(This article first appeared on FireAviation.com)
A book published this month has a chapter featuring a frequent contributor to FireAviation.com. Johnny “Coldwater” Yount has written many comments on the site where he relies on his aviation and firefighting experience to contribute meaningfully to the discussions.
The book “Daredevil Dads” tells Johnny’s story from his first solo flight when he was 14 years old to his experiences with crop dusters, smokejumping, helitack, and air tankers. From my interactions with Johnny, I have seen that he does not seek the limelight or continually remind everyone about his experiences and qualifications, but author Tam Rodwell was able to get him to discuss his extraordinary aviation and firefighting careers.
The book covers several near misses, including the time the engine on his crop duster disintegrated while flying close to the ground leaving him in a small plane with heavy loads of fuel and fertilizer. The aircraft hit a muddy field then cartwheeled and ejected him 50 yards away, still belted to his seat and suffering from a concussion. After being released from the hospital he discovered that he had temporarily acquired what we might loosely call today a super power. But I won’t spoil it for you.
The book also has chapters about 14 others with unique and dangerous occupations, including astronaut, ultimate fighter, bomb disposal, human cannonball, and a high-wire walker.
Reprinted below, with permission from the author, is an excerpt from Johnny’s chapter:
Johnny truly came into his own when piloting planes involved in aerial firefighting. As he became a little older the smoke jumping part of his life became less and less frequent and he used his encyclopedic knowledge of all aspects of fighting blazes to extinguish them by air.
While smoke jumping had its obvious dangers, aerial firefighting seems that little bit safer to the outsider, however, nothing could be further from the truth. First and foremost, he was dealing with planes that were extraordinarily heavy given the combination load of fuel and water that he was carrying. Planes react in different ways and are harder to correct when they are bloated with load so he explains that often you needed to have faster reaction times as well as planning your turns further ahead as a result of the slight slow motion effect one needed to deal with.
“Daredevil Dads”, published by Crux Publishing, is available at Amazon for $13.99.