WATCH: Cockpit View Of Airborne Wyoming Firefighters
The 2 videos below will blow your mind.
The first is a training video. The second video puts you in the seat with a pilot that is actually fighting a fire in the mountains.
With movies like Top Gun, we are all in awe of fighter pilots and what they can do with those airplanes.
But there's another kind of maverick pilot that will astound you just as much, and they are currently at work in Wyoming doing one of the most dangerous jobs in aviation.
Firefighting pilots are currently staging out of airports like Casper/Natrona county airport where their planes, both big and small, are refueled and sent back out again for another run at one of several big fires in our region.
So how are these fire-fighting top guns trained? This first video will show you.
Only the best will make it through the course. Not just any pilot can do this job.
Pilots like these are constantly training. They have to go through yearly flight reviews and training classes to keep their certification.
That's because they do more than just fly over a fire and drop water. They fly over highly turbulent smoke and fire-filled air due to the fire, around mountains, and through canyons.
Part of their training involves what to do if something goes wrong. That includes engine failure and emergency landings if, heaven help them, they need to make a crash landing in the backcountry.
In fact, as you'll see in the video above, most of their training is about what happens in an emergency when something fails or the unexpected happens.
Here is a cockpit view of a firefighter getting frightfully low and slow over a blaze.
This is an airplane that will drop water or fire retardant at 100 or even 50 feet above the ground with a raging fire under them.
Then they need to pull up and out of there while avoiding the fire and the terrain.
Fires can be too out of reach and at times too powerful for firefighters on the ground. That's where these guys come in.
Sometimes they are reloaded with water and fire retardant on the ground.
But some of these planes just need to find a lake to skim to pick up enough water to make another run.
The plane in the video above can pick up more than 1000 gallons of water from a lake in about 12 seconds. Then it will drop it, and come back from more.
Other places like this one currently parked and being serviced in Casper Wyoming will carry a full load of retardant on this airplane weights in at 60 tons.
Fully loaded with fuel this DC-10. It weighs in at 400,000 pounds fully loaded.
It rushes to the fire at 460 miles per hour.
Each engine provides 20 thousand pounds of trust.
Imagine flying that low and slow over a fire.