Friday, 2 September 2011

French firefighters

I'm back from France! Where we stay in the Languedoc is fairly quiet in aviation terms, with the nearest airport being the tiny Carcassonne Salvaza which sees 3 or 4 movements a day (all Ryanair) at best. The only interesting things flying about in this part of the world are the firefighters!

The Sécurité Civile operate 12 Canadair CL-415's, most (if not all) are based in the South of France, and they are used in forest-fire fighting. These 'bush fires' break out incredibly often in the Summer months, and every time we go to France, we hear the airborne Sapeurs-Pompiers 2 or 3 times. This time, however, we saw them dumping water on a fire up in the Black Mountains, and I managed to get 2 pics:
They're not the best quality, the camera was on full zoom and the air was hazy (it was 34 degrees at the time, so its not suprising these fires break out).
The flying skill demonstrated by these pilots is remarkable, as they perform steep turns and very steep climbs, whilst dumping water (that sudden decrease in weight must make things interesting) and flying in mountainous terrain.

Aswell as these CL-415 'Superscoops',   the Sécurité Civile operate 2 ex-SAS converted Dash 8-Q400's which can be used for fire-fighting, and 9 Conair Turbo Firecats, along with around 40 helicopters all over France in various roles.

 It was nice surprise and not something we have (or have a need for, really) in the UK!

No comments:

Post a Comment