Friday, June 24, 2016

Kudos on successful and rare winter-time medical evacuation from South Pole



I am sure that most of you are aware of the evacuation of two ill workers from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station at the bottom of the world. The South Pole is in the midst of winter, six months of darkness and brutally cold and often windy conditions. Flights into and out of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station cease from February through October, resuming in summer. This medical evacuation is only the third time workers have been evacuated from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, earlier evacuations being in 2001 and 2003 (http://www.inews880.com/2016/06/22/dangerous-antarctic-rescue-mission-continues-for-alberta-pilots/?sc_ref=facebook, http://www.nature.com/news/daring-antarctic-rescue-mission-sets-off-for-south-pole-1.20135?WT.mc_id=FBK_NatureNews). 

Kenn Borek Air Ltd, of Alberta Canada has a large fleet of Twin Otters, specializing in flying into polar regions, the Arctic and the Antarctic. The Twin Otters can operate in very cold conditions, down to -75C (http://www.nature.com/news/daring-antarctic-rescue-mission-sets-off-for-south-pole-1.20135?WT.mc_id=FBK_NatureNews). Two Twin Otters left Alberta on June 14th, reaching Punta Arenas, Chile on June 16th, bad weather delayed their departure for the Rothera Research Station until June 20th. (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/kenn-borek-air-south-pole-june-22-1.3646966).  One June 21st, one Twin Otter and crew, including a medical technician, made the dangerous ten-hour, 1,500 mile flight to the  Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station while the second Twin Otter and crew remained behind in case a search and rescue was needed (it wasn’t). 

There is a nice article from the CBC dated June 17th where you a former Kenn Borek Air pilot who flew to the Antarctic on the 2001 and 2003 medical evacuation flights about what flying in the Antarctic in the dead of winter is like and the perils of such a flight. 


I am very glad that these flights to evacuate the two workers from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station were successful. I know that many agencies as well as Kenn Borek Air were involved in the evacuation operations. We are all very thankful that the Twin Otters made these flights successfully. Kudos to all who were involved in the evacuation operation. A round of applause to the pilot and crew who flew to and from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, and for the pilot and crew in the second Twin Otter who were ready to fly a search and rescue.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Behind the scenes at 10 Tanker Air

Listen to Kevin Hopf, Chief Pilot at 10 Tanker Air talk to WeatherNation TV about what goes on behind the scenes during tanker operations at wildfires. He also discusses their DC-10 tankers.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Tenderfoot Fire (AZ)

I just came across a couple of nice videos regarding the Tenderfoot Fire (started on June 8th, likely human caused) that burned 4,087 acres near Yarnell Arizonia and is at 97 percent containment as I write this. Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today wrote about the Tenderfoot Fire on June 8th, last updated on June 11th.

I saw the first video just this morning on the Southwest Area Incident Management Team 3 Facebook Page,  showing sights and sounds of the Tenderfoot Fire.

Direct link to video from the Southwest Area Incident Management Team 3 on Facebook


The second video is from Scorched Sky Productions showing tanker operations from the Prescott AZ airattack base for the Tenderfoot Fire.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Wildfires in AZ & NM and where to go for wildfire information


Among the wildfires that are currently burning in the U.S. are these two wildfires: The Cedar Fire in Arizona and the Dog Head Fire in New Mexico.

As I write this, the Dog Head Fire started on June 14th has burned about 16,000 acres with evacuations are in place. Twenty-four residences and 21 minor structures have been destroyed.  Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today has been doing his usual great job covering this fire, his post (with updates) may be found here.

The Cedar Fire started late at night on June 15th. I believe that this fire has burned about 9,652 acres. Bill Gabbert has been covering this fire in this article (with updates).

Finally, Bill Gabbert wrote a nice summary of wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico on June 15th and he shared a satellite photo of smoke from three wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico in another June 15th post.

If I hear about a wildfire from conventional media or perhaps elsewhere on the internet, one of the first first places I go to is  Bill Gabbert’s Wildfire Today. I also check out inciweb which lists most wildfires involving federal lands. The National Weather Service’s Fire Weather page has a mapping interface with a layer for large fires. Alternatively, you can go to USFS Active Fire Mapping Program whose large fire map is updated on Fridays or as conditions warrant; they have links to other mapping information.. For more localized information you can go to the Geographic Area Coordination Centers (GACC) and find the region of the US that you are interested in. The GACC has links to a variety of other useful information.

