falcon
07-14-2007, 01:03 PM
Hmm. I must have been hearing the Firecats that were accompanying him. They are modfied Grumman Trackers with Wright Cyclone engines. It gets pretty busy around here during summer and I am on the main flight path from the airport heading west.
Are the firecats a close cousin to the Agcat. I saw one of those making his runs on the farmers field just after dawn this morning I love the sound of those radials. Many a morning as a teen I remember waking to the sound of the Agcats.
Tin

Tin Falcon
07-14-2007, 01:14 PM
Ok did a google ,big difference:

Agcat
http://http://www.airliners.net/info/stats.main?id=14 (http://http//www.airliners.net/info/stats.main?id=14)
S-2 tracker
http://http://www.airliners.net/search/photo.search?aircraft_genericsearch=Grumman%20S-2%20Tracker%20(G-89%2FG-121%2FS2F)&distinct_entry=true (http://http//www.airliners.net/search/photo.search?aircraft_genericsearch=Grumman%20S-2%20Tracker%20%28G-89%2FG-121%2FS2F%29&distinct_entry=true)

Evan
07-14-2007, 02:48 PM
Conair doesn't have a Lockheed Electra in the fleet. As I recall it was the wings that fell off the Electras, a relatively common Lockheed problem. Lockheed has a long history of wing spar cracks in many different aircraft including the C130 which was the cause of an air tanker accident in California I think it was. Both wings fell off.

Conair does have a DC6 and have obviously converted it to turbo. They are converting most of their aircraft to turbo including the Firecats and the Cessna AgCat.

Gotta go to town. Back this evening.

Guido
07-14-2007, 03:30 PM
Ag Cat= Grumman, radial engined bi-plane

Ag Wagon=Cessna, turbine engined, with single low wing

Firecat=Turpentined alley cat

G

Doc Nickel
07-14-2007, 03:33 PM
There was recently a large fire up here, and I happened to be in the area when it was only an hour or two old. (About 100 acres at the time- it eventually grew to 75,000 acres or more, and burned a total of over 100K.)

Had a camera, but unfortunately only my 24-70mm zoom. Meaning minimal, if any, telephoto. But, still got some decent pics, as they attacked the fire hard, in order to try and contain it early.

Got kind of crowded in the skies:

http://www.docsmachine.com/photography/Docn4819.jpg

The yellow one on the left was a small single-seater, doing some coordinating/spotting. The righthand plane is a DC-6 retardant bomber coming around for a run, following the yellow plane in. The one in the middle in the distance, is the smokejumper's plane, heading back after dropping the first four jumpers.

http://www.docsmachine.com/photography/Docn4834.jpg

After one of the retardant drops, one of the (eventually three) DC-6's looped back almost directly overhead. I had a 30-foot observation tower to shoot from, and this is a full image- not cropped, at 70mm. Yes, it was that low.

Later as I was leaving, I found a wide spot in the road I could see through to the actual fire a little better. Still couldn't see actual flames, but I did just barely catch this one dropping a load of retardant. 100% crop of the full image- I was really wishing I'd had my 300mm telephoto.

http://www.docsmachine.com/photography/Docn5167.jpg

The smoke and haze eventually lent themselves to some pretty interesting photos:

http://www.docsmachine.com/photography/Docn5256.jpg

This one was taken 60 road miles, or forty linear miles from the fire, with the (literally) midnight sun lighting it from very close to the horizon line.

Doc.

darryl
07-14-2007, 05:24 PM
Did you hear about the scuba diver who accidently got picked up by a water bomber? Apparently he extinguished exactly 6 ft 1 inch of the fire.

DICKEYBIRD
07-14-2007, 05:57 PM
The plane in Evan's pics is most definitely an Electra. Note the clubby wing...just enough wingspan to hold 4 engines spaced far enough apart so's the props don't touch...and a little extra at the tips for sufficient aileron area for roll control and also the distinctive horiz. stab. with dihedral.

The closeup shot from underneath that Doc Nickel posted looks like a DC-7 to me. The nacelles look more R3350'ish than R2800.:)

Anyway, they're ALL beautiful machines. Nothing like 'em in my book. I hope there will always be examples of the that generation of aircraft flying around.

jim davies
07-14-2007, 06:19 PM
Evan

Is the fuselage of Conair's A-26 Invader still sitting outside the scrapyard? It sat there for years.

tdmidget
07-14-2007, 08:05 PM
Lockheed P3 orion with the MAD probe removed. It's a military version of the Electra that was used for anti submarine warfare. They are readily available from the Government for conversion to firebombers. The reason that all the aircraft have problems with wing spar failures is the fact they drop all their water or retardant at once. The wings then flap like a bird due to the weight change.
Evergreen Air Service, just up the road, has converted a 747 to fight fires. It does not drop water, it sprays it and LOTS of it. The forest service says it's too old to be used in this service although it is not too old for passenger service. Figure that one out.

IOWOLF
07-14-2007, 08:38 PM
Did you hear about the scuba diver who accidently got picked up by a water bomber? Apparently he extinguished exactly 6 ft 1 inch of the fire.

