TUCSON, Ariz. — The Global oil tanker, the world’s largest firefighting craft, is ready for the approaching inferno season.
The Arizona Republic reports that the Boeing 747-400 series rider jet converted for firefighting recently underwent maintenance at Pinal Airpark outside Tucson. The retrofitted craft has been used to fight infernos in California, Chile, Israel and elsewhere.
The plane can dump up to 19,200 gallons (72,678 liters) of water or retardant in just six seconds and fly as low as 200 feet (61 meters) above the ground to do its work. It can be refilled in just 13 minutes.
The oil tanker proved indispensable in 2018 portion battle some of the most devastating infernos in California history.
“It’s a force multiplier,” chief pilot drop Hale aforementioned. “When you need to build containment lines fast, having that very large capacity can really help the guys out on the ground.”
Hale was a captain with now defunct Evergreen Airlines when he came up with the idea to turn a 747 into a tanker. An early version of the oil tanker was first used during a 2009 fire in Alaska that burned more than 500,000 estate (202,347 hectares).
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That first oil tanker was destroyed for salvage after Evergreen went bankrupt. Scott Olson, now vice president of maintenance for Global oil tanker, later found a new plane.
Olson and his team added four outlets to the belly of the plane that could dump 9,200 gallons (34,825 liters) of liquid, on with a sprayer tank system.
Hale calls the pressurized tank system the “world’s largest and quickest squirt gun.”
The oil tanker was deployed in Israel in 2016 and in Chile in 2017. It presently has contracts in California, Oregon and Colorado. compensation can run as much as $250,000 a day