Checks keep fire planes ready for action

Cecilia AllenManjimup-Bridgetown Times
The Air Tractor 802 carrying out a routine safety check last week.
Camera IconThe Air Tractor 802 carrying out a routine safety check last week. Credit: Cecilia Allen.

Weekly maintenance was carried out on two Air Tractors last week at the Manjimup airport.

Department of Parks and Wildlife firefighter aviation service officer Mark Giblett said more than 3000 litres of water was dropped as part of routine safety and operating checks.

“If the planes aren’t used during the week for fires we need to take them up as part of a standard operating check,” he said.

“They can’t land with a full tank so we drop the water along the airstrip, which also checks to make sure the drop door is functioning.

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“The safety and operating checks are important so that in the case of an emergency the plane is set and ready to go.

“We also check the radio and other systems.”

Mr Giblett said the Air Tractors had been used a number of times this season for lightning strikes, some escaped burns and accidental lightings.

“They’re used as an initial aggressive attack,” he said.

“Things have been a lot quieter this season compared to last season when we had the Esperance and Harvey fires.”

Air Tractors are available throughout the fire season.

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