Is the impossible possible?

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Sometimes in life one must believe that the impossible can be proved to be possible.

Consider the forest fire. With today’s technology, to extinguish most forest fires even with some aircraft and 100 or more firefighters on the ground, it takes many days, often more than a month. If one suggested that with this new concept and adequate numbers of converted aircraft available, they can extinguish a forest fire solely from the air and requiring no firefighters on the ground, one would state, “This is impossible.”

So how can the impossible be possible?

Consider this new concept where they take a used large aircraft like a 747 and remove everything that is not required for this mission, leaving basically skin and frames. Then they add a huge water tank under the floor that uses the side of the aircraft as its skin, partial bulkheads at each end and a lid to make the tank. The predicted length is around 60 feet long and 7 feet deep.

In the bottom of the tank between each frame they install 10 dump valves, and together they are designed to dump over 70,000 gallons per minute (GPM), wetting the fire below and emptying the tank(s) in less than 30 seconds. The key is the ability to dump and distribute huge amounts of water as quickly as possible. If the designers decided to install 10 12-inch electrically-operated valves between each frame and there are an estimated 35 frames over this 60-foot length, this would allow 350 valves. If each valve dumped only 20 GPM this totals 70,000 GPM. (The valve design and quality are TBD.) This concept has never before been considered. It is more than a magnitude improvement over any firefighter aircraft currently in service.

In operation the emphasis is put on responding ASAP with as much water power as possible in order to extinguish the fire, hopefully still in its infancy. When a fire is reported these loaded aircraft will start arriving within the hour and start dumping their water loads and as soon as one is empty and leaves another one arrives and does the same. This continues on whether it takes six loads or 60 loads or more and until the fire is finally extinguished.

So now does one still believe that the impossible is impossible, or is it actually possible?

J.C. Cromer

Oak Harbor, Wash.

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