Tanker 910 at Santa Maria

Tanker 910 at Santa Maria air tanker base
Tanker 910 at Santa Maria air tanker base July 28, 2013, supporting the Aspen Fire. Photo by Jim Kunkle. (click to enlarge)

Jim Kunkle sent us this photo of a DC-10 air tanker, T-910, making its first visit to the Santa Maria Air Tanker Base while supporting the Aspen Fire south of Yosemite National Park in California. Thanks Jim.

UPDATE July 30: The Santa Maria Times has an article about the aircraft.

Photos of helicopters working the Aspen Fire.

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12 thoughts on “Tanker 910 at Santa Maria”

  1. Why didn’t they work out of Fresno? Seems like it would have been quicker turns.

    1. My guess is the runway weight limits. SMX is 400,000 for dual-tandum gear and FAT is 250,000.

      1. I was thinking the same thing but the north runway 29R/11L is currently closed for construction.

      2. Tim,

        Don’t they get waivers for operations at certain airports? At least that is what I’ve heard. Weren’t the DC-10s working out of Pueblo earlier this year? That runway also has a dual-tandem gear weight rating of 250K. So is that one of those instances where PUB has a waiver but FAT does not? Sorry for all the questions, I’m just nerdy that way. 😉

        1. There are waivers but it depends on the airport. there’s no published overweight agreement with Fresno. However, there’s no agreement with Pueblo either, so I’m not sure what’s up.

  2. You know, MR Hatton has a way with getting this aircraft around.

    Just MAYBE the USFS all of a sudden is loving him.

    Maybe it is:
    A GREAT sense of Public Affairs
    A good relationship with the USFS andbecause the USFS all of a sudden realize they are the game in town until all others meet contract for “Next Gen.”
    Spelled out in the A/FD
    Prior uses as an airtanker base
    Jet fuel prices
    Availability of other aircraft maintenance on field
    tow bars and available support equipment for heavy aircraