Re: 737-200 water bomber!

From:         Burkhard Domke <domk1031@cetus.zrz.TU-Berlin.DE>
Organization: TU Berlin
Date:         22 Jun 96 18:30:37 
References:   1 2 3 4 5
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...some factors making turbine powerplants (either turbojet/fan or
turboshaft) more or less unsuitable for aerial firefighting:

-	turbine power output drops significantly with increasing ambient
temperature. Ambient temperature tends to increase considerably in the
vicinity of a large-scale forest blaze.
-	turbine powerplants are prone to erosion and corrosion. A standard
fire will throw up plenty of smoke, dust and ashes. These not only tend to
erode blades and vanes, but additionally corrode the hot section (turbine)
when combining into acids with ambient humidity.
-	spool-up times make turbine engines less responsive than piston
engines. Manuevrability and throttle response seems to be essential in
firefighting over non-flat terrain.
-	the speed advantage of turbine-powered aircraft would show up only
with firefighting in the most remote locations, with no airfield/water
within several hundred miles of range from the fire.
-	unprepared strips at remote locations are served best by aircraft
with good STOL or even VTOL capabilites, which rarely are attributable to
jet aircraft.
-	the gusts created by "thermal activities" (let alone hilly terrain)
will give firefighters quite a rough ride, which in the long term can be
sustained only by the most sturdy airframes. This is why many WW2 veteran
a/c like TBMs and PB-1s (B-17) found their way into the aerial firefighting
business.


Burkhard Domke
Lecturer in Aircraft Design
Berlin Technical University, Germany
domk1031@sp.zrz.tu-berlin.de