Quote Originally Posted by John
Petros is Col. Kotoulas replacement in Kefalonia.
Well, judging by your witness report, he's a worthy replacement!

Quote Originally Posted by John
As for the Russian planes, if memory serves me right (and there is no guarantee that it does any more), the Russian planes have a lot of other issues apart from being too big for the Greek territory. Their radios are not compatible with the frequencies used by the Greek Airforce or the Greek Fire Brigade. I think I've seen somewhere a picture of a Russian plane which was operating here in the past, which had a handheld VHF radio crudely attached to the dashboard, in order to communicate with the other planes etc.
Those planes were 'loaned' to us for the 'fire season' (is that a sad term, or what?), complete with Russian crews - some cynics said that they were sent here as a combined demonstration/advertisement.

These Russian beasts do have one undeniable advantage: they are jet-powered, so the speed they can fly (while in transit) is comparable to a Boeing's, which means that they could be deployed e.g. in Crete in the morning and in Kefalonia in the afternoon, something that no helicopter, PZL or Canad... er, Bombardier can do. I'm sure fitting the right radio equipment wouldn't be a problem, and to be fair, there are other HAF planes that have very serious deficiencies in radio/navigation gear (T-2C Buckeyes come to mind). Our AF also didn't like that the planes have Russian engines, but in any case, we're kinda strapped for cash at the moment...

Incidentally, the PZLs used by our airforce are really just crop-dusting planes... the pilots simply have an option of dumping their entire load at once, and that's what they're doing, to use them as fire-fighters. Which says a bit more about the skill of these pilots.