World’s Largest Aircraft Tanker Approved For Wildland Fires

  World’s Largest Aircraft Tanker Approved For Wildland Fires

25 March 2009

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USA — The world’s largest aircraft tanker has received approval to fight fires. As Kristian Foden-Vencil reports the plane is built by Oregon-based Evergreen International.

Evergreen’s B747 is basically a second-hand jumbo jet that’s been retrofitted to carry 20-thousand gallons of water.

It has two or three times the capacity of other air tankers and can reach a fire at 600 miles an hour.

Evergreen spokesman, Jim Baines, says it’ll douse a fire like nothing before.

Jim Baines: “It’s not like a typical drop that they do right now, which comes down in a big clump. Picture an aerosol effect. It’s coming down like a hard rain. And It’s not going to do any damage to anybody on the ground, any structures. And that’s what you’re trying to achieve to get an even coverage in the vegetation.”

Current firefighting aircraft tend to be World War II era planes. They’re often at maximum capacity and showing signs of age.

Baines says Evergreen doesn’t have any supertanker orders yet. But the federal government and states are anxious to see how it performs when this year’s fire season starts.

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