Finally, if you want news articles on wildfire concerns, Mike Archer’s Wildfire News of the Day is worth subscribing to. Mike sends out an e-mail five days a week. Subscription information may be find here. There are other places that you can go for wildfire information, these places are the ones that I use most often and will get you started.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Historical Wildfires: 1958 Malibu Fires (CA, 12/26/58)

Time for some footage of historic wildfires. This one is a wildfire at Malibu, California that started on December 26, 1958. I don't know about you, but I think history is important. Enjoy, allow about 26 minutes to watch the video.


Direct link to video

By the way, I posted some historic wildfire footage about three to six years ago. Some of those video links don't seem to be working, sorry. I will try to go in and look at these articles to see if I can find updated links.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Update: Butler Place Fire - Woodland Twshp NJ ( near Burlington/Ocean border)

The wildfire that I wrote about yesterday (June 12, 2016) is called the Butler Place. Route 72 and nearby roads that were closed yesterday afternoon were reopened to traffic sometime last night. Charlie 1, an Air Tractor 602 from Downstown Aero, worked the fire yesterday. The latest report that I have seen is that this wildfire has burned 357 acres and is at 80 percent containment (from the B10 NJ Wildland Fire Page, updated at 10:30 AM EDT on June 12th). According to the B10 NJ Wildland Fire Page the following were deployed to the Butler Place Fire: 
18 Forest Fire personnel. EQUIPMENT DEPLOYED: - 9 Type 6 engines (brush trucks), 1 water tender, 2 dozers.  
- Cooperator assistance included:  State Police, local police and fire, NJDOT,    Burlington County
- Aircraft for observation as or if needed.
- 2 tanker engines from local volunteer companies available on site. (obtained on June 13, 2016 at 3:55 PM EDT from B10 NJ Wildland Fire Page)
Media reports:
NBC10 Philadelphia (June 12, 2016) with video report 
NJ dot com (June 13, 2016,  12:40 PM EDT)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Just in: wildfire near Burlington/Ocean County NJ border

I just learned about a wildfire burning off of Route 72 in Woodland Township NJ from these two tweets from NJFFS Section B10: Tweet 1 and Tweet 2. The wildfire is in NJ Forest Fire Service Section B3. No structures are in danger.

I got more information from the B10 Wildland Fire Page (content is update frequently), scroll down to see current NJ wildfire activity. At 8 AM on June 12th they report about this major wildfire in:
Woodland Twp- off Savoy Blvd south of Route 72. Originally spotted by NJFFS aircraft Delta 10 while on daily routine flight, 2 fires were spotted south of Rt 72 and west of the RR trestle. Delta 10 talked crews in. Crews now burning out a large block. Air tanker from Downstown Aero now on scene working with an observation helo. Acreage expected to increase to over 350 acres.  Traffic is being effected on Rt 72. (obtained from B10 Wildland Fire Page on June 12, 2016 at 3:20 PM EDT.
ABC ActionNews6 in Philadelphia has a short report about the wildfire, burning near the Ocean-Burlington County border in NJ, available here.

According to NWS Mt. Holly, winds have been gusty today contributing to enhanced fire weather conditions:

SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOUNT HOLLY NJ
228 PM EDT SUN JUN 12 2016

