...Pilots "Re-familiarized" With Dromader Operations...

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During its investigations of the accidents, NTSB staff found that some Dromader pilots were "flying the drop run at an airspeed that was slower than the recommended airspeed for a fire retardant drop." The BLM's two-day stand down was intended to allow pilots to "re-familiarize themselves with the operational specifications of the airplane." The stand down ended Monday morning and all the planes are now available to fight fires. The Dromaders started life as Polish crop-dusters and have been modified to drop up to 400 gallons of retardant on fires. The BLM and Forest Service have increased the number of SEATs under contract to 79 because of the grounding of the large air tankers in early May. Federal officials have been widely quoted as saying the converted crop-dusters are more accurate, agile and able to operate from small fields and that those advantages compensate for the sheer size (3,000 gallons) of the drops made from the big planes.