Report: air tanker makes emergency landing after engine fails

Air Tanker 43
Air Tanker 43 (on the right) experienced a loss of power in an engine while taking off at Rapid City on July 20. Photo by Bill Gabbert

We have a report that air tanker 06, a 50+ year old P2V, experienced a failure in an engine on July 22. Thankfully, it was able to land safely at Fox Field a few minutes after 6 p.m. local time. We are attempting to confirm the report and will have more details as they emerge.

Two days ago Tanker 43, another P2V air tanker, experienced a loss of power in one of its 18-cylinder radial piston engines just after lifting off the runway at Rapid City. The crew had to jettison the 2,000 gallons of retardant on the runway but they turned around and landed safely.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

12 thoughts on “Report: air tanker makes emergency landing after engine fails”

  1. Bill it was not Tanker 06. The only Tanker that was at Fox today was Tanker 05 a P2V-5F. I am on the departure end of runway 24 at Fox and saw them come over my house. I did notice that it did sound a little different than normal but I figured the high temps and the density altitude had something to do with it. I am glad they made it down safely.

      1. Interesting I never heard 06 talking to the FAA tower at Fox or anything. The only tanker I heard that day was 05. I will have to listen back to my recording of the tower that day. Tanker 06 is known to always have something brake. Last season they landed at Fox twice because of a bad engine.

        1. It was Tanker 06. They had an engine failure south of Las Vegas & returned to Fox Field.

          ANF Incident #3861.

          Both recent incidents were mentioned on this mornings R-5 Fire Management conference call.

  2. What is wrong with this picture?:
    2 pilots killed at the white rock fire
    2 nearly killed flying a minden p2
    4 killed flying a high technology c-130
    2 nearly killed last night with an engine failure.

    The federal government needs to step up and face the facts. There are better alternatives than using fixed-wing large aircraft! We need more fire not less! The “fire-fighting” mission is not worth getting people killed!

  3. Lest you think the BAe-146 is a better alternative, its engine reliability is on a par with the 3350, by all accounts. PSA had 24 of them in their fleet, starting in 1984. The mechs in San Diego had so much practice changing engines, they could do it in 45 minutes.

    The DC-10 and 747 reliabilities are legendary, OTOH. Government: where all important decisions are made, not by need, but by budget.

    1. Reliable sure, so are c-130s. Large fixed wing Aircraft are not designed to fly this mission. We are fooling ourselves into thinking that they are.

    2. Graybeard: The earliest versions of the BAe-146 had some problems with the ALF 502 turbofan engines, prompting the nickname Bring Another Engine, but those issues were resolved.

  4. Bill, thanks for reporting this. I don’t care if it was tanker 06, 05 or 122. Nor do I care if it was a P2, DC4 or a C 119. And it doesn’t matter if it was a failure or precautionary shutdown. What Is important is getting this info out to the tax paying public. It is criminal that this industry is still operating aircraft that don’t have adequate performance on takeoff to be able to loose an engine after V1 and continue the takeoff without jettising the load. “Folks, in the event of an engine problem on takeoff, please move rapidly to the nearest exit and jump….” I can’t imagine many people would pay for a ticket on that airline. Yet we as tax payers are continuing to pay for protection of our federal lands with aircraft that should have been placed in museums years ago. Yeah, I know, if properly maintained……yahta, yahta, yahta. If that were all true, United Airlines would still be flying DC-6s.

    I admire the crews that fly these old airplanes, and wish I could fly some of this old iron. But not on these types of missions. Airshow to Airshow would be fun. This would not. I can’t imagine being trained to, during a catastrophic engine failure on takeoff, think about jettising the load while trying to first and foremost Fly The Airplane. One must ask, why have so many gone in fully or partially loaded? Could it be that they were trying to Fly The Airplane First and didn’t have time to think about the load? The fact that the USFS writes contacts for aircraft that only have to have enough performance to fly with an engine loss after getting rid of its load is criminal. The contract is very specific on how both pilots must have quick access to the drop button, but says nothing about performance reliability. As long as you can get rid of the load quickly, your good to go. Oh yeah, about all those engine failures, don’t worry about it, you can always jettison the load!!!

    Bill, thanks again for reporting on this and continue to do so. Bring it out in the national media when you can. I’ll get off my soap box now.

  5. Well all I can say is there where never any p-3’s in the news other than for good efforts over a fire. It is a shame to see them sitting on the ramp in Mcclean, ca. The p-3’s has 4 turboprop engines and never never had a problem taking off. They still met the requirements of the usfs they can fly on three engines and are but like tanks. The p-3 is the most veritable fire fighting plane ever and has proven itself over and over but yet the usfs still fails to recognize this. Someone needs to get those p-3’s back flying again!

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