Richard McDonald demonstrates his water bombing aircraft at Rockhampton airport.
Richard McDonald demonstrates his water bombing aircraft at Rockhampton airport. Chris Ison

Water bomber on a different plane

AFTER helping water bomb the massive bushfires which consumed much of Mt Archer in 2009, pilot Richard McDonald decided he needed a plane that could carry more water.

More than two years later, Richard was yesterday able to show exactly what his new custom-built aircraft could do.

Wife Susie said the plane was capable of carrying 3300L of water, allowing her husband the choice of dumping all the water on a large fire or dumping a small amount and putting out several spot fires without needing to land for more water.

"The plane we had did a lot of work and kept a lot of the fire away from homes, and this one is double the capacity," Susie said.

"Water bombing really does sort of squash down the fire and help put it out."

While the wet season has put a dampener on Queensland Fire and Rescue Service's need for Richard's plane, he has been able to use it for agricultural purposes instead.

With 29 years of flying under his belt and 17,000 hours in the cockpit, Susie said her husband had flown charter planes and jets.

But if the need does arise, Richard will be ready to help the firefighters extinguish any blazes.

"It's fully set up and ready to go," Susie said.

She said water bombing was quite a precise business.

"It's actually quite a lot of timing."



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