Discussion About Aerial Firefighting Continues
With German politicians remaining painfully aloof on the subject of installing fixed wing amphibian aerial firefighters in Germany, the discussion surrounding the idea nevertheless stays lively and interest is mounting. The recent Easter holidays serve as a stark reminder that keeping the conversation alive appears sensible, as Germany reached the highest wildfire risk-level last week and remains on high alert due to a weak winter and dry spring.
Countless cities prohibited the traditional Easter-fires and first large areas have already triggered fire departments to request help from above. Amphibious aerial firefighting aircraft are the most powerful tool as they provide the quickest reaction times, the highest range and the ability to operate from both airports and bodies of water.
Germany has consistently missed the boat for budgetary consideration on a federal level and is not currently active participant in the “rescEU” initiative, which combines European countries into powerful and effective, further – well funded – aerial firefighting partners. The two motors and initiators behind past and current efforts in Germany are Peer Forberg of Dresden Aerospace AG in collaboration with Frank Degen, of Frank Air. Degen operates Germany’s only fully certified Seaplane Base and – together with Forberg – has presented a project plan that would enable Germany to get back on par with the rest of the world.