- home -

Mechanics of the Release


Figure 5—Distribution of fluid along the flight path.
Figure 5—Distribution of fluid along the flight path.
As an airtanker releases a load of retardant (figure 5), the fluid is distributed along the flight path. The characteristics of the drop (length, width, and coverage level) are a function of the height and speed of the aircraft, the flow rate and volume of the fluid exiting the tank, the rheological properties of the fluid, and the meteorological conditions (Swanson and Luedecke 1978).

The design of the tank and gating system directly affects the retardant flow rate. Relevant design elements include the size and shape of the door, the speed with which the door opens, and the geometry of the tank vents, baffling, cylinders, torque tubes, and other items inside the tank (figure 6, George and Blakely 1973). We have relied on the cup-and-grid method to understand how these factors influence the ground pattern.














Figure 6—View of a tank and gating system showing baffling and torque arms, which produce clutter effect.
Figure 6—View of a tank and gating system showing baffling and torque arms, which
produce clutter effect.

- glossary -
- back | next -


This page last modified July 30, 2001

Visitor since July 30, 2001