Fire Bomber Crash

 

News article: RFS investigates after Large Air Tanker crashes while fighting bushfire in southern NSW

Authorities are searching for the wreckage of a Large Air Tanker that crashed while fighting a bushfire in southern NSW.

  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

It is with profound regret that it has been confirmed that the Coulson Air C 130 Hercules fire bomber has crashed in the Snowy Mountains with the 3 US crew members losing their lives. So upset I am lost for words.

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  Dave C Chief Train Controller

Location: Maitland
So sad too many lives have been lost this summer.

RIP to the crew.
  allan Chief Commissioner
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
What we do know from radar is that the aircraft made several changes of course, and also lost both altitude and airspeed during this time.

Obviously, nobody should speculate as to why this train of events happened. Hopefully the Cockpit Voice Recorder and Flight Data Recorder can be recovered and a cause (or causes) determined.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

What we do know from radar is that the aircraft made several changes of course, and also lost both altitude and airspeed during this time.

Obviously, nobody should speculate as to why this train of events happened. Hopefully the Cockpit Voice Recorder and Flight Data Recorder can be recovered and a cause (or causes) determined.
Valvegear
This could be a difficult one to investigate, as those manoeuvres look entirely consistent with the normal operations of those large tankers.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
News this evening says that the CVR has been recovered, and the aircraft was not fitted with a FDR.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
No cockpit audio.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-28/air-tanker-crash-killed-three-firefighters-remains-a-mystery/12010384
No working CVR and no FDR, what is this the 1960's?
  GoldenGirl Locomotive Fireman

No cockpit audio.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-28/air-tanker-crash-killed-three-firefighters-remains-a-mystery/12010384
No working CVR and no FDR, what is this the 1960's?
RTT_Rules
AFAIK, normal. CVR and FDR is only required in civil passenger carrying aircraft. Military and ex-military aircraft are not required to carry them.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Military aircraft will have their own recording systems, but these will usually be removed when they are withdrawn from service and it would be up to the new owner to choose to install civilian-spec systems.

Interestingly, this airframe was originally an EC-130Q variant that would be used by the US Navy to provide communications support to their ballistic missile submarine fleet in a nuclear war environment when there would be disruption to ELF radio and/or satellite communications.

We can know that the CVR involved here was a retrofit, as the EC-130Q was replaced in 1990 by the E-6A Mercury (the last new build 707 airframes) and the CVR was a solid state recorder - and solid state recorders only came into widespread use in the 1990s.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
No cockpit audio.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-28/air-tanker-crash-killed-three-firefighters-remains-a-mystery/12010384
No working CVR and no FDR, what is this the 1960's?
AFAIK, normal. CVR and FDR is only required in civil passenger carrying aircraft. Military and ex-military aircraft are not required to carry them.
GoldenGirl
Yes, but due to other similar events in the past I thought this issue was resolved and mandatory. A multi million dollar plane crashes and people die, the cause still needs an investigation.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

This was a US-registered plane, which means that the FAA rules (FDR/CVR not required on non-commercial aircraft) apply.

As a non-commercial aircraft, the additional CASA rule restricting airline service in Australian airspace (regardless of registration) to planes fitted with FDR/CVR does not apply.  

Were either of those rules to be changed, aircraft like this one would probably be grandfathered.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

This was a US-registered plane, which means that the FAA rules (FDR/CVR not required on non-commercial aircraft) apply.

As a non-commercial aircraft, the additional CASA rule restricting airline service in Australian airspace (regardless of registration) to planes fitted with FDR/CVR does not apply.  

Were either of those rules to be changed, aircraft like this one would probably be grandfathered.
justapassenger
I once saw a news video of a Caribou ex military transporter being used on fire fighting duties in California USA and the wings were completely torn off when the pilot attempted to gain altitude too quickly. The C130 that crashed here could be a candidate for a similar incident.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

I don't think it was the case in this incident.

This one is pointing towards it being a controlled flight into terrain.
  UpperQuad Locomotive Fireman

Location: 184.8 miles to Sydney
The ATSB preliminary report:
https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2020/aair/ao-2020-007/
  a6et Minister for Railways

The ATSB preliminary report:
https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2020/aair/ao-2020-007/
UpperQuad
There was a computer simulation shown on one of the news programs on the weekend, along with a photo of a tree having the top knocked off, all in line with the way the plane went down.  Would sadly seem the aircraft, crew each had very poor vision owing to the dense smoke in the area which video's showing the plane disappearing into the smoke from a distance away.

With the rough and undulating ground in the area, the altimeter may not have shown a good reading either.

I wonder about the need to fly so low as most of these larger aircraft do when dropping large volume's of water/retardant?

No matter the cause the death of 3 men who dedicated their life to these causes is very very sad indeed, and very very hard on their families to say the least.

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