The first drops from the 737 air tanker

air tanker 137 737 fire

Above: One of the first test drops by a 737 air tanker, Coulson’s T-137. Photo by Jeremy Ulloa.

On July 13 the 737 that Coulson Aviation has been converting into an air tanker made its first drops. In this case it was a series of water drops by Tanker 137 while flying out of San Bernardino, California.

Britt Coulson said, “The 4,000 USG RADS-XXL/2 performed perfectly as did the airplane. Our flight crew couldn’t have been happier with the handling characteristics and our split tank worked as designed with no CG shift during the drop.”

Next week they will finish flight testing with the FAA, and will soon begin static tests of the tank system. They are working with the Forest Service to schedule the grid test.

Mr. Coulson expects Tanker 137 will be ready to fight fire in August.

air tanker 137 737 fire
T-137. Photo by Jeremy Ulloa.
air tanker 137 737 fire
One of the first test drops by a 737 air tanker, Coulson’s T-137. Photo by Britt Coulson..

10 thoughts on “The first drops from the 737 air tanker”

  1. What model/derivitive of the venerable B-737 is this, a 3 or 400 model with the new gee-whiz winglets? If anyone knows? Don in ” Orygun”

    1. And that is how it should be..too many tankers are over capacitated. By carrying a manageable load you build in a huge safety factor. Leaves more room for extended fuel reserves. These Ba146’s and Rj’s are operating right on their load limits. Full load and no fuel reserves..I see them always having to add fuel every time they get a load. Max load equates to poor handling over the drop zone.
      I think that this company has chosen a platform that will serve the industry well.

      1. The BAe do not need to fuel every load, it depends on the dispatch distance. They do not operate with minimal fuel reserves either. The contract stipulates 2.5 hours of fuel to start the day. They do operate at or near their max weight limits…just like they did time in and time out for their previous airline owners.

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