747 SuperTanker receives CAL FIRE contract

747 supertanker

Above: Air Tanker 944, the 747 SuperTanker, at Colorado Springs, May 4, 2016. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

Originally published on Fire Aviation at 2:23 p.m. MDT August 28, 2017.

Jim Wheeler President and CEO of Global SuperTanker said today their 747 SuperTanker has received a call when needed (CWN) contract with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). The aircraft and crew were also issued cards by CAL FIRE, meaning they passed the inspections and meet the qualifications. The U.S. Forest Service participated in the process but they do not issue cards until a USFS contract is in place.

Mr. Wheeler said the air tanker is presently at McClellan Air Field and is available.

The first time the 747 was used on a U.S. fire was on the Railbelt Complex of Fires in Alaska August 1, 2009. About a month later it assisted firefighters on the Station Fire near Los Angeles.

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. Google+

9 thoughts on “747 SuperTanker receives CAL FIRE contract”

  1. Congratulations to GST! They (GST) are at the right place, with the right agency (Cal Fire) and at the right time. Today(8/28) a heat wave, record highs are occurring. Because California is a patch work of private, State and Federal lands, if a fire should start on Federal lands in all probability it will threaten State responsibility lands, visa versa. As with the DC 10 ten years ago (same scenario) a big hurtle has been accomplished. Today on the Cal Fire information page it referenced in the form of a well done horizontal colored graph; presented the aircraft used to by the State of California to deliver fire fighters, foam and retardant. On top the 747, followed by the battle proven DC 10, etc.

  2. The picture on todays story about T944 is on the ramp at its home in Colorado Springs. The plane is currently in Sacramento.

    1. Yup. Flew over us in Mariposa and flew away real quick.

      “It’s real tight in here for 944.”

      “Amazing what you get these days when you request ‘tanker, any type'”

  3. Bill, CALFIRE first used the previous 747 on it first fire in the the Oak Glen fire in San Bernardino unit, just a week before the station fire started. I have a long range picture I took from the Hemet-Ryan Air Attack Base some where. A bit grainy, but you can the retardant coming out. I will search for the picture.

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