Re: 737-200 water bomber!

From:         Steve Lacker <>
Organization: applied research laboratories
Date:         22 Jun 96 18:30:36 
References:   1 2 3 4 5
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Tom Speer <> wrote:
>John Liebson wrote:
>> ...I have to agree that, in general, jet aircraft are not
>> suitable for tanker use. Drops are made at very low altitudes and slow
>> speeds, for example, places such as deep into canyons, that I'm not at
>> all certain would be even safe in tanker terms for jet aircraft....
>Another factor regarding props vs jets:  on many fan engines, the thrust
>response to the throttle is so slow that you have to make an appointment
>to get more power.  The immediate response of a prop is a definite asset
>for flying in rough terrain.

In general, I agree that its much easier to see A-26 Invaders bombing fires
than it is to see a 737 (and much more nostalgic, also :-) However, a couple of
arguments in favor of a 737 spring to mind:

Its been said that they fly too fast. Why couldn't the drops be conducted with
nearly full flaps, much like a landing configuration? That should allow a 737
to make a rather leisurely approach to a fire, although burning a lot of fuel
in the process.

As for the spool-up time, remember that 737-200s have small-fan JT8Ds instead
of CFM-56s like later 737s. The JT8D has a pretty quick throttle response for a
turbofan, although not as quick as an A-26's Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radials :-)
On the other hand, sometimes R-2800s choose to respond to rapid throttle inputs
by backfiring mightily....

Steve Lacker	/	Applied Research Laboratories, The University of Texas
512-835-3286	/	PO Box 8029, Austin TX 78713-8029