No. 93 dt. 20 September , 2005.
Information on joint operation of the Be-200ES aircraft by BERIEV Aircraft Company and SoREM for performing the fire-fighting missions in Italy in July-September, 2005
The Be-200ES aircraft (Reg. RF21512) arrived at the base of Costa Smeralda airport, the town of Olbia, Sardinia, on July 5, 2005. Experimental flights were performed within the period from 06.07.2005 to 17.09.2005 over the whole territo„y of Italy by joint Russian-Italian crews presented by BERIEV Aircraft Company test group headed by Mr. Alexander Ternovoy, leading testing engineer of the BE-200 aircraft. Prior to this, the SoREM pilots had attended the Be-200 conversion course in the BERIEV Aircraft Company hydroaviation training center in Taganrog.
Flights in Italy were performed in compliance with the program, approved by Italian Airworthiness and Safety Department (ENAC), which incorporated familiarization program and standby alert for fire-fighting sorties.
Familiarization course covered analysis of the lakes in island and inland Italy for defining their suitability for water scooping and working out the water scooping procedures. The lakes were chosen from the "Lake book" for the Canadair aircraft considering the main parameter - water scooping distance from the descent height of 50 meters to climb up to 50 meters.
During the familiarization program 18 training flights were performed.
Experimental flights for fighting the real fires and standby alert started on July 17 until September 17, 2005.
During experimental operation the Be-200ES was in the standby alert status from 11 a.m. until the sunset and demonstrated high readiness for take-off.
The Be-200ES demonstrated excellent maneuverability which allows the difficult-free operation of the aircraft in the highlands. High speed characteristics of the aircraft, unlike the ones of the Canadair, and powerful engines allowed the revision of the fire-fighting operation procedures and provided opportunity to approach for water drops on fire using the ascent flight path. The Be-200ES engines, even with simulation of an engine failure, allowed the performance of this maneuver, as well as during the flights with maximum load. These features also changed capabilities and variants of water scooping from the lakes on the headings which cannot be used by Canadair.
Quantity of water and chemical fluid (12.000 liters) was a crucial factor for fire suppression when performing this kind of missions.
The Be-200 was operated in complicated conditions of the highlands. The aircraft scooped water in the open sea (Tyrrhenian, Ligurian and Mediterranian) in the conditions close to the boundary ones, practically always with the wind of 15-17 m/sec. When fighting the fires, the BŚ-200 was operated according to various patterns of cooperation with Canadair aircraft and fire helicopters depending on the complexity of fire and availability of aviation materiel in standby alert status. Sometimes the Be-200 was the only possible means for fighting the fire under adverse weather conditions. As an example here can be mentioned the fire on a steep flank of hill on August 23. Initially, the Skycrane big helicopters and —anadair aircraft were sent to that area but they could not work in the conditions of high turbulence and returned back to the base. After this, the Be-200 aircraft was sent there and by performing two successful flights the aircraft suppressed the fire.
The Be-200 aircraft was effective both for the fires located at an insignificant distance from the place of water scooping and the fires the distance from which to the place of water scooping was more than 15-20 kilometers. This was achieved thanks to high speed performance, big volume of air-dropped extinguishant and capability to reach the place of fire very quickly with subsequent performance of the first massive attack which allowed localization of fire at once.
The work performed by the Be-200 was always highly assessed as "Bravissimo!" by forest guards and ground services which coordinated fire fighting from ground and assessed the results of work performed by aviation materiel.
In the process of aircraft operation in Italy, the additional technical requirements to fire-fighting aircraft were defined. These requirements will be implemented for future deliveries of the aircraft to the Customer.
As a result of experimental program period the flights duration totaled approximately 150 hours covering 63 mission flights, including ferry flights, and 435 scoops and drops of water, mixed with chemical fluid, the total mass of which exceeded 3500 tons.
Taking into account the results of the Be-200 aircraft operation in Italy in 2004, totally the Be-200 amphibian, under experimental operation throughout two seasons, flew more than 240 hours and performed 700 scoops and drops of water, mixed with chemical fluid, the total mass of which exceeded 5400 tons.
Flight and operational data statistics, aggregate effectiveness and general results of experimental program demonstrating the capabilities of a new generation aircraft under real operating conditions which have easily and naturally integrated into the existing fire-fighting system within the Western legal field are convincing without comments. BERIEV Aircraft Company and IRKUT —orporation have already begun preparation for future seasons and future Customers.Photos taken from the board of the Be-200ES aircraft in July-September 2005.