2011 is going to remembered as the year of a really severe drought. This has been a punishing summer for Texans and (as of this writing) there is no end in sight (we need a good tropical depression to camp out over the state for a few days!).
One of the cool things about the drought is the neat aircraft that have been brought into the state to help fight the inevitable fires that threaten property and lives. One of them that has been stationed at Cherokee County for the last week or so it this KV107-11 Kawazakivertol. Our US Navy calls them a CH-46 Sea Knight, and it is a super neat helicopter.
The contraption in the foreground is a Bambi Bucket, which is used to gather water from a nearby water source (lake, creek, pond, etc.) and then dump it on the fire. I’ve flown lots of Bambi Bucket missions with the Texas Army Reserve National Guard in UH-60 Blackhawk, and it is one of the more enjoyable missions to fly. This brings to mind the need for us to keep our National Guard troops in our prayers, for they are unquestionably now serving all over the state in response to the severe drought.
Imagine flying this thing while sticking your head out into the bubble canopy…that would be really, really cool!
Although the drought is severe, the response is equal to the task, and aviation leads the way. If you happen to see some of these guys at your airport, buy them a coke and thank them for working in your neck of the woods. They represent a unique niche in aviation.