The Martin Mars, very large air tanker, will be making a demonstration drop at the Olympics today. At 1 p.m. it will fly over the city of Vancouver and drop up to 7,200 gallons of water over Coal Harbour near the Olympic rings. That harbor and its sea plane base is what you see in the background occasionally when Brian Williams and other NBC commentators are broadcasting from the Olympics. The best viewing area will be Harbour Green Park, at the foot of Bute Street downtown.
I am not certain what an air tanker has to do with the Olympics, but it should be fun to watch regardless. It is unlikely that NBC will include the demonstration in their Olympic coverage, but I could be wrong, because Brian Williams is an aviation buff. The other day he and another talking head were commenting on a sea plane that was taking off during their broadcast, and Williams said it was a Twin Otter.
Here is some airtankerporn, a file photo of the Martin Mars taken by Steve Bosch of the Vancouver Sun. It is one of the best photos of the aircraft I have seen.
Here is a video of the Martin Mars at Vancouver on January 16 (edit: in 2009). It was doing a demonstration during a loggers convention, perhaps a dry wet run for the Olympics demonstration. Turn up the sound if you play it. There’s nothing like the sound of those 4 huge radial engines. At least I think they are radials.
UPDATE: Feb. 24, 2010
We posted a great video of the Martin Mars dodging skyscrapers and dropping a load of water in Vancouver on February 23, 2010.