A Canadian air tanker company, Conair, has announced that they have purchased a jet-powered airliner and will be converting it into a Type 1 3,000-gallon air tanker. The aircraft is an Avro RJ85, which is a variant of a British Aerospace BAe-146.
The difference is that the RJ85 has a longer fuselage and more efficient engines. The RJ85 seats up to 112 passengers as an airliner. Neptune leased a converted BAe-146 from Tronos and obtained “interim” approval from the Interagency Air Tanker Board in late 2011. In November and December it saw some limited use in Texas and California. Judging from the artist’s conception of the planned air tanker conversion, it will have an internal tank, rather than a bolt-on external tank. Conair will be doing the actual conversion at their base at Abbotsford in British Columbia, Canada, but they have not announced if it will have a conventional constant-flow gravity tank or a pressurized tank. They expect to have the new 3,000-gallon air tanker ready for the 2014 fire season.
The RJ85 that Conair purchased in December is serial number E2270. It was previously operated by Lufthansa and was delivered in December, 1995
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