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Bucketing Hazards

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Seems like a good time to review this, lots of folks out there bucketing right now. Pls add your comments, ideas, warnings.

 

Here's a couple that come to mind right away:

 

Good references are essential for avoiding drift while picking up water, especially when the bucket's on the belly. Staying close to shore is very important here. If the water is shallow filling the bucket close to shore may be difficult...

 

Bucketing from a river can be tricky; you've got to move with the current but avoid drift relative to the bucket.

 

These are two reasons why I like bucketing with a longline.

 

What else should we be aware of? Thanks for your comments!

 

Dick Mitten

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With a short line I bucket into current to ensure bucket is behind me and fills instantly, unless is a slow moving current.

 

Never stop moving forward even if very slow that way do not have a drift problem.

 

If your bucket goes over your skid or bearpaw, don't sweat it, fly away and set it down and get it fixed. If a cable goes over your skid or bearpaw and bucket is full do not release the bucket, as will cause you to have dynamic rollover, release water out of bucket and fly away and set it down.

 

With bucket on longline and river do not give too much slack as will be drug downriver without aft cyclic control,,,been there, is not fun,,,lower collective and catch it up then lift.

 

If you hit a tree with full bucket be prepared to fix the bucket,,,aluminum, rivuts and silicon work. Do not try to keep up to an old guy by going fast,,,,drop in behind him, go slow, watch and at all times get the ell of the radio and fly.

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A wise, very capable long line pilot once said to me in response to a question: "First you get good, then you get fast..."

 

On a short hook, always try to put the shore on your side, or off the nose if there is room. Nothing worse than looking down at the water and seeing "nothing", especially if there is good reference out the other side.

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Seems like a good time to review this, lots of folks out there bucketing right now. Pls add your comments, ideas, warnings.

 

Here's a couple that come to mind right away:

 

Good references are essential for avoiding drift while picking up water, especially when the bucket's on the belly. Staying close to shore is very important here. If the water is shallow filling the bucket close to shore may be difficult...

 

Bucketing from a river can be tricky; you've got to move with the current but avoid drift relative to the bucket.

 

These are two reasons why I like bucketing with a longline.

 

What else should we be aware of? Thanks for your comments!

 

Dick Mitten

 

I was told to always move against the current, so you don't snag something while drifting down river? Made sense to me and I'm curious about other opinions out there on that .....

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I'm reluctant to go for a categorical "fly against the current". If the current's slow and the wind favorable then making your pick against the current is a great idea. If the current's flowing at 10 kts and you dip into it going upstream at 5 kts you may be in for a world of hurt: the current's going to grab your bucket at a relative 15 kts and try to drag you downstream. I've only picked water going with the current when using a longline. I can imagine that with a bucket on the belly the sight picture could be pretty disorienting.

 

DM

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I've found that if you keep your approach to the water source a little bit faster than normal your bucket will settle into the water much better(on an astar at least) and you will have a much easier time keeping reference and not have to worry about your bucket swaying in the downwash. Obviously this depends on the water source and you should make your approach according to the conditions of the water source. I would rather bucket on a long line any day though.

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One thing that really gets me is watching the person who decides they're going to learn to longline with a bucket on the end of the line on an initial attack out of control fire. Please, there is a time and place and I would suggest that mop up is that time. Not when you are in a circuit with other machines and there are crews at risk on the ground depending on the helicopters to keep things cool.

Examples,

1. I was behind an Astar and the pilot was obviously new to the line and was trying to spot drop a hot spot next to the cat guard. He hovered there so long, his downwash blew embers over the cat guard.

2. In Alberta a few years ago when things were crazy like they are now and a 205 came from Ontario to help out. Put the longline on and tried to figure it out while two SRD crews were on the ground still fighting to get hose line set up. The 205 was all over the water source and I thought at one point he was going in the drink. Probably, lucky for him and his family he broke his bucket and had to sit it out.

So be patient guys and learn to walk before you learn to run. There's no finish line and there are no trophies. Another line I hear a lot, Mother Nature started the fire, Mother Nature will put it out, we're just there for show.

 

Good thread Love Glove

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Bucketing into strong current with bucket on belly is the only way to do it safely in my opinion, if you bucket with the current the bucket goes infront of the helicopter and can cause tail to dip and can contact water. With a longline makes sense to go with current though, but have done it either way and if careful go the safest route in out for wind and terrain.

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I agree into the current with the bucket on the belly is the safest way. If you are following the current there is a real chance of snagging the bucket on something.

 

One thing that was not mentioned is a LIFE VEST. Wether your bucketing out of a river, stream or pool of water 1 foot deep a life vest should be worn at all times. I am sure many lives could have been spared if they had a vest on. I think it would have given my friend Cowboy a better chance of making it.

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