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02:25 PM on 06/04/2012
I haven't heard any reports stating this was a suspicious fire. However, if that turns out to be the case, however the deaths of these men are on the heads of those who would be responsible.
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g2services
Resistance is futile
03:24 PM on 06/04/2012
lightning
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luvobama
Hospice volunteer...
02:21 PM on 06/04/2012
My heart is broken for these young men and their families.  I adore my firemen.
keith1963
10-year Army veteran
02:21 PM on 06/04/2012
Prayers to the families.
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SidTheScienceKid
Science!
09:36 PM on 06/04/2012
What do you think that REALLY acomplishes ?
10:20 PM on 06/04/2012
Well, Sid, not being a praying man myself, I'm not sure if it "accomplishes" anything tangible or is even expected to ...

What it does it provide those who greive, honor and repect the brave flyers and their families some means for expressing that care and compassion. It may not work for you, or for me, but let's not presume to deny that expression of care to others.
MyrtleJune
STOP negotiating! End the American hostage crisis!
02:04 PM on 06/04/2012
Flying these planes into fires or over fires is incredibly dangerous. Condolences to the families and friends of these brave men.
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blackwind
Relax, nothing is under control
04:46 PM on 06/04/2012
Yes, I think it does take extra courage to do that job. I saw one almost crash once as it climbed out of a canyon, only a couple hundred feet off the ground, and the motor stalled for just a second or two at the worst possible time. Even as a non-pilot I could see that it was very, very, close to a crash.
The way some of these planes can scoop up tons of water while still flying doesn't look exactly super-safe either.
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frank1946
Tell the Truth
02:01 PM on 06/04/2012
Neptune was a Patrol airframe, not a Bomber type design, have no idea if it was strong enough
to handle Fire/Water loads ?

Sorrow to Familes of crewmen.
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g2services
Resistance is futile
03:28 PM on 06/04/2012
Neptune Aviation had 8 P2V retrofitted with 2700 gallon tanks and has a contract with the US Forest Service.
01:55 PM on 06/04/2012
"In March, senators from Oregon, New Mexico, Alaska and California asked the Government Accountability Office to evaluate whether the service had done a good job of analyzing the types and numbers of aircraft needed, the cheapest way to get them, new technologies and where the planes will be based."

That is rich. There was a whole fleet of firefighting airplanes that were being operation until last year out of Northern California. Unfortunately the company got caught up in the GSA scandal and were forced into bankruptcy. End result? The firefighting planes were all sold off for scrap parts. And BAM, just like that a significant section of the aerial firefighting capability was killed off. Funny to see the politicians that forced this result to be complaining about it.
10:54 PM on 06/04/2012
you my friend are very ignorant, Aero Union went out due to the fact they couldn't keep planes in the condition the US Forest Service demanded AFTER the crashes of 2002, take your conspiracy theories to Art Bell.
jlfenton
Common sense is not that common
01:55 PM on 06/04/2012
Yes, we are wasting entirely to much money on the Forestry and firefighters. Otter's plan is to take it away from the Feds and make it a state to state expense. May these brave men rest in peace.
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kent24
01:46 PM on 06/04/2012
R.I.P to the pilots. Sympathy to their families. They were heros. I have been on the fire line in Wyoming. The tankers ARE important.
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websailor
01:45 PM on 06/04/2012
True heros do not think of themslves first and these two people show how much danger they face at any time ther is a bad fire. Wish their families the best.
01:44 PM on 06/04/2012
"Always" by Steven Spielberg

Unfortunately, played out in real life...BTW, the beginning sequence of the movie is great!
01:43 PM on 06/04/2012
My heart felt sympathies to the families, fellow firefighters and friends for their loss.
Having observed the evolution of Wildland Fire equipment and apparatus since the 1980's, all aspects have improved radically ... except one. Sending pilots to the most dangerous area of a fire with equipment that old and heavily modified is simply inviting disaster. The chance of a malfunction or a crash has unfortunately been verified by the number of pilot deaths in the last 10 years.
It's time for the aircraft industry, Forest Sevice and BLM to design a NEW task specific slurry bomber fleet. I think the aircraft companies should provide the planes / designs at COST ( with a generous tax break etc.) as their contribution to the country. The Forest Service/ BLM might then contract out the maintenance and pilots ... or a possible co-ownership with current aircraft providers.
As former Fire Chief, I felt obligated to respond to this recent tragedy.
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o0oooooo0o
I snowboard in a bikini, so, yeah.. I'm important.
04:28 PM on 06/04/2012
Thanks, Chief. As a family member of a fallen firefighter (tanker pilot) prior to this incident and continuing loyalist to many friends still in the business, I, too, feel obligated to reply.

You are very correct about the aging aspect of our heavy tanker fleet. P-2 Neptunes have made great tankers.. but they cannot fly forever. As well, Aero Union (tanker company) has recently gone completely out of business with their fleet of P-3 Orions. The BAe-146 is looking promising, but they aren't exactly a new platform either. On the other hand, the Russians have a whole brand new plane that was designed specific as a fire tanker and is a very nice piece of equipment (I've seen it). So, if they can do it with their politics, then it seems obvious that our political system here in the USA is 100% to blame for us not being able to do the same. Heaven forbid that our government not spend hundreds of billions to bail out corrupt bankers and instead put just a tiny fraction of that amount into wildland fire supression equipment and the safety of our firefighters. Like you said above, there is a myriad of combinations of workable solutions within agencies and private companies as to the particulars of doing so.. but here we sit. The doom is obvious.

And finally.. thank you for your service!
01:32 PM on 06/04/2012
Think I saw a vid where the wings came off one of those!
driller7530
CLEANSWEEP2014 No Incumbent left in office
02:45 PM on 06/04/2012
That was an C-130 which had already been retired by the Air Force for those very wings as all 130's will eventually be , different aircraft Entirely
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devildog21
"War is a Racket" -Smedley D. Butler MajGen USMC
01:20 PM on 06/04/2012
As dangerous as firefighting from the air is, I'm surprised there aren't a lot more crashes.
jistinnkees
i am so liberal I will hug a conservative
01:07 PM on 06/04/2012
Rest in peace guys. Just goes to show you we need to drone the forest fires too.
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01:50 PM on 06/04/2012
Yeah, a drone carrying 200 gallons of water would do a lot of good. Especially since a drone and its support equipment runs about $20,000,000.

Why don't you build one and we can use it to put out flash fires in barbecue pits?
jistinnkees
i am so liberal I will hug a conservative
02:26 PM on 06/04/2012
Or better yet invade sovereign airspace and kill?
01:02 PM on 06/04/2012
The Neptune P2 has always had jets in addition to the two big recip. engines. When we flew them in Vietnam we only used the jets on take-off and landing to assist in short field maneuvers.

I suppose they were designed for carrier operations originally. We considered them pretty old in 1966.
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o0oooooo0o
I snowboard in a bikini, so, yeah.. I'm important.
04:54 PM on 06/04/2012
Gary.. thank you for your service.

The original P-2 only had the recips and no jets.. but yes.. they did see some carrier deployment which was the main reason for eventually adding the outboard jets. By virtue of that, they have made very conducive fire tankers because of the added takeoff power to support the weight of the retardant as well as on-demand power availability to get out of places like box canyons and approaching obstructions in fire suppression use. Sadly, their age has caught up to them.. even with major annual overhaul.. and it is killing people.. including my brother who died in a P-2 fire tanker years back.

Oh, and another thing.. as I'm sure you know, there is no other airplane that sounds quite like a P-2 when taking off. Definitely a unique and interesting bird.