The DC-10, designated as air tanker 910 and operated by 10 Tanker Air Carrier out of Victorville, California, is on contract for a second year to CalFire. It was used this weekend in northern California on some of the fires in Tehama County. Instead of reloading at Victorville as usual, it filled it’s 12,000 gallon tanks at CalFire’s air tanker base at McClellan. The company is also building a second DC-10 air tanker.
Evergreen International Aviation of Oregon expects to have their 747 air tanker under contract with the U.S. Forest Service within the next 2-5 weeks. It will carry 20,000 gallons and can cruise at mach .85, or 600 mph.
Here is a 19-second video of the DC-10 making a drop on the Humbolt fire near Chico, CA a week or two ago. Turn up the sound so you can hear the audio. The sound of those jet engines from an air tanker will be hard to get used to. When I first started fighting fire, some of the air tankers used the huge radial engines that have a sound you will hear no other place. Another big step was putting turbine engines in the smoke jumper’s DC-3; hard to get used to. Now jets dropping on fires? What’s next? Saturn 5 rockets carrying 1,000,000 gallons of retardant?