USA — A DC-10 air tanker is scheduled to depart from Michigan on Monday morning (April 22) and make four stops on its way to Victorville, CA. One of two firefighting DC-10s in the 10 Tanker LLC fleet, Tanker 910 recently underwent heavy maintenance while in Michigan to prepare for the upcoming fire season.
The aircraft is set to arrive in Brainerd, Minnesota (BRD) Monday morning, followed by Rapid City, South Dakota (RAP) Monday afternoon. It will make final stops in Billings, Montana (BIL) Tuesday morning and Missoula, Montana (MSO) Tuesday afternoon before continuing on to Southern California. The public is welcome to view the DC-10 at each stop from outside the secured area.
The purpose of this tour is to familiarize more regional bases with the ease with which the DC-10 air tanker can be operated and its unmatched effectiveness in suppressing wildfires. We recently surveyed some 25 additional runways to ensure they are capable of handling our operation. Expanding the number of potential bases for the DC-10 during the upcoming fire season will allow the aircraft to be more optimally positioned to fight fires, said 10 Tanker CEO Rick Hatton.
The modified DC-10 holds 11,600 gallons of suppressant, or approximately four times the quantity of typical Large Air Tankers (LATs). The tank can be refilled in just 10 minutes, providing speedy turnaround and allowing the aircraft to deliver more suppressant to a fire sooner than any other air tanker in the world.
According to 10 Tanker, the two DC-10 air tankers have flown a combined 685 missions on 129 major fires in two foreign countries and 12 US states over the last seven years. The DC-10s currently operate on Call When Needed (CWN) contracts with the US Forest Service and CalFire. If properly contracted onExclusive Use contracts, 10 Tanker claims that each DC-10 could provide the same capability of four LATs for the price of less than two.
The DC-10 can perform on any type of terrain and can do anything a fixed wing tanker can do. It just delivers a significantly stronger punch to the fire and does it at half the cost-per-gallon of current or future LATs, said Captain Jack Maxey.