Over a large wildland fire, the average bystander sees a flurry of planes and helicopters flying and buzzing overhead in a seemingly unorganized fashion. Yet there is a small plane that seems to be present right before a long stream of reddish-orange fire retardant falls from a fixed-wing aircraft. That plane is called the lead plane.
A lead plane, a Beechcraft King Air CG90, has been strategically stationed at the Air Tanker Base at the San Bernardino International Airport. It has been deployed at many of the recent wildland fires in the region. This plane had a role during the Easton and Apple fires.
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