Boeing Evergreen Supertanker for aerial firefighting, Fire fighting aircraft

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Firefighting Efforts Reach New Heights with Evergreen Supertanker

July 2, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

Global warming has brought a lot of people to their senses and made going green the latest ‘fad’. But unfortunately the reality of this phenomenon is a lot more devastating in some parts of the world. Widespread droughts and massive, devastating wildfires are posing a massive threat to properties, ecosystems, infrastructure and most importantly, people’s lives. The problem is every bit as present in the USA as it is in other countries and it is easy to see that newer, more effective methods of firefighting are necessary to help quell these raging furnaces.

Over the course of the last eighteen years, bushfires have destroyed an area roughly the size of Oregon. Usually the best way to suppress these fires are by air – but often the aircraft currently used to fight these blazes just cannot do enough on their own. During an aerial attack on a bush fire, the aircraft will dump water of fire retardant chemicals directly onto the fire front. Aerial attacks are more effective than any efforts made by fire trucks on land since aircraft are capable of carrying much larger volumes of extinguishers. Up until now smaller planes and helicopters have been able to carry approximately 1000 gallons. Larger aircraft dedicated to this purpose have carried as much as 12 000 gallons. Most of these airplanes are modified WWII aircraft and this, in itself, brings problems. Take off is more dangerous and landing is impossible with a full tank. The operating systems are antiquated and fuel consumption is high.

It is with this sort of thing in mind that Boeing has undertaken the development of an aircraft designed specifically to fight bushfires. The new Supertanker is based on the Boeing 747 and will be capable of carrying approximately seven times more than almost all other dedicated firefighting aircraft – approximately 24 000 gallons of water! The Evergreen Supertanker should not only be more effective as an aerial firefighting tool, but the folks at Evergreen feel that it should be quicker, cheaper and safer too. It will be the ultimate firefighting tool – and its 747 base platform makes it versatile since it will be able to operate, not only in the USA, but also in virtually any country in the world. That’s bad news for bush fires but great news for bush firefighters all over the world!

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