Capabilities of fire-fighting air tankers
An article in the Daily Bulletin on 9/2/17, Cal Fire’s new firefighting aircraft is pricey – but worth it, officials say, describes the capabilities of a 747, the newest tanker on the Cal Fire roster. Article also described capacity of several other tankers.
Cal Fire has signed a contract for a 747. The plane was converted from passenger airliner to cargo plane in 2013, was idle in 2015, and was converted to a firefighting aircraft in 2016. Contract signed on 8/28/17.
When activated for use, the minimum charge will be $165,000 for three days. Hourly rate will be $16,500 an hour, subject to that 10 hour minimum.
The Phoschek fire-retardant, that red stuff you see dropped on a fire, runs another $2.50 or $3.50 a gallon.
Carrying capacity, in gallons:
- 19,600 – capacity of the new 747
- 18,500 – maximum load Cal Fire will carry
- 11,600 – DC-10 capacity
- 1,200 – S-2 capacity
The 747 could lay down a line of fire-retardant one mile long. Most likely it will be used to lay down 6 or more smaller lines on each run, according to the article.
On September 2, 2017 during the La Tuna Canyon fire, I saw a DC-10 overhead as it made two round trips to the fire. Also saw a four engine turbo-prop plane make three round trips. Got to see the planes so many times because I was doing yard work. After finishing in the yard, heard them fly over several more times each.