Saturday, July 01, 2017

Largest firefighting plane sitting unused in Arizona Goodwin fire over US Forest Service delay

The largest firefighting airtanker in the world cannot help contain the raging wildfire in Arizona because it hasn't been certified by the U.S. Forest Service. The Boeing 747-400 Supertanker can carry around 19,200 gallons of water, nearly twice the capacity of the DC-10 aircraft currently fighting the Goodwin fire scorching the Prescott National Forest in central Arizona, about 100 miles north of Phoenix. "The aircraft works just like a big Super Soaker … the retardant is expelled by air pressure — it's not gravity," said Bob Soelberg, the senior vice president of Global SuperTanker Services, which owns the 747 Supertanker. The aircraft is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and an older model was certified by the U.S. Forest Service. The new model, which uses the same tank system as the old plane, has had to undergo another Forest Service certification. Until that happens, the state of Arizona would not receive federal reimbursement for contracting the plane, and the plane cannot be flown in airspace with other Forest Service aircraft in the area...more

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