DEZ001-002-MDZ008-012-015-NJZ001-007>010-012>025-027-PAZ054-055-
060>062-070-071-101>106-130000-
NEW CASTLE-KENT-CECIL-KENT MD-QUEEN ANNES-SUSSEX-WARREN-MORRIS-
HUNTERDON-SOMERSET-MIDDLESEX-WESTERN MONMOUTH-EASTERN MONMOUTH-
MERCER-SALEM-GLOUCESTER-CAMDEN-NORTHWESTERN BURLINGTON-OCEAN-
CUMBERLAND-ATLANTIC-CAPE MAY-ATLANTIC COASTAL CAPE MAY-
COASTAL ATLANTIC-SOUTHEASTERN BURLINGTON-CARBON-MONROE-BERKS-
LEHIGH-NORTHAMPTON-DELAWARE-PHILADELPHIA-WESTERN CHESTER-
EASTERN CHESTER-WESTERN MONTGOMERY-EASTERN MONTGOMERY-UPPER BUCKS-
LOWER BUCKS-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...WILMINGTON...DOVER...ELKTON...
CHESTERTOWN...CENTREVILLE...NEWTON...WASHINGTON...MORRISTOWN...
FLEMINGTON...SOMERVILLE...NEW BRUNSWICK...FREEHOLD...SANDY HOOK...
TRENTON...PENNSVILLE...GLASSBORO...CAMDEN...CHERRY HILL...
MOORESTOWN...MOUNT HOLLY...JACKSON...MILLVILLE...HAMMONTON...
CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE...OCEAN CITY...ATLANTIC CITY...
WHARTON STATE FOREST...JIM THORPE...STROUDSBURG...READING...
ALLENTOWN...BETHLEHEM...EASTON...MEDIA...PHILADELPHIA...
HONEY BROOK...OXFORD...WEST CHESTER...KENNETT SQUARE...
COLLEGEVILLE...POTTSTOWN...NORRISTOWN...LANSDALE...CHALFONT...
PERKASIE...MORRISVILLE...DOYLESTOWN
228 PM EDT SUN JUN 12 2016

...GUSTY WINDS AND LOWERING RELATIVE HUMIDITIES THIS AFTERNOON...

GUSTY WINDS WILL CONTINUE TO RANGE FROM 30-40 MPH THIS AFTERNOON
WITH LOCALIZED GUSTS TO 45 MPH. RELATIVE HUMIDITY VALUES WILL
LOWER THIS AFTERNOON AS DRIER AIR MOVES INTO THE REGION...DROPPING
INTO THE 20-30% RANGE. ENHANCED FIRE WEATHER SPREAD CONDITIONS
ARE EXPECTED FOR THE AFTERNOON HOURS. BE MINDFUL IF OUTDOORS NOT
TO HAVE ANY OPEN FLAMES WHICH COULD QUICKLY SPREAD. GUSTY WINDS
MAY ALSO LEAD TO DIFFICULT TRAVELING AND BLOW AROUND LOOSE
OBJECTS.

Friday, June 10, 2016

More from the 2016 Jones Beach Airshow

Continuing with the 2016 Jones Beach Airshow, from John's Flying Channel at Youtube, here are the Geico Skytypers. Six T-6/SNJ aircraft comprise the Geico Skytypers team. At the end of their show you will see their missing man formation in memory of Bill Gordon. Enjoy.


Direct link to video from John's Flying Channel


Wednesday, June 08, 2016

So African Wildland Firefighters dancing in Edmonton (May 29th)

Some of you will recall that I posted on May 27th that wildland firefighters from the U.S.A. and South Africa were helping fight the wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Here is a nice video of the South African wildland firefighters dancing in the airport at Edmonton, Alberta after they arrived in Canada. Enjoy


Direct link to Youtube video from Alberta Wildfire

Monday, June 06, 2016

RIP Bill Gordon warbird pilot

As some of you no doubt know, Bill Gordon (of Key West Florida), an experienced warbird pilot died on Friday night May 27, 2016 when the P-47 Thunderbolt he was piloting crashed into the Hudson River just south of the George Washington Bridge. Gordon's P-47, owned by the American Airpower Museum, was flying with two other warbirds in a promotional photo shoot at the time of the crash. The two other warbirds landed safely. He was scheduled to fly the P-47 in the Jones Beach Airshow last weekend to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the P-47.

According to this May 28th article from the Washington Post, Gordon had over 25 years experience flying in air shows and was formerly the chief pilot at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in New York. The Washington Post refers to Gordon's profile (now offline?) from an April Key West airshow saying that he was an "Aerobatic Competency Evaluator for the air show industry” who certified air-show performers to executive “low level aerobatics,” a profile from an April Key West airshow says about him."

I join all who loved Bill Gordon -- his family, friends, warbird and airshow pilots -- in offering my thoughts and prayers. I know that he is flying in favorable tail winds.

The American Airpower Museum has a nice tribute to Bill on their Facebook Page.

The GEICO Skytypers flew a missing man formation in the Bethpage Federal Credit Union Air Show (Jones Beach) in memory of Bill Gordon. The American Airpower Museum shared the video on their Facebook page (May 29th),  but I had trouble with the video in one of my browsers. However, I was able to find a video of the missing man formation posted on youtube which I am embedding here: