Flying firefighters operating “danger close” to the ground in Utah

Here’s a video clip of a massive DC-10 Air Tanker firefighting aircraft making a drop in Utah a couple of days ago.  Note the lead aircraft, helping the big plane position itself for an accurate drop, then getting out of the way as it comes through.

That was a great high-precision drop by the DC-10.  If the load of fire retardant had hit those houses, the kinetic energy of the weight of all that liquid would probably have collapsed the roofs.  You can see what a much smaller load does to a vehicle in this video clip.

I wouldn’t like to be standing under that!



  1. Yep, lead pilot is a 'tad' busy… And the DC-10 is probably telling him "Pick it up, pick it up! I'm closing!"

  2. I noticed the sudden pitch-up of the DC-10 when the fire retardant was released. The pilot was right on top of it and corrected immediately.

    I guess if you do that a few times you get good at it. It looks like it might be fun too.

  3. It's a welcome sight to the firefighters on the ground – I can say that from experience. But as the second clip shows – you don't want to be IN the drop zone!

  4. I got hit buy a load of it fighting a fire near Ojai in 1973. Nasty stuff. Though that load was from an old B-17. Yeah, I'm old.

  5. The drop plane can set the amount of retardant from a massive downpour to a bit more than mist.

    Depends on how much they need to stop the fire.

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