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RFS air tanker feared crashed in NSW


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https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2020/aair/ao-2020-007/      

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Awful news... This brave aircrew died in the service of their country, doing a challenging and dangerous job to protect others...  My deepest condolences to their families... 

 

I'll be interested in the details of this incident and how it happened? Was the 130 actually on a bombing run when the accident occurred?  As discussed in previous threads, there's been much faith put in water bombing as a quick-fix,  politically expedient panacea for bushfires.  Its even featured in recent political advertising... But of course its not the sons and daughters of the politicans flying the missions... 

 

Alan 

 

 

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The conditions out there were pretty bad as I understand it with lots of wind, mountainous terrain & I imagine heavy smoke cover. The crew were reported to all be US citizens. Their job is incredibly dangerous & I sometimes wonder how they find the nerve to do it. The risk of something like this is extreme. I certainly couldn't. RIP friends. You came here to help and gave your lives for people you do not know.

 

 

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RIP Heroes of the sky.

 

To pass in another country away from your loved ones fighting fires for us is the ultimate sacrifice to make.

 

May your families know we Australians owe you the utmost respect and gratitude for what you have done for us and may you have clear sky’s and tailwinds forever.

 

Our utmost sympathy to your loved ones in a far away land.

 

 

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I am not wanting to be too quick to ask, but I heard on the news that it wasn't a simple crash.   It nose dived from a pretty high altitude.

 

Not so much CFIT.

 

Just curious to what happened - though I guess everyone is wanting to know.

 

 

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I am not wanting to be too quick to ask, but I heard on the news that it wasn't a simple crash.   It nose dived from a pretty high altitude.

 

Not so much CFIT.

 

Just curious to what happened - though I guess everyone is wanting to know.

 

Keep your eye on the ATSB for an interim report.

 

 

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The suspicion appears to immediately be on engine malfunction - and the Allison T56-A-15 (and 16) are apparently very prone to overheating damage to turbine assemblies.

 

I have no idea if the heat levels above a bushfire would cause overheating problems in the turbine assemblies, but it must surely be a major risk - along with heavy dust, smoke and ash particles, which must also impact seriously on turbine blade condition.

 

No doubt the answer is somewhere in the following documents.

 

https://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/docs/c-130-bar.htm

 

https://www.lockheedmartin.com/content/dam/lockheed-martin/aero/documents/sustainment/csc/service-news/sn-mag-v11-v20/V14N1.pdf

 

 

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It was 34C and gusting 30 knots to 40 knots on the ground at Canberra yesterday. It was unpleasant just being outside, plus the air was really dusty. About 30 minutes after the first report came through on the local radio it started to rain in town. This is about 120 km north of the last reported location.

 

Yesterday a fire "being actively managed" nearly set Canberra airport ablaze ... and I mean the fire was right up to the fence.

 

Regardless of the root cause of the accident it was a terrible day in terms of weather. I can't imagine what it would have been like flying close to the ground in cloud and smoke with that gusting wind bouncing off the Snowies.

 

 

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A tragedy upon a tragedy. Alf said it beautifully above. RIP brave Aviators. 

 

 

I wonder seeing the DC10 fly through the smoke and debris the effect on the engines and the prop turbines of the like of the C130. 

if they were to build an aircraft for this purpose from the ground up what would be it’s configuration and power plants. 

 

 

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Am I correct in presuming that any fuel or engine mechanical issue would affect one engine first and thus give the crew some time to take recovery action?.

 

Is it possible that atmospheric conditions above a very hot fire would be so low in oxygen as to stop all engines at once?

 

Obviously turbines at high altitude operate at very low oxygen concentrations OK.

 

Just thinking not judging.

 

These were a professional crew operating an aircraft and in a hazardous environment with which they were very familiar.

 

Such a tragedy for all involved.

 

We owe the aviators who put themselves at risk on our behalf so much.

 

RIP

 

 

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Interesting question, cosmick. Turbines have their issues but pistons are way behind in reliability. The conditions these people are operating in are horrendous... Heat, turbulence , oxygen variations smoke, dust, tars from the wood, burning, visibility and structural loads from flight path and orographic  effects as well as  the intense fire thermal air currents. .The Allisons engine's props run at pretty much constant RPM pitch and fuel flow vary the power output..  The TIT temps are probably all over the place with torque fluctuations..  Extremely demanding  and risky environment. It almost defies comprehension. Brave work and thanks, guys. Nev

 

 

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Cosmick, I don't know what you'd use for a configuration and power plants for a purpose-built-from-the-ground-up fire tanker.

 

Simplicity would be the order of the day, along with high durability, coupled with more intensive and shortened maintenance periods.

 

Hihosland, it's interesting, that in the first report I linked to above, one crash of a C130 was caused by all 4 engines quitting simultaneously.

 

The crew blamed the synchrophaser, which keeps all four props in phase, to reduce noise and vibration - but the investigators blamed the crash on fuel starvation.

 

Curiously, despite the investigators claiming they knew the cause of the crash, they couldn't pin down the precise sequence of events that led to the claimed fuel starvation.

 

Perhaps there's infrequent related events in certain extreme operating conditions that come together, to create a fuel starvation issue, that still needs to be investigated in great depth.

 

I'd guess the problem with a crash such as this, with major destruction of much of the aircraft, it makes investigation of fuel-feed faults very hard to trace.

 

 

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I have seen, what I presume to be, this aircraft (same crew ??) in operation - spectacularly low & slow maneuvering in very difficult air/terrain conditions. (all mentioned in erlier comments) made for a heart stopping display of daring/skilled airmanship. In addition to these very dangerous flying conditions it has been suggested to me that fire fighting aircraft crews are not subject to "normal" commercial flight crew hours - should this be true, fatigue may have a significant part to play in all this. I mention these points not as a criticism of the pilots whose valour/skill is without dispuut but as potential contributing factors (Swiss cheese).

 

 

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 It would be a lot more "fatiguing" than most other flying activities. You probably are running on adrenalin. and that's not the "thing" for more than short periods. Nev

 

 

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 It would be a lot more "fatiguing" than most other flying activities. You probably are running on adrenalin. and that's not the "thing" for more than short periods. Nev

 

True Nev! I hasten to say that the crew hours/fatigue  possibility I put forward has not been verified, although the person who suggested it has some knowledge of these matters.

 

 

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Crew fatigue is well looked after on fires. The bigger machines have multiple crew and change out regularly.

I recon that front in NSW was the one that came though Vic on Wednesday. We went to a fire near Lake Bolac on Wednesday and conditions were very rough in the lee of the Gramps making flying hard work. 

 

 

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Flying dog says it is reported to have nose dived from a high altitude. How would that square with others speculating about engine failures? It sounds more like a mechanical failure of controls, or possibly medical, but I doubt that.

 

 

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