Martin Mars nears end of storied career.
Wayne Coulson recalled the quakes created when the Martin Mars made a water drop. “All I could feel was the earth shaking under my feet,” said Coulson, in a telephone interview telling the story of a particular fire sparked by logging equipment on his family’s timber tracts about three decades ago. The fire had started to run, and the Martin Mars, able to scoop up to 7,200 gallons of water (just under 29 tons) in a single load, was called in to stop it. “It was like two drops and the fire was out,” Coulson recalled. “We thought we were going to burn up all of Vancouver Island that day.”Coulson, the owner of timber tracts and Coulson Flying Tankers has, since 2007, owned and operated the last two Martin Mars flying boats still in service, a service life spanning 71 years that is now drawing to a close. Government officials in Canada have opted to hire smaller, modern aircraft to fight the thickly forested region’s many forest fires, and the future for this massive tanker with a history that began with service as a U.S. Navy flying hospital will most likely be limited to static display.
The Martin Mars attacks the Motion Fire in California in July 2008. Photo courtesy of Coulson Flying Tankers.
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Gravity always wins!