Times Change - Remember When there were no VLATS?

I know there is a lot of fire activity today - so just ignore this and it will be here later if anyone cares - but I just had to comment about how things change over time.

I remember - what - 5 years ago - where the HUGE debates in the old groups were whether VLATS could EVER WORK or be cost effective on firefighting missions.

Today - decisions are being made on where to best use such a limited and valuable resource.

Just made me reminisce a bit.


Some of us go back to no air tankers and cable dozers, bean sprayers and wooden handle back pump


Dam Ed showing your age buddy. Take care


I miss the type 2s with radial engines.


TBMs! I think they used the crew I was on as a method to target, not something to miss. Then again, my first “fire pants” were Levis.

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Of course lots to remember from “back when” - different for each - but I mean some of those battles on the old Wildland Fire Group about the VLATS were epic!

Today you can barely conceive of a fire without the option given spread rates we are seeing.


But I think we can all agree that so far the DC-10 vlat seems to be the better platform vs the 747


I know this is off topic but what is burning via the Timber Mtn camera Axis-TimberMtn1 | Shasta & Modoc | Regions | ALERT Wildfire

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That was a great group. First one I joined.

one of the oregon fires. not sure which one. check out this link…

Fire in Oregon from a lightning strike about 2 hours ago

Thank you for the info scrolling through and wow

Ben Davis “can’t bust’ ‘em”. With long sleeve kacky shirt, leather gloves and aluminum hard hat. Also don’t forget the 5/24 shift !

I was there!! 1967.

It seems to be East of Tule Lake possibly Northeast of Merrill OR. Very Southern OR.

Sorry bluefirebear but I have to disagree a little on that one. (DC10 is a good tanker, love having them on station) The Evergreen delivery system had its issues, but the 747 was a good platform and concept. I’m sure this will create a few responses…

I might be a little biased having seen the supertanker 3 times and 2 missed drops both no fault of the pilots because running a line from cascadel woods to road 225 in Madera county is not a good dive for a 747 that led to really high drops and the 3rd was it orbiting for 20+ minutes before making a drop. I saw the dc10 drop across the head of a fire coming down the ridge just pulling up where it flattened out also the dc10 is one of the tankers that gave boots on ground time put the creek fire out behind our cabin. 2020 I think we got a reminder that fire sometimes still has to be fought without tankers during the day.

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IF the Supertanker had gone with the tried, true and proven gravity fed delivery system, I might have a different opinion of it, but now the perception of it is so engrained that even if they did come back with an entirely different delivery, it would take a very long time to overcome that perception.

There could be times when it is effective but as we have discussed before, long paint lines way in front of a fire aren’t super effective by the time the retardant dries and the fire continues to develop energy up to that paint line.

Just one person’s view of seeing it work 1st hand.


I was on several incidents that it flew. Including its first drop way back on angel island in the San Francisco Bay. Water only, but it was an eye opener for potential of the VLATS. I’ve heard from several well experienced ATGS. All seem to share your thoughts and experiences. I have heard there are potential plans of it returning… that will be interesting if it does come back.
Also, read an article of 757’s being a platform. It’s being called the 757-P2T project.


I can remember when the first Bi-plane Duster’s were used on the Inaja fire in San Diego in November 1956. The operator was a Crop Dusing Service from Oroville. They used 120 gallon open top tanks.