CAL FIRE pilots train on Zeus aircraft

The C-130 Zeus aircraft requires three crew members to operate and can stay in the air for four to five hours depending on the weight and load the aircraft

By FireRescue1 Staff 

SAN DIEGO — CAL FIRE pilots are training with a C-130 aircraft dubbed "Zeus" during August.

The purpose of training on a C-130 is to get pilots ready for the bigger aircraft that will part of the CAL FIRE fleet, 7 San Diego reported. The state is planning on having five C-130's operating in the state.

Firefighting pilots currently fly S-2 tankers, which are a bit smaller than the Zeus. S-2 tankers hold 1,200 gallons of water compared to the Zeus, which can hold up to 4,000 gallons.

"The crew can dial in coverage levels, gallon levels, however much they want, and then when it comes time to drop, they just hit right here, and the computer does everything for us," Paul Huebner, a flight engineer with Coulson Aviation, said.

The aircraft requires three crew members and can stay in the air up to five hours, depending on the weight and load of the aircraft.

"[The Zeus] is a more complicated system. This is an aircraft that requires many more hands and many more arms and legs and eyes to safely operate and so they're learning to safely operate as a team and they're doing it under close supervision," CAL FIRE Capt. Issac Sanchez said.

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