I spotted these planes today as I was driving through the historic town of Mineral Wells, Texas. The planes were flown in from Canada in effort to help control wildfires that are currently spreading across much of the southern portion of the state of Texas. You may have seen them on the news lately as they go about their mission of controlling the fires by scooping water from nearby lakes and dropping it onto the fires bellow.
After I pulled in for what rightly seemed like an ideal opportunity for a photo shoot, I couldn’t have been more pleased when a pilot popped out of one of the planes to find out what I was up to. After we chatted for a bit, he offered to give me a guided tour, which included a chance to sit in the cockpit, as well as a thorough description of all of the planes functions.
In the picture above, you see the landing gear in the foreground. Also, you see the gates which are used to contain water within the planes interior holding tanks. The flaps are closed during flight and serve to drop the water from the holding tanks when opened. Behind the gates you should be able to see the scooping devices used to scoop water from lakes as the plane skims along the surface. The pilot was nice enough to open one of the scoopers for my photograph.
The opportunity for these cockpit photographs was made possible by the pilots exceeding kindness. I was allowed to sit in the cockpit as the the pilot explained, and even demonstrated, many of the functions of the controls. The most notable feature, which isn’t even pictured here, was the infrared technology used to maneuver the plane when visibility is thwarted due to heavy smoke from the flames.
Thanks for viewing!