Evergreen’s Supertanker’s payload capacity is over 20,000
Evergreen International Aviation’s B747 Supertanker is available to assist firefighting agencies after winning certification for operation this year.
Evergreen said it recently received an interim approval letter from the federal Interagency Airtanker Board after getting a supplemental type certificate for the aircraft from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in November 2008.
The company described the certification as unique because the supertanker has more than eight times the drop capability of other firefighting aircraft. Evergreen predicted it will change the way wildland fires are fought. The plane is the first of a fleet designed to accommodate the needs of U.S. and international public and private agencies.
During U.S. Forest Service administered grid tests, Evergreen said the aircraft posted impressive results from high, medium and low coverage levels.
The supertanker can carry more than 20,000 gallons and can fly at 600 mph., twice the speed of any other federal air tanker currently fighting fires, the company said. Its patented pressurized system has the capability to disperse at high pressure for an overwhelming response or disperse at the speed of falling rain in single or segmented drops.
The pressurized system also allows for drops from higher altitudes, creating a significant safety buffer, according to Evergreen, and enabling the Supertanker to fight fires day and night.
The company estimated the supertanker could save the U.S. government billions of dollars annually in fire suppression, tourism and rehabilitation costs, as well as natural resource losses.
Evergreen International Aviation, headquartered in McMinnville, Ore., said it invested five years and $50 million to develop what it termed the next generation of firefighting aircraft.