Wildfire Today has learned that Evergreen International Aviation is still hoping to obtain a contract with Cal Fire for their 747 air tanker, or “Super Tanker”, as they call it. The ship has been in Marana, Arizona for the last 3-4 weeks undergoing testing which involved static tests on the ground as well as drop tests over the Black Mountains.
They have made some modifications on the aircraft and expect to get a Supplemental Type Certificate from the FAA as early as today. Evergreen also hopes to obtain the approval of the Interagency Air Tanker Board, a group of federal aviation specialists that certifies air tankers.
Evergreen has been optimistic about this approval process, in spite of the fact that their negotiations with the U.S. Forest Service fell through in September. In a best-case scenario, the 747 could be flying for Cal Fire in a few weeks.
- Martin Mars: 7,200 gallons (water, retardant, gel, or wildland foam); one is under contract with the U.S. Forest Service
- DC-10: 12,000 gallons (water or retardant); one is under contract with Cal Fire
- 747: 20,000 gallons (water or retardant); one may be under a contract later with Cal Fire