EIn September, for the first time, two Italian fire-fighting aircraft supported the helicopters and ground forces during the forest fire operation in the Harz Mountains. Germany made use of the so-called rescEU emergency plan in Brussels. Both flying boats were allowed to touch down on Lake Concordia near the Harz Mountains for the first time to take in water. It seems to have worked so well that the district council of the Harz district decided on Wednesday to purchase a presumably single-engine fire-fighting aircraft.
This is to be operated via a service provider. An exact type has not been suggested. However, the aircraft should be able to drop at least 2000 liters of water per mission and should always be stationed and operational near the Harz Mountains in spring and summer.
In which Forest fire In September, two Canadair 415 aircraft were deployed in the Harz mountains. These flying boats, which were basically developed at the end of the 1960s, are powered by two propeller turbines. The 415 has four firefighting tanks with a total of 6000 liters of water and is the only aircraft in the Western world specifically designed for aerial firefighting. With its amphibious chassis, it can take off and land on both land and water.
The choice could fall on the American AT-802 Fire Boss
However, a twin-engine Canadair would certainly be too large and too expensive for temporary use in Germany. Therefore, the district of Harz probably wants to procure a single-engine aircraft. For this purpose, only an airplane comes into question. This is probably the most used firefighting aircraft at the moment, the AT-802 Fire Boss built in the USA.
It is already in use in several European countries. The turboprop firefighting aircraft was developed by the manufacturer Air Tractor on the basis of an agricultural aircraft. The single-engine has either a normal wheeled undercarriage or, in another variant, floats with retractable wheels. In this version, it can operate both from land and from water and is specially designed to fight fire from the air.
Pick up extinguishing water without landing
The Fire Boss on floats can therefore already absorb extinguishing water on a smaller lake or river while gliding over the water surface. As a result, it is not necessary to land at an airfield to pick up the extinguishing agent, which is time-consuming. The Fire Boss is significantly more manoeuvrable and cheaper than a Canadair twin engine. However, with 3000 liters, it can only drop half the amount of extinguishing agent per flight. The Fire Boss seats only one pilot, while a Canadair is always flown by two pilots.
The district of Harz is now launching a tender to find a suitable aircraft and operator.