Two fatal airtanker accidents caused by inflight structural failures last year led to major reassessments of the U.S. government's fire and aviation programs. Signaling a new willingness to accept outside scrutiny of its operations, the U.S. Forest Service allowed an Aviation Week & Space Technology editor to fly on single- and multiengine airtankers, leadplanes, Aerial Supervision Module aircraft, smokejumper platforms and a large helicopter during firefighting missions last summer. ...

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