Recently, Flight Training International had the privilege of training the crew of the new B747-400 Global SuperTanker – the largest, fastest, and longest-range aerial firefighting asset in the world!
The Global SuperTanker, a converted Boeing 747-400 aircraft, joins the world’s fleet of aerial firefighting tankers. It is the newest VLAT (Very Large Air Tanker) in operation, but with almost twice the capacity of the next largest aerial tanker.
On May 5, 2016, the Global SuperTanker Spirit of John Muir celebrated its official homecoming in Colorado Springs. The Spirit of John Muir dazzled nearly 300 guests with a low flyby, at just 400 feet, and a demonstration drop of nearly 10,000 gallons of water. The converted Boeing 747-400, will be available to assist the U.S. Forest Service and emergency responders across the country fight the ever-growing threat of wildfires.
2015 was one of the most devastating wildfire seasons in American history, with more than 10 million acres of land burned and billions of dollars of damage inflicted on homes and property. The U.S. Forest Service has warned that 2016 could be even worse. Already serious wildfires have already broken out this year in Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kansas, burning over 400,000 acres and threatening the lives, livelihoods, and homes of millions. As the U.S. Forest Service and state emergency responders across the nation continue their hazardous and exemplary work, they can soon look forward to mobilizing a powerful new tool in their arsenal: the Global SuperTanker Spirit of John Muir.
The SuperTanker operates without any speed, altitude or operational restriction and provides a level of safety to ground personnel, property and natural resources unmatched by any other tanker, civilian or military. The exceptional and superior performance of the SuperTanker is such that it departs 200,000+ pounds below maximum allowable gross weight and can land immediately without dumping fuel or retardant if the operation is cancelled.
Its dash speed of nearly 600 mph allows it to be almost anywhere in the U.S. in approximately 2.5 hours, avoiding potential traffic and ramp congestion at smaller retardant bases. Operating from its base in Colorado springs, the SuperTanker can reach virtually any point in North America in approximately 4.5 hours, ready to discharge its full load of almost 20,000 gallons of retardant before landing.
With true Global reach, the SuperTanker can be almost anywhere in the world in under 20 hours, including fuel stops, if necessary. Configured with 14 first class seats and 2 bunks for the support staff and additional flight crew, the SuperTanker arrives ready to begin previously coordinated flight operations with the host agency.