WoF unveils new water bombers for fire season

2013-12-03 10:13
An FFA plane dumping water during a fire drill. (Photo: Lisa Geswindt)

An FFA plane dumping water during a fire drill. (Photo: Lisa Geswindt)

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Cape Town – Working on Fire on Monday unveiled two new high-capacity air tractors to be employed during the Cape summer fire season.

“The air tractors are going to add a lot of capacity to the force and we’ll have two down in the Cape which is probably a world first for South Africa,” national flight operations manager for FFA aviation, Mike Assad, told News24.

FFA Operations which co-ordinates the Working on Fire (WoF) programme are in the process of phasing out their older Dromader fire fighting planes.

“These Dromaders have been in the system for a long time, and we actually want to end up with eight or ten air tractors because they are far more effective,” said Assad.

“The AT-802 travels at twice the speed of our other bombers, at 366km/h, and has a variable dump door [linked to a computer] so we can decide how long the drop should be and how much water should come out.”

The air tractors cost in the region of R10m each and pilots have had to undergo training in Spain.

In terms of the plane’s operation during fires, Assad said the bombers have to return to an airfield where up to 2000L of water can be pumped into a large space behind the engine in under four minutes.

There are currently 566 air tractors operating in the world and it is the most advanced single seat plane of its type worldwide.

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Read more on:    wof  |  cape town  |  fires

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