We are counting down the hours to the Miramar Air Show, which opens this Friday and runs through Sunday. Why? Because our firefighting Aircrane, SkyMaverick, will be part of the daily lineup of performance.
Be prepared to be impressed with the wall of water it will drop.
The Aircrane has the capacity to carry 2,650 gallons of water – equivalent to five fire engines – and can be airborne within 15 minutes. Stationed at Gillespie Field in El Cajon, the Aircrane is available for dispatch by CAL FIRE year-round to help fight fires.
The Aircrane is often dispatched to supplement CAL FIRE and other local firefighting agencies’ aerial and ground firefighting capabilities when there is a significant risk of a small fire becoming a large fire. This year, SkyMaverick has already helped put out 15 fires, including this week’s Dehesa Fire, which burned about 200 acres, threatened homes and led to evacuations.
Year to date, the Aircrane has dropped more than 144,000 gallons of water. On the Dehesa Fire alone, it made 14 drops totaling 13,000 gallons. Due to the topography, wind and dried vegetation in the Dehesa area, the Dehesa Fire had the potential to spread rapidly. At one point, six to eight aircraft battled the fire, along with a few dozen fire engines, hand crews and water tenders.
This is the 10th year SDG&E has contracted for the Aircrane to be stationed in our region to protect local communities. Since 2018, the Aircrane has been stationed here year-round. Previously, it was stationed here for four months of the year – August through November. With climate change fueling wildfires year-round in California, it has become increasingly critical for fire agencies to have robust initial aerial attack capabilities to snuff out fires before they get out of control.
Aircrane Show Times
Here are the showtimes for the Aircrane: 10:30 a.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. If you snap a photo of SkyMaverick at the Air Show, please share it on Twitter and tag him. His handle is @SkyMaverickSDGE.