Missoula Technology and Development Center


"Constructing Trail Switchbacks" Video

“Constructing Trail Switchbacks” video.

MTDC recently mailed a new video, Constructing Trail Switchbacks, to all Forest Service and BLM offices. In this 28-minute program, Liz Gupton, a trail designer with the Lolo National Forest, explains how to plan, design, lay out, construct, and maintain switchbacks. The step-by-step program shows two new switchbacks being constructed to reroute a problem section of the River Trail on the Lolo National Forest in Montana. Forest Service and BLM employees who may need another copy of the video may request one from MTDC. Distribution outside the Forest Service is being done through the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Recreational Trails Program. Orders to FHWA may be faxed to 202-366-3409.

For information about other trails reports available from FHWA, check their web site: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/rt_pubs.htm.



For additional information, contact Brian Vachowski, Project Leader, at MTDC:
Phone: 406-329-3935
Internet: bvachowski@fs.fed.us
Lotus Notes: Brian J Vachowski/WO/USDAFS



Aerial Retardant Pattern Prediction Model

Tests using a field of cups arranged in a grid reveal the pattern of deposition for fire-retarding chemicals dropped from aircraft.
The Aerial Delivery Systems Group at MTDC conducted an extensive series of drop tests using a variety of retardant delivery systems from 1993 to 1995. Helicopter bucket systems, helitankers, and conventional and constant flow fixed-wing airtankers were tested. Each drop was performed over a field of cups arranged in a grid. The weight of retardant in each cup and its location in the grid were recorded. Also recorded were the aircraft height, aircraft speed, tank evacuation flow rate, tank volume, tank geometry, retardant type, and weather conditions. Computer analysis of this information revealed a specific ground pattern of deposition.

In October 1999, Continuum Dynamics, Inc., was awarded a contract to develop a computer model that would predict ground pattern deposition based on these data. The Aerial Delivery Systems Group has worked closely with Continuum Dynamics answering questions about the database, providing additional information, and reviewing progress reports. This computer model is scheduled to be completed in October.

Other deposition prediction models exist, but none incorporates such a wide range of input variables, nor are the other models based on as large a database. This model will give firefighters more insight into the capabilities and tactical uses of new and existing retardant systems. The model will be able to predict ground deposition from delivery systems that have not been drop tested and will assist in designing new systems.

A series of Drop Guides are being prepared based on the drop test data. These guides give a brief description of the delivery system and include tables and graphs indicating the optimum drop parameters needed to produce the desired retardant pattern on the ground. The tables are derived from the actual ground patterns measured during the drop tests. The guides are designed to help firefighters and pilots adjust parameters to produce the most effective drop pattern for given fire conditions. About a half-dozen Drop Guides are available now. To order, check the listing under Aerial Delivery Systems in Recent Reports From MTDC below. Drop Guides for all systems tested should be available by late fall.

For more information on aerial retardant delivery systems, contact Greg Lovellette, Physical Scientist:
Phone: 406-329-4815
Internet: glovellette@fs.fed.us
Lotus Notes: Greg Lovellette/WO/USDAFS



Accessible Boating For Persons With Disabilities

Safely getting into or out of a boat can pose problems for anyone. The boat may be moving and unstable. If a floating dock is involved, the dock will probably be moving as well. Boarding a boat that has been pulled up on shore may require negotiating a rocky or steep shoreline. These situations pose problems for persons with disabilities, about 15 percent of the general population.
Properly constructed loading platforms can make it easier for persons with disabilities to board boats.
Accessible Loading Platform for Boaters, 0023-2837-MTDC, addresses the problem of providing accessible boating ramps. It describes safe methods that disabled persons can use to board watercraft pulled along-side loading ramps near the water. The report includes plans for three ramp designs and explains how to properly site the ramps.


