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Super Scoopers

August 21, 1994

* We strongly disagree with your editorial urging the purchase of white-elephant Super Scooper aerial fire bombers (Aug. 10). Until the 1993 brush fires that threatened our community, several of our community organizations supported the acquisition of the Super Scoopers. However, because of the extensive and excellent television coverage of that fire, we learned so much about aerial firefighting that we now believe that the Super Scoopers would be useless in Southern California brush fires.

We learned that the only effective way of stopping the intense brush fires with aerial drops was to drop a large amount of water with pinpoint accuracy on a specific spot at the front of the fire.

Even if the Super Scooper was able to make an accurate drop on the front of the fire, it would be ineffective. While it carries approximately 1,600 gallons of water, the plane has to make the water drop at a high rate of speed. The hot updrafts from the fire force aircraft to fly several hundred feet above the ground. Thus, the water drop is sprayed over a large area when it should be concentrated on a single spot. The heat will vaporize the dispersed water from the Super Scooper before it even hits the ground.

If any money is to be spent on aerial fire bombers, it should be spent on helicopters, not wasted on Super Scoopers.

JACK ALLEN, President

Palisades Preservation Assn.

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