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Tue, 28 Mar '06
Evergreen International Aviation has announced that its firefighting 747 Supertanker will visit 11 states during a month-long, nationwide tour to demonstrate the capabilities of the world’s largest firefighting aircraft to wildland firefighters at the federal, state and local levels. Details for each demonstration visit are available on Evergreen Aviation’s website.
Beginning in April, the tour will include coast-to-coast briefings and scheduled water drops at 13 locations, commencing in Phoenix, Ariz. (IWA) and concluding in Anchorage, Alaska (ANC).
“The Supertanker tour comes at a time when firefighting capabilities are increasingly important for the U.S. Forest Service and the states that face escalating risks from forest fires,” said Sam White, Evergreen’s Vice President in Washington, DC. “We believe the Supertanker, a modified 747-200 with more than 20,000 gallons of tank space, offers exceptional drop capabilities and safety standards. The Supertanker is a multi-mission aircraft that is capable of supporting firefighting, weather modification, oil spill response, and biochemical decontamination emergency response missions worldwide.”
The multi-role 747 Supertanker is the largest tanker aircraft available today. It has more than seven times the drop capability of a P3, and its patent-pending pressurized system has the capability to disperse retardant at high pressure for an overwhelming response, or drop retardant at the speed of falling rain in single or several segmented drops. It also offers a significant value for American taxpayers, saving homes, lives and jobs. Evergreen believes its Supertanker will also save the U.S. government hundreds of millions of dollars in fire suppression and rehabilitation costs every year.
“The U.S. Forest Service is encouraging the aviation industry to look at new firefighting technologies that are more effective and create safer conditions for firefighters on the ground,” said Marc Rounsaville, Deputy Director of Fire and Aviation Management for the Forest Service. “The Forest Service will continue to evaluate advanced firefighting technologies and we will continue to challenge industry to develop safer and more effective tools that offer better value for the taxpayer.”
Water drops at locations on the tour are planned at an altitude of 400-800 feet, which allows for a “falling rain drop” that not only provides maximum benefits for fire suppression but is also environmentally friendly and safe for fire fighters.
Evergreen International Aviation, which has more than 70 years of firefighting experience and nearly one million hours of 747 operating experience, has invested three years and more than $40 million of its own funding to develop this next generation of firefighting aircraft.
“The Forest Service has challenged us to prove that the Supertanker will be a safe and effective firefighting tool, and we have accepted their challenge,” said White. “We are honored to offer the Supertanker to federal and state organizations that are working tirelessly to protect Americans from the threat of fire and other catastrophic events.”