Russian aircraft could have saved California

11/11/2003 18:03
Source: Pravda

Jingoism and ignorance made US authorities rule out IL-76

The Ilyushin-76 TD Waterbomber aircraft is substantially larger that the aerial firefighting equipment deployed in the USA. With a load of over42,000 litres of water (11,000 gallons), this huge aircraft was available – and was refused – in the recent fires which devastated California.
20 lives were lost, 2,800 homes were destroyed and 750,000 acres of land were turned to ashes. However, as the IL-76 was repeatedly offered by theRussian government, the US authorities decided to rule it out, in part because “it drops too much water”
WorldNetDaily quoted US Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher (Republican, California) and Curt Weldon, (R-Pa.) as having stated in a news conferencelast week that the Russian government repeatedly offered the aircraft to the US Forest Service. 
However, the IL-76 was turned down for a number of reasons, either because it was too expensive, or because it could not make downhill runs or becauseit dropped too much water. The fact is that the IL-76 has never even been allowed to make a demonstration in the USA. If indeed it lacks a downhillrun capacity, this would not hinder it from flooding enormous swathes of land with its enormous capacity and dousing incipient fires before theyturned into blazes. Those who have been campaigning to allow the four-jet-engine Ilyushin-76 to show the Forest Service what it can do, have
been labeled as fanatics.
Tried and tested in the four corners of the globe, the Ilyushin-76 sprays a blanket of water from 300 feet, flying at 151 knots, which is so effectivethat it does not have to use fire retardant chemicals, so massive is the expanse of water, which drenches a three-thousand-foot-long fire in just tenseconds. The IL-76 has a range of 5,000 miles and is able to take off from short runways in difficult terrain.
Yet again, we see in the US authorities a protectionism which reaches far beyond the realm of logic and which defies common sense, indicating aclique-ridden and inept administration which prefers to see its citizens die than to admit that a Russian aircraft could have done the job faster andbetter.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey 


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