Fires are becoming more frequent and destructive. Just ten days without rain and a lightning to trigger the environmental catastrophe. The one who has been battering the province of Alberta (Canada) for a week is also putting in evidence the limited resources to contain them. A company in the United States now resurrects the mythical jumbo as a powerful combat tool for forest services.
The Spirit of John Muir, operated by Global SuperTanker Services, successfully held its first flight demonstration at the Colorado Springs Airport in the midst of great excitement. It uses the structure of the Boeing 747-400. As Jim Wheeler, president of the company, points out, it is more modern than the jumbo that transports President Barack Obama and in three hours can reach any point on the US West Coast.
This four-engine manufactured by Boeing has an autonomy of 13 hours of flight, enough to make intercontinental flights. With a scale to recharge fuel can reach any part of the globe in about 20 hours of flight. The tanks that it equips in the interior have capacity for 75.000 liters of liquid to box the fire. With its artificial rain makes the work of five tankers C130.
The Global SuperTanker 944 thus doubles the DC 10, the largest aircraft currently operating in firefighting. "It's going to be increasingly necessary to use large appliances to control the sources that originates the fire," augurs Wheeler, a logistics expert. Cliff Hale, the chief pilot, is the inventor of the system, which works with two separate lines to be able to dump water at different points on the same flight.
The tanks can be recharged with water and pressurized air in just 35 minutes, but will depend on the pressure in the area where it recharges. The aircraft will complete the certification process by the end of June, which could start operating this summer. "There is a lot of interest in this type of aircraft," insists Wheeler. The team it manages combines 260 years of experience in fire fighting and in the aviation sector.