Evergreens’ Supertanker spotted on satellite photo

Tanker 979, Evergreen's 747 Supertanker
Tanker 979, Evergreen’s Supertanker, parked at Pinal Airpark near Marana, Arizona. Google satellite imagery dated November, 20, 2009.

In checking out the location on Google Maps of a 50+ acre fire that was reported by the Southwest Coordination Center on their Twitter account, I thought I would cruise farther west and see what the “aircraft boneyard” at Pinal Airpark at Marana, Arizona looked like from a satellite.

I ran across Evergreen’s 747 “Supertanker” parked on the tarmac. This was not a surprise, because we reported back as far as October 17, 2008, that Evergreen had been conducting static tests on the ground at Pinal Airpark as well as drop tests over the nearby Black Mountains. When it was deployed to San Bernardino and Israel last year, it departed both times from Pinal Airpark.

Air tankers at other locations can also be seen on satellite photos, such as those at Neptune Aviation at Missoula, MT (imagery dated April 19, 2006), but since the aircraft are much smaller than a 747, they are not quite as noticeable. On the 747 photo, not only can you read the words “Evergreen Supertanker” on the fuselage, but you can almost read the tanker number “979” on the vertical stabilizer.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.