For additional information, contact Bob Beckley, Project Leader, at MTDC:
Phone: 406-329-3996
Internet: rbeckley@fs.fed.us
Lotus Notes: Robert G Beckley/WO/USDAFS







West Fork Energy Audit


A summary of an energy audit at the West Fork Ranger District compound near Darby, MT, provides information that can help other Forest Service ranger districts save energy.

The West Fork Ranger Station in the Bitterroot National Forest underwent an energy audit in the late 1990's. The findings have been summarized in a short report available on the Center's intranet web site: http://fsweb.mtdc.wo.fs.fed.us/pubs/lc/lc99712846.htm. The findings would probably apply to many Forest Service ranger station compounds across the nation, particularly those located in colder climates. A number of energy-saving measures were suggested, such as installing timers on electric hot-water heaters, installing setback thermostats in office buildings occupied only during the day, and properly maintaining the heating and cooling systems.


For additional information concerning facility energy audits, contact Steve Oravetz, Program Leader:
Phone: 406-329-1037
Internet: soravetz@fs.fed.us
Lotus Notes: Steve Oravetz/WO/USDAFS




Recent Reports From MTDC


Aerial Delivery Systems

Forest Service and BLM employees
Order printed copies of these reports.

To order documents from MTDC, please include the eight-digit document number and the title. Contact us at:
Phone: 406-329-3978
Fax: 406-329-3719
Internet: pubs@fs.fed.us

San Dimas Technology and Development Center


Aerial Retardant Delivery Systems

The Forest Service program that tests airtankers is being moved to the San Dimas Technology and Development Center. This photo shows Tanker 66, a DC-7, using an Aero Union retardant delivery system.
The Aerial Retardant Delivery Systems Program is being moved to the San Dimas Technology and Development Center. The move is expected to be completed within a year. San Dimas will be responsible for testing airtankers, developing Interagency Airtanker Board (IAB) criteria for Board approval, answering questions, and handling all other aspects of the program.

San Dimas is working with the IAB to improve the availability and dissemination of information on airtanker capabilities and history. We envision using the internet and intranet, electronic data bases, and other media to support the IAB, the field, and the airtanker industry.

For additional information about this article, contact Carl Bambarger, Aviation Program Leader:
Phone: 909-599-1253
Internet: cbambarger@fs.fed.us
Lotus Notes: Carl D Bambarger/WO/USDAFS





Interactive Computer-Based Training

San Dimas is developing the Risk Management Module for the Forest Service’s Aviation 2000 training initiative. The interactive computer-based training is intended for helicopter managers and helicopter operations specialists. The training will use several case studies to examine the whether other means of supressing a fire (such as sending an engine or firefighting crew) might be more appropriate than using aircraft. The module is currently scheduled for completion by October 2000. The initial release will be on a CD-ROM. Studies have shown that the use of interactive training methods increases retention of information from 25 to 80 percent.

For additional information about this article, contact Carl Bambarger, Aviation Program Leader:
Phone: 909-599-1253
Internet: cbambarger@fs.fed.us
Lotus Notes: Carl D Bambarger/WO/USDAFS



Video Training For Aircraft Acquisition

The Center is developing a video to help helicopter operations specialists work with law enforcement officers who need to acquire aircraft. The video will provide tips for helicopter operations specialists. It will also help law enforcement officers understand the benefits of acquiring aircraft through the Forest Service's Aviation Program. The script is planned for completion by late summer. Shooting will begin before the end of the year.

For additional information about this article, contact Carl Bambarger, Aviation Program Leader:
Phone: 909-599-1253
Internet: cbambarger@fs.fed.us
Lotus Notes: Carl D Bambarger/WO/USDAFS


Disclaimer: The Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), has developed this information for the guidance of its employees, its contractors, and its cooperating Federal and State agencies, and is not responsible for the interpretation or use of this information by anyone except its own employees. The use of trade, firm, or corporation names in this document is for the information and convenience of the reader, and does not constitute an endorsement by the Department of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. The USDA prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, and so forth) should phone USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (202) 720-5964 (voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


This page last modified September 19, 2000

Visitor since September 7, 2000