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Vert Ref, piece of advice, know your facts before you start typing..


Several of the machines I saw on fires with buckets on the bellies were EMS machines or others not equipped for vertical reference - not the drivers' or the operators' fault - they were needed, so what should they do, park them and let the fire burn?


Also I know a few of the driver's with those belly buckets (no I wasn't one of them) (including at least one in a photo in Vertical) and some had not long-lined in years or ever, and others were very skilled on the line but were flying a machine which could not use a line. Some of them have more flying experience than the majority on this website and most all were very professional - and surprise, they contributed greatly to the cause, got the water and retardant where it was needed and were safe - some were so good at it they were kept after others with the long-line were released. "Clowns" does not describe them....


I prefer the long line also vert ref, but remember, don't lump everyone together or assume things - you know what that results in.


It's the pilot that makes the difference, not the equipment.

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Vert Ref, though I prefer to bucket off a long-line, I am required to bucket off the belly when I fly for Alberta Rap (yep, that's right ...chewing-up your tax dollars).

This is because the dual-controls are removed, not because I am a clown.


Thankfully, initial-attacking a fire in flat-land Alberta can be done quite safely and efficiently off the belly.


Like you, I was surprised to see 407Driver's photos from the mountains.

However, safety and then efficiency are the requirements in bucketing, regardless of the location.

If some pilots feel safer and more efficient by working off the belly, then let them continue without harrassment. If they feel that way, it's probably for a good reason.


Hopefully one day they will have gained some of the long-line skills you have aquired over the years, or were you born knowing it all ??????


407D, you surprise me. Do you have any photos of me or my fellow employees working for Alberta Rap ??

Does that make us clowns too ??

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Its amazing the comments made about those belly hooking. Nearly all of the helos on the recent fires, apart from the Kmax's of Superior, Heli's BK and a couple of others, were belly hooked and have been so for the past few years.


Doesnt make them all clowns for doing this, just the way people do business. Australia doesnt have the long line type industry that you have in Canada so the experience levels are not there, unless they come in with the overseas operators. Whats more safer, allowing someone to belly hook and do his job safely or pressure him to run a long line and take the chance of him screwing it up.


I watched a perfect example of this twice. The most obvious was an EMS BK who spent literally minutes trying to get his load anywhere near the spot the Air Attack observer wanted it. Turns out it was the first time he had ever done long line type work with a bucket, but as was the case in Canada, they needed every helicopter they could get their hands on.


Bottom Line - Each To His Own. If it aint broke, dont try and fix it.


Heli Ops

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This is getting hotter than a 350 Vs 407 debate, and quicker too!

I was surprised to see so many aircraft running off the belly also CM, there is a time and place, and there are skills required. In this area, the belly aircraft were at a big disadvantage, and were weeded out as time went by. The Fire Mangers quickly saw that the longliners were more effective.

Some reasons were..

1) Dip Sites, It was darn tough finding a good dip site for that 214ST, A longline equipped aircraft could have easily cut the cycle times in half.

2) Drop accuracy, some of you belly hooked guys may be accurate, but some that I flew beside were not, in fact it was actually embarassing to watch. One pilot in particular was the talk of the fire crews...0 for 22, they talked of 22 straight misses !

3) Rotorwash effect on the fire. big issue when you're a AUW is 19,000 (or even 11,200)

4) Drop height, the customer wants results !


I spent the last few weeks of the fire season filling bladders, it took a 150' line just to reach it, you just can't do the work on a belly. Crab all you want, but there's a time and place for every configuration and skill. I'm not going to the flatlands, 'cause I get really lost and hate swamps, confined areas and big fires, but if you're in the rockpile you'll have to compete with the locals.



The next big debate is Ford Vs Chevvy!

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Some of the comments here are down right embarrassing and come from people that would have us believe an association would work with this same group. It's one thing to promote the use of long line as the most effective means of delivery over a fire, but it's unprofessional and unecessary to let ego and smart *** comments degrade the discussion. If you want a professional association act professional. Let's raise the bar back to a level acceptable where it will benefit everyone.

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407D, sorry have to throw in my last 2 cents worth...


No issue with most of your last comments, they were well taken - the main issue I and others had was the unprofessional and careless comment by vert ref.


With regards to your comment:


"but if you're in the rockpile you'll have to compete with the locals."


yes 407D, I did see you lapping a belly hooked US registered (EMS)212, and yes, you had great accuracy and were well liked by the fire boss. But, the US 212 I saw you lapping was asked by Parks Cda to help us out. He was heading home after a long tour away from home in Alaska but diverted to help us out. He readily admitted he wasn't the greatest at bucketing, was candid and modest with the fire boss, but he had been around a long, long time, 25,000 hrs + (his engineer, not him, told me this), tried his best, did some good and was always very safe. (Not sure if he was the 0 for 22 fellow you were referring to, as his average was much better than that) If the fire bosses felt he was not adding enough, they could have easily released him and he would have been more than happy to finally make it home. I know for sure that that US driver never considered that he was competing with anyone other than the fire itself and was not out to impress anyone, just to do the best he could.


An interesting point is that their company does not pay flight hours just a straight salary. It was so that drivers do not try to make more $$ by flying as long as possible and risk aftigue and an accident just to make more pesos - a policy started due to an earlier accident attributed to fatigue from long air time. Parks kept him flying and he did 10 hour (air-time) days, day after day, and not gaining a cent over flying the 4 hr min or the 8 hr US daily max policy - he did it to help us out and without a complaint other than a sore body.

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Heli-Ops, a pilot should NEVER be pushed into using equipment that they are not comfortable with. Unfortuantely customers do not always follow that rule. The truth be know, I'd be downright terrible on a belly hook, and would actually refuse to do it. I would be run off that ALTA forestry job CM, because of it.


Gotta run, taking Mrs to YYC, rejoin the fray on Friday.......

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Just reading all these comments about longlines and bellies.I use both depending on the job and so on.One comment I saw was .We all know the reasons why a longline should be used in the mountains. I would like to know why longlines should be used in the mountains??? ;)

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Well, well, well we all must have missed the "smilie face" did'nt we!


So now that the scrum has started and the attack is on, I stand by my statement made, to illustrate a point. And to all those that are professionals you will know how to take "clowns" in or out of text! I mean it in a seroius/humourous light, take it as you want! Nuff said by me on that point and text.


Just because something has been done for 50 years does not make it right, safe or efficeint!


For those who were not equipped with the right aircraft, operational equipment, or training this obviously does not apply and was not intended too!


But I find it frustrating seeing known seismic and logging aircraft and pilots bucketing off the bellie hook! (and this is with reference to the last two decades, not just one issue of Vertical) When guys tell me they bucket off the bellie ( and the longline is coiled up under the tarp) so there is more fire for them to put out tomorrow, and they want to keep flying "eight's"...tell that to all the people that lost there houses and personal property!!! :stupid: You have no idea how proud some people are of there "milking it " stories and the stuff they wrecked that day! :angry:


I would never go flying IFR with a partial panel, I would never heliski without low gear and stakes! So why would one fight a fire without a longline when so equipped and capable of?


Fighting fires should be done just as efficiently as any other job, there is a customer, and there best interests must be looked after as well. Just because its government does not mean its a free ride and you get to screw them! You are pissing away all our tax dollars, so enjoy! :stupid:



Different point...

Cyclic, nothing is stopping you from putting the duels and bubble window in your AFS rap ship! (unless the contract specifications have been changed lately?).



Back to origional point...

So now we know who the clowns are refering too don't we!

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