NEVER HAPPEND.:rolleyes:

Evan
07-14-2007, 09:44 PM
Is the fuselage of Conair's A-26 Invader still sitting outside the scrapyard? It sat there for years.

They finally cut it up and it's gone, thank goodness. They used to fly over here all the time. I know a few of the pilots and they really liked that aircraft. I used to work for the guys who converted them to water bombers at the Pat Bay Airport near Victoria.

If that is an Electra, and it looks like it, then it isn't Conair's unless they have leased it from someone. I didn't take the time to study the pics closely this morning as my eyes don't work all that well at 4:00 am. I immediately assumed it was Conair's DC6 when I saw it. It was too far away to identify by eyeball. Since they were also flying the Firecats and one turbo Cessna plus a rescue helicopter I assume it is Conair.

Evan
07-14-2007, 10:25 PM
The reason that all the aircraft have problems with wing spar failures is the fact they drop all their water or retardant at once. The wings then flap like a bird due to the weight change.

That is an exacerbating factor but Lockheed has spar crack problems in general over the years. I worked in Edmonton changing C-130 wing spars for that reason. They have had spar crack problems with the L-1011, C-130 and KC130, SR-71 and many others. I don't know why but Lockheed simply has more spar problems than the other manufacturers.

As for the sudden dropping of retardant making the wings flap that isn't the real issue. A fully loaded aircraft is less susceptible to damage from turbulence than an unloaded aircraft. The extra mass when loaded prevents the aircraft from reacting as much to the accelerations of turbulence which reduces the loads it causes. Aircraft often have two different maximum airspeed ratings for flying in turbulent conditions, one for loaded and a lower airspeed for unloaded. The problems happen when the load is dropped and the aircraft is then over it's rated airspeed for the existing turbulence.

Peter Sanders
07-15-2007, 02:44 AM
Hi

We had a bushfire about 1km from us. The choppers were obtaing their water from the lake across the road from our house, here are a few photos...

http://www.multiline.com.au/~psanders/images/waterbombers/waterbomberscarine08.JPG

http://www.multiline.com.au/~psanders/images/waterbombers/waterbomberscarine13.JPG

http://www.multiline.com.au/~psanders/images/waterbombers/waterbomberscarine41.JPG

Evan
07-15-2007, 03:29 AM
Nice pics. One little note; notice the spike just above the windscreen? That's a wirecutter.

dicks42000
07-15-2007, 07:15 AM
CAF are still flying the Orion's out of several bases here in Canada for coastal & fisheries patrols as well as ASW (probably). 19 Wing, CFB Comox on Vancouver Island has several. Configured with the distinctive Magnetic Anomaly detector (tail stinger), Mk. 45 (??) air dropped torpedoes, sono bouys...and a rescue pack, air droppable (rubber raft.) Sure sound nice when they go over. Has the capability to handle a cruise missile in the bomb bay too, IIRC.
For a good read on the wing/engine nacel/ mounting failures read "The Electra Story". (I have a copy somewhere, can't remember the author.) Good story about the early Electra, the tragic accidents and the engineering analysis that went into solving the "Whirl Mode" precession problems that were breaking the wings off. A good illustration of why engineering and stress analysis is really needed in many cases and the old "seat of the pants, make it stronger" approach is often wrong...(Sort of like monoplane fighters of WW1 diving & loosing wings....)
The Orion was in production long after the Electra program was wound up with the advent of commercial jets. Perfect platform for patrol/ ASW. Long endurance, capable of "low & slow" flight. If I'm not mistaken there was a varient used for AWACS service too.
Electra/ Orion, one of my favorite planes, along with Beavers, Convair 880's, Bristol Brittania's, English Electric Canberra's, DC 3's & the Grumman Goose & Widgeon....
Rick

Swarf&Sparks
07-15-2007, 09:09 AM
Thanks for the pics Pete.
Had the same choppers down here a few months back at Lake Richmond. I couldn't get into my own driveway cos the street was lined with rubbernecks.
Rgds, Lin

Peter S
07-15-2007, 09:20 AM
The fire control aircraft I like are the big Martin Mars. I think I read just recently they were selling them off, hope they keep them flying somewhere in the world :(

madman
07-15-2007, 09:35 AM
Evan I remember one job at a shop i worked at and it was milling out the wire cutter blades for the Helicopters. Interesting to see it many years later in a Photograph. (28 years later to be exact)

Willy
07-15-2007, 05:26 PM
A friend of mine works at Kelowna Flightcraft, (http://www.flightcraft.ca/maintenance_MRO.asp)
as an aircraft maintenance technician. I believe that they have performed all three of the Conair DC-6 air tanker conversions.

The Conair DC-6's are powered by four double-row Pratt and Whitney R-2800s, each developing 2,400 horsepower. They are slowly being replaced by twin turbo Convair 580's.

Below is a short video of post conversion flight testing of a DC-6 air tanker taken in the winter of 2004/2005 at Kelowna,B.C.

Crank up the volume!
http://s76.photobucket.com/albums/j31/250willy/?action=view&current=375b93da.flv