On August 30 the latest DC-10 air tanker to be retrofitted, Tanker 912, joined its’ sisters, T-910 and T-911 at Castle Airport near Merced, California. It has been carded by the U.S. Forest Service and is ready to go, according to 10 Tanker Air Carrier.
A third DC-10 air tanker is expected to become available in the very near future. 10 Tanker Air Carrier has announced that the conversion of their third Very Large Air Tanker is complete and they expect to receive it at their company headquarters this week in Albuquerque. The final step will be certification by the Forest Service, after which it will be dispatched where requested by fire managers. It will be designated as Tanker 912.
The DC-10s always carry 11,600 gallons of fire retardant unless a smaller load is requested by fire managers. That is three to six times more than conventional air tankers.
(UPDATED, July 25, 2014: excerpts from SAFECOMS are at the end of the article. UPDATED September 3, 2014: a lessons learned report can be found HERE.)
One of the DC-10 Very Large Air Tankers incurred some damage to a wing July 19, 2014 while it was taxiing at the air tanker base at Moses Lake, Washington. While relocating in the loading pit area Tanker 910 struck a portable “air stair”, a structure that can be pushed up to the aircraft door. Two people on the ground were marshaling the DC-10 as it slowly moved, directing it where to go and supposedly watching for obstructions.
The wing was damaged on the front and back sides –the aileron and the slats. Rick Hatton, the President of 10 Tanker Air Carrier, said on Sunday that parts to repair the damage were en route to Moses Lake. The company’s other DC-10, Tanker 911, was also at the tanker base when the accident happened.
Mr. Hatton said retardant systems tests on their third DC-10 which is being converted now into an air tanker will begin the week of July 28. In a month or two they hope to have it fully operational. It will be designated as Tanker 912.
Below is a copy of a portion of SAFECOM 14-0491 about the incident. Click on the image to see a larger version.
Below is a copy of a portion of SAFECOM 14-0446 about the incident. Click on the image to see a larger version.: