Random header image from 8 images... Refresh for more!

Forest Service releases wish list for new firefighting planes

Denver Post
by Catherine Tsai, The Associated Press

The U.S. Forest Service released its long-awaited strategy Friday for replacing its wildfire-fighting fleet of aging heavy air tankers with ones that are newer, faster and more cost-effective, though it’s unclear how quickly those multimillion-dollar planes will come on line.

Its current fleet is owned and operated by private contractors, but the agency said it’s possible the government could own some planes in the future.

“That’s an option,” said Jim Hubbard, the U.S. Forest Service’s deputy chief for state and private forestry. “We’re looking for the best value.”

The agency uses a mix of aircraft, including single-engine air tankers and helicopters, to support firefighters on the ground. But its fleet of 11 heavy air tankers that drop slurry over fires is at least 50 years old. More than half face mandatory retirement within 10 years.

The Forest Service said Friday the next generation of heavy tankers should be powered by turbine engines rather than piston engines that are less reliable and less fuel-efficient. They should have a minimum cruise speed of 345 mph and be able to carry at least 1,800 gallons of mixed retardant without having to return to a base, the agency said.

The planes also must be able to meet Forest Service contract structural integrity program requirements.

“We need a core fleet of the next-generation large air tankers to supplement our boots-on-the-ground firefighters for what we know will be longer and more severe wildfire seasons in years to come,” Forest Service chief Tom Tidwell said in a written statement.

In 2004, the Forest Service grounded 33 air tankers following questions about whether several types were safe. That encouraged contractors and others to think about what their replacements should look like.

“We applaud the Forest Service for releasing this strategy,” said Nelson Litterst, a representative for current Forest Service contractor Minden Air Corp. “It gives contractors some direction as they’re developing the next generation of firefighting aircraft.”

Minden Air Corp. and Neptune Aviation Services have been looking at using a BAe-146, designed for mountain flying and available for around $7 million to $8 million.

By contrast, C-130s, which the Forest Service occasionally borrows from the military to fight wildfires, are around $70 million, Hubbard said.

Meanwhile, 10 Tanker Air Carrier LLC is offering its DC-10 jets. Already the company has flown more than 400 missions on more than 70 fires, including 62 days of firefighting for the Forest Service last year under a “call when needed” contract, said company president and chief executive Rick Hatton. The company plans to bid for more contracts.

“We’re offering probably the largest airplane that’s in this hunt. That may be outside the so-called target they’ve established, but we believe there’s merit to that. Size should not be a negative. It can do the work of multiple airplanes that are smaller,” Hatton said.

Hubbard said the look of the nation’s new firefighting fleet will depend on how much money is available for modernization and what the private sector can do.

“We’ll probably have a mixed fleet of different airplanes to meet our needs,” Hubbard said.

To view original story http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_19945923?source=rss

Return to Top

C2 Group Joins FTI Consulting
FTI Consulting - Mar 19, 2013

FTI Acquires C2 Group
PR Week - Mar 19, 2013

K Street Files: FTI Consulting Snaps Up C2 Group
Roll Call - Mar 19, 2013

Boutique Lobby Shop C2 Group Acquired by FTI Consulting
The Washington Post - Mar 19, 2013

Blue Dogs try fresh approach
Politico - Mar 22, 2012

Forest Service releases wish list for new firefighting planes
Denver Post - Feb 15, 2012

On the Move
CQ Weekly - Jan 16, 2012

Los Angeles Leads Full-Throttle Dash for U.S. Transit Cash
The New York Times - Jun 06, 2011

Highway Money Fight Shifts to States
Roll Call - May 24, 2011

Former Seneca exec is D.C. consultant
Buffalo Law Journal - Mar 03, 2011

Ex-Seneca Gaming exec adds D.C. work
Buffalo Business First - Mar 01, 2011

Barry Brandon and Galen Reser Join the Partners of C2 GROUP
Press Release - Feb 21, 2011

Transportation groups fear plans for infrastructure might dead-end
The Hill - Feb 16, 2011

Light rail expansion on the line
Houston Chronicle - Jan 31, 2011

Blue Dogs on K Street Say Their Clout Stays
Roll Call - Nov 09, 2010

K Streeters Launch Blue Dog Nonprofit
Roll Call Staff - Apr 13, 2010

Lobbyists Ice Members in Hockey Fundraiser
Roll Call Staff - Mar 11, 2010

Higgins:  Hill Tougher Than Hockey (VIDEO)
Politico Click - Mar 10, 2010

K Street Files: Ice Ice Baby
Roll Call Staff - Mar 03, 2010

C2 GROUP Makes Top 50 Lobbying Firms 2009
Influence 50 - Jan 29, 2010

Porsche, other car companies lobby to ease new fuel efficiency standards
The Hill - Dec 18, 2009

Big Builders Erect New Trade Association
Roll Call Staff - Dec 07, 2009

New Leadership at NFIB Makes a Return to Roots
Roll Call Staff - Nov 30, 2009

Firms Offer Tasty Morsels to Blue Dogs’ Top Aides
Roll Call Staff - Sep 16, 2009

Flexible Spending Account Providers Fighting to Protect Benefits
Roll Call Staff - Aug 03, 2009

K Street Files: Checking In
Roll Call Staff - Jul 28, 2009

Rockefeller’s Robertson Joins c2group, LLC
Press Release - Mar 27, 2009

K Street Discovers a New Star
Roll Call Staff - Mar 25, 2009

NRA Hits the Legislative Trail With Guns Blazing
Roll Call Staff - Mar 20, 2009

K Street Files: Powering Up
Roll Call Staff - Mar 18, 2009

Inaugural Parties, Lobbyists’ Havens
Roll Call Staff - Jan 07, 2009

Lobbyist for Big Builders Says Tax Carry-Back Not Dead
BuilderOnline.com - Jul 08, 2008

NAHB sees relief in tax credit
Politico - May 01, 2008

K Street Remains an Easy Street in Hard Times
CQ WEEKLY - Apr 21, 2008

Lobbying firm C2 Group acquires Bates Capitol Group
bizjournals.com - Jul 31, 2007

THE C2 GROUP LAUNCHES INTO THE TOP 20 OF INDEPENDENT LOBBYING FIRMS THROUGH MERGER WITH BATES GROUP,
Press Release - Jul 30, 2007

C2 Gets a ‘B’
Roll Call Staff - Jul 30, 2007

Blue Dog Lobbyists: Now With Bite
Roll Call Staff - Jan 22, 2007

Corporate Road Warriors on the Move
Washington Post - Jun 19, 2006