Evergreen International Aviation’s Boeing 747 Supertanker firefighting conversion is being prepared for a month-long demonstration tour covering 13 sites in 11 US states starting in April. Oregon-based Evergreen says the tour is aimed at federal, state and local firefighters and “will include coast-to-coast briefings and scheduled water-drops at 13 locations, commencing in Phoenix, Arizona and concluding in Anchorage, Alaska”. Other stops on the tour are San Bernardino and Sacramento, California; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Houston, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida; Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland; Scott AFB, Illinois; Boise, Idaho; Missoula, Montana; Moses Lake, Washington and Fairbanks, Alaska. Evergreen says studies of seven catastrophic fires in 2002 show the Supertanker could have saved the US government over $108 million in “suppression and rehabilitation costs”. The aircraft can carry up to 90,000 litres (24,000USgal) of retardant, which can be dispensed using a pressurised system for more precise targeting from higher altitudes of 400-800ft (120-240m), compared with the much lower drop-altitudes of conventional firefighting tankers. A large part of the campaign is focused on convincing authorities that the adapted 747 is inherently safe.


Source: Flight International