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Photos: Boeing 747-400 Becomes Firefighting Supertanker
KGW.com | Jun. 23, 2016

A Boeing 747-400 that once flew passengers for Japan Airlines is now going to work for a new Colorado Springs-based companies to fight wildfires.

Global SuperTanker Services, LLC has retrofitted the 1991 Everett built jet into a tanker that can drop nearly 20,000 gallons out of four nozzles in the back half of the plane.

The plane is set up to deploy water, fire retardant, firefighting gel, even dispersant on oil spills. The exact capacity is 19,200 gallons that can be dropped in one load or divided up into eight different loads. The plane can drop two different liquids at one time out of the 10 tanks inside the plane. Company executives say it can be reloaded in half an hour.

Global SuperTanker is expecting certification from the FAA in the next few weeks and hopes to have the plane ready to deploy to fires anywhere in the planet by early July. The plane could reach anywhere in the world where fires might break out in 20 hours or less.

This plane was converted by Boeing into a freighter in 2012.

Some of those now working for Global SuperTanker used to work for the now-defunct Evergreen Aviation out of Oregon, which had retrofitted a much older 747-100 with the system years ago, but that airplane has not been available for several years. Senior V.P. and program manager Bob Soelberg says Global SuperTanker won't stop at one jet and sees the market for four or five jumbo jets going forward.

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