Modeling Airtanker Flight Distance between Concurrent Fires: The Development and Use of Statistical Distribution Parameters

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Airtankers, while actively engaging in initial attack, are sometimes reassigned and flown directly to another randomly occurring initial attack fire. Airtanker system planning that means to incorporate this fire-to-fire transfer activity needs information about the flight distance between these randomly located fires. Moments of the distance distribution, derived in this article, can be used to characterize and evaluate fire-to-fire airtanker dispatch within and between protection areas. A hypothetical example illustrates how a proposed change in an airtanker protection zone can affect not only airbase-to-fire flight distance but also fire-to-fire flight distance. In this example, the expected airbase-to-fire distance and the expected total transfer-flight distance are both significantly reduced, but at the same time, somewhat unexpectedly, the average fire-to-fire flight distance actually increases. The discovery and quantification of such unanticipated results can potentially influence airtanker system design. These key system design parameters can now be obtained through the exceedingly fast and accurate analytical methods presented here.

Keywords: expected distance; operations research; polygonal regions; transportation planning

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2008

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