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All different kinds of aircraft that have been used to fight fires, from tiny Air Boss tankers to the oversized Erickson S-64 Aircrane helicopter. But the biggest and baddest of them all was the Evergreen Supertanker, a modified 747 that has recently been sidelined due to financial woes. A new company plans to change that.
The plan is to strip the firefighting systems from the current Evergreen Supertanker 747-100 and install them into a Boeing 747-400BCF (Boeing Converted Freighter). The new aircraft (registration N492EV) previously flew for Evergreen International and Japan Airlines before that, but has been parked since December of 2013. The 747-400 will be a very nice upgrade for the Global SuperTanker Services crew because it has more powerful engines than the 747-100. The company claims they’ll be able to carry 19,600 gallons of retardant or water for 4,000 miles. By comparison, Tanker 10’s DC-10 tri-jet carries 11,600 gallons. That’s a big increase.
originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: chrismarco
They did. They could only use it when requested though. If the USFS didn't ask for the help from it, they couldn't just fly in with it and use it.
Of course this kind of capability doesn’t come cheap. While helicopters and smaller aircraft might cost a few thousand dollars per hour to fight fires, Supertanker comes in close to $30,000/hour. This does fuel the cost-effectiveness debate, but with Supertanker delivering at least eight times as much retardant as the typical tanker in the fleet, the math keeps it in the same dollar per gallon-delivered range as other aircraft.