The state of Victoria in Australia has decided to test the effectiveness of a very large air tanker during their current bushfire season. The Victorian Government and the Country Fire Authority have contracted with 10 Tanker Air Carrier to station one of their DC-10 air tankers at the Avalon Airport near Melbourne until March.
The DC-10 arrived in Melbourne on December 14 and is expected to be ready for missions as early as Christmas or perhaps the first part of January.
It will cost about $10 million to lease and operate the aircraft until March, with an option to extend the lease if needed.
Captain John Maxey, one of the pilots, was quoted as telling one of the Australian reporters in his Oklahoma drawl, “It works pretty goddamned good. You can quote me on that.”
CalFire has previously contracted for the DC-10 for three fire seasons, from 2007 through 2009. 10 Tanker Air Carrier has a total of two DC-10s that have been retrofitted as “very large air tankers”, which can carry up to 12,000 gallons.