Firefighting Supertanker Successfully Tested
Billed as the world's largest, faster firefighting air tanker, the B747 Supertanker went through a successful demonstration June 11 at McClellan Airfield in McClellan, Calif. The plane is certified to fly by the Interagency Air Tanker Board.
Evergreen International Aviation (McMinnville, Ore.) has successfully tested its B747 Supertanker®, which has won certification for operation this season after receiving its interim approval letter from the Interagency Air Tanker Board. The plane is billed by Evergreen as the world's largest, fastest air tanker for firefighting and is available for the 2009 fire season and beyond, according to the company. The plane was flown in a successful demonstration June 11 at McClellan Airfield in McClellan, Calif.
The aircraft received its Supplemental Type Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration in November 2008. It can carry more than 20,000 gallons and has a response time of 600 mph, giving it more than eight times the drop capability and twice the speed of any other federal air tanker now fighting fires. Saying the Supertanker "will forever change the way wildland fires are fought," Evergreen says the plane is the first in a fleet for U.S. and international private and public agencies.
It performed well in U.S. Forest Service-administered grid tests and can be used to fight fires day or night. Evergreen, which has more than 70 years of firefighting experience and more than 1 million hours of large aircraft operating experience, has invested five years and $50 million to develop the aircraft.