SP's Airbuz - - News Briefs -

One of the most pop­u­lar pas­sen­ger air­craft, the BAe 146/Avro RJ is find­ing a new role as a wild­fire fighter in North Amer­ica, with 22 in ser­vice or un­der con­ver­sion for the role. The 2016 wild­fire sea­son saw 14 in­ser­vice BAE Sys­tems Re­gional Air­craft-built BAe 146-200s and Avro RJ85s of Nep­tune Avi­a­tion and Con­air/Aero-Flite fly­ing well over 5,800 tanker mis­sions. They dropped more than 12.5m gal­lons of re­tar­dant to help con­trol some of the 67,595 recorded wild­fires in the US and well over 5,000 in Canada. An­other eight of the air­craft are un­der con­ver­sion. For this year’s com­ing fire sea­son, 11 out of the19 of the large air tankers of 3,000 gal­lon ca­pac­ity, con­tracted by the US Forest Ser­vice, are BAe 146-200/ Avro RJ85s, un­der­lin­ing the vi­tal role now played by the air­craft. BAE Sys­tems Re­gional Air­craft plays an ac­tive role in sup­port­ing both Nep­tune Avi­a­tion and Con­air as well as Air Spray, whose first BAe 146 air tanker is sched­uled to fly this year. Wild­fire sup­pres­sion costs across all agen­cies in the US in 2016 were nearly $2 bil­lion, un­der­lin­ing the im­por­tance of the air­craft. Fire fight­ing

now ac­counts for a record 52 per cent of the Forest Ser­vice Bud­get as com­pared to just 16 per cent in 1995.

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