Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Jumbo jet called into fire wars

"A TRANSFORMED Boeing 747 jumbo jet could soon become Australia's latest weapon in the battle against bushfires. The converted 747 can carry 100,000 litres of water to a fire. The Evergreen Supertanker is loaded with a staggering 100,000 litres of water or fire retardant and can drop its load at high pressure, the speed of falling rain, or at separate intervals. It is capable of dumping more than 10 times the water carried by the Erickson Air Crane, Elvis, which has successfully fought fires in Australia since 1998."

A good idea, get a surplus 747 (apparently you can pick old ones up pretty cheap,) kit it out as a tanker and fight fires with it. The comparison with Elvis is a little disingenuous as the 747 would have to fly back to an international size airport like Kingsford-Smith before it could replenish its water tanks, whereas Elvis just needs to hover over a convenient lake, dam, river or pool. Subsequently the turnaround time would be a lot less. There are also all sorts of problems flying 747s next to helicopters and Cessnas in class G airspace as well, but let's not even start with that.

"But CSIRO research leader Jim Gould played down the significance of the Supertanker, claiming aerial firefighting would only be effective with the support of ground crews. "It won't stop the fire, I can tell you that right now," Mr Gould said. "I don't care how big the aircraft is ... any type of aerial suppression really needs to be supported by ground people."

Well no one said it wouldn't be, Mr Gould. You're telling us that dumping 100,000 litres of fire retardant isn't going to at least help? Why is this guy such a wet blanket? What's he afraid of? That the tough kids are gonna squirt water at him?

What happened to the boffins of this country? They used to be can-do type guys and gals. They invented the hills hoist, the owen gun, the victa mower, the didgeridoo, the wine cask, the fridge, the diff, kiwi boot polish, the boomerang, the record changer, the ute, latex gloves, vegemite and the bloody photocopier, all of which put together spell a ripper weekend!

Now where is the research telling me that eating pies makes you sexy?!?!?!


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