Forest Service Chief could override air tanker protest

In testimony Wednesday before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Chief of the Forest Service Tom Tidwell said he has the authority to override the protest filed by Neptune Aviation for being passed over in the awards for next-generation air tankers. Chief Tidwell said he will make a decision within the next couple of weeks.

He also said the USFS hopes to obtain the C-27J aircraft that the Air Force may decide to declare surplus, and the agency would outfit them with scaled down versions of the Modular Airborne FireFighting System (MAFFS) retardant tank systems that are used in military C-130s, rather than conventional gravity-powered tanks.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Forest Service Chief could override air tanker protest”

  1. The Air Force has stated the c27 cost more to maintain than a c130 and parts availability is difficult.So the USFS thinks its a winner! They want to build a tanker that doesnt meet their own requirements.A few of you may remember when the USFS purchased some C130’s,pulled them out of mothballs,shipped them off to be tanked,spent millions,never finished the project and the planes quietly disappeared.Taxpayers lost big time on that one.

  2. C27-J??? Has anyone even bothered to fill one to gross weight and try to fly it on a firefighting profile? Never mind converting it, just pack it full of sandbags and see how it flies in the fire environment. Does it work well at low level, do the turbines spool up quickly enough, is it fast, does it turn around quickly on the ground? Run one for a week of simulated drops following an actual tanker, does it break? How is the maintenance? The FS seems to be searching for a mythical air tanker that may not exist.


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