Southern Belle- The Firey Bombshell
After coming home yesterday to bush fires blazing in the neighbouring escarpment on the coastline south of Sydney, strange aircraft circled overhead. Traffic on Lawrence Hargrave Drive was banked up, moving at snails pace with the M1 and Princes Highway closed. Anticipation was in the air as neighbours stood on the streets speculating the purpose of circling aircrafts roaring overhead. Were they passenger aircraft unable to land? What were these giant planes doing?
But I knew it then and there – these were no ordinary planes, they were a fleet of bold and brave air tankers sent in to battle the fire.
It was here that I fell in love with the creature that is Southern Belle – a converted DC-10 passenger jet which claims the title of Wolrd’s Heaviest Fighter Fighting Jet. She drops 44,000L of water, compared to the piddly water bombing helicopters in action which carry 1,500 litres, or that monstrous C-130 Hercules, dubbed Thor, clearly overcompensating for the fact he only drops 15,000L, ..none come close to the power held by our darling Southern Belle.
Southern Belle stole my heart, with travel speeds of 500kph, our heroine set off into the belly of the beast, in this, her inaugural flight. We stood in awe, staring at the skies, admiring her ferocious fighting finesse – she held the neighbourhood in a trance, and the fire at bay, as we witnessed her majesty and insurmountable fighting spirit. #LoveAtFirstFlight#SouthernBelle #MotherOfAirTankers #FireFighting #NSWRFS
“With a confirmed El-Nino weather pattern in place, we are prepared for what could be a difficult fire season,” said RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons when the tankers were unveiled on October 1, the first day of the official bushfire season.” – Sydney Morning Herald Dec 12. 2015. Read more at : http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/bushfire-in-darkes-forest-closes-princes-highway-between-helensburgh-and-bulli-tops-20151211-glltlc.html