Re: 737-200 water bomber!

From:         Don Stokes <>
Organization: Victoria University of Wellington
Date:         02 Jun 96 23:01:50 
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  or MIME structure writes:
>	While the idea of a 737 waterbomber might sound outrageous at
>first, it is really inevitable.  There is a strong push to reduce the
>time it takes to get from base to a fire, while carrying a large
>retardant load, so over the years, ever faster and bigger aircraft have
>been used.  Using a 737 is a natural extension of this evolution.  I am
>working on this project and find it to be quite sensible.

A couple of questions from someone who knows nothing about putting out
fires from fixed-wing aircraft (in NZ they usually use helicopters with
monsoon buckets, loading from the nearest lake or reservoir):

When we talk about a "waterbomber", are we talking about something
designed to drop ordinary H20, say that scooped out of a lake, or a more
complex manufactured fire retardent?  I note that a lot of "waterbombers"
are converted float planes or flying boats, which I'd assumed scooped
water into their tanks.

I assume that a 737 waterbomber is *not* going to be skimming a lake....

I wouldn't have thought a 737 -- designed for a cruising altitude in the
vicinity of 30,000 ft and a speed to match -- would be that well suited
to the job.  What about an aircraft like a BAe146, with much better low
speed characteristics, yet still with a reasonable cruising speed?  Am I
missing something here?

Or is the major factor availability of the aircraft for the conversion?

Don Stokes, Network Manager, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. +64 4 495-5052 Fax+64 4 471-5386