The scheduled base for the two aircraft is Avalon, Victoria. The three S-61s are to be based in Victoria at Colac, Mansfield,  and Ballarat. Routing proved especially challenging due to ongoing changing restrictions from each country as the pandemic evolved. Seen in these photos are a C-130Q (T-134) and an RJ85 (T-165). Several other Type 2 and Type 3  helicopters based in Victoria and New South Wales will be capable of NVIS mapping, reconnaissance, supervision and aerial ignition. Another 8 SEATs have been contracted directly by State agencies. The aircraft’s tank, identified on Hunter by its sizable belly, can deliver 11,355 liters (3000 gallons) of water, retardant, or gel on a fire. COVID-19 added to the logistical challenges at least two-fold this year. It was just a few years ago that they had no large air tankers, but this season they will have six privately owned large air tankers on contract, including three RJ85s, two C-130Qs, and one 737. During each maintenance break, its pilots undergo intensive training from Conair’s Training + Tactics Centre, including ground, flight, and line instruction from experts with decades of aerial firefighting experience. They can operate from Avalon, Mildura and now Sale. For the past three years, the Conair RJ85 has traveled from its home hangar at Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, to New South Wales, Australia, to support government agency partners and local firefighters in protecting communities and natural resources from wildfires during their summer season. Already in place and available are the NSW RFS 737 (Tanker 138) and a FieldAir/Conair Avro RJ85 (Tanker 165) both based for now on the outskirts of Sydney at Richmond, New South Wales. More about that later and see the table at the bottom for more details. Safety is paramount in this unique industry. The police and health authorities that greeted the group and worked with them through the process were all keen to make the experience as painless as possible under the circumstances. On arrival in Australia, the Brisbane Approach Controller thanked the crew for “coming out today.” The airport itself was completely empty. Conair’s crews are what makes these long complicated international flights possible. Continue reading “Aussies set the summer lineup for their firefighting aircraft”. Not all have arrived yet — T-137 and T-131 should be there soon. During the coming bushfire season they will have access to six large air tankers and scores of SEATs and helicopters. The nine Type 1 helicopters under exclusive use contract will include six S-64E Air-Cranes (Kestrel/Erickson) and three S-61s (Coulson). To the airtanker operator, this means The RJ85 Heads Downunder. Your email address will not be published. The aircraft was working on a wildfire near Michelago, New South Wales (map). In the video below is the C-130Q. As Australia moves into their summer and enters the traditional beginning of their bushfire season the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) in finalizing the lineup of firefighting aircraft for the 2019-2020 season. The RJ85 dropping a line of retardant. As soon as Hunter returns from its Canadian commitments, tanker 166 is towed into the hangar. They are tight, supporting each other during missions and while on the ground, forming a small family bubble while away from home for months at a time positioned remotely at bases. Typos or errors, report them HERE. Avalon, Australia - February 27, 2015: Coulson Coulson Aviation Lockheed EC-130Q large aerial fire fighting aircraft N130FF on approach to land at Avalon Airport at sunset. The crews conduct up to 6 weeks of heavy maintenance tasks, forecasted to ensure no significant maintenance is required during fire contract operations. “The updated seasonal outlook confirmed the forecast of an above normal fire risk in East Gippsland. No other travelers were seen in the terminal as the team was processed through airport COVID protocol and immigration teams. This is 8 less than in 2018/2019. Once everything is installed, Hunter is rolled out for extensive ground runs and fuel system tests, capped off by a post-maintenance and ferry fuel test flight to ensure all systems are in perfect working order. Aircraft types: P2V, HC-130H, BAe-146, MD-87, C-130Q, RJ85, 737 and USAF C-130H/J equipped with Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS). An RJ85 will be based there January 11 and 12, Victoria’s ability to reload Large Air Tankers (LAT) has been bolstered by establishing the capability for the first time at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) military air base located in Sale, Victoria, Australia. Safety is paramount in this unique industry. In early November the mandatory availability period (MAP) begins for what will be either another 737 or a  C-130Q at Richmond, provided by Coulson. The final decision on which type will be made shortly, according to how the season is developing.”. On days 2 and 7, they were given COVID tests and confirmed ‘clean.’. British Aerospace promoted the BAe 146 to airlines as a "feederliner" and short-haul regional airliner. Hunter, the RJ85 LAT demonstrates water bombing capability this morning at Dubbo. The RJ85 team knows the aircraft inside and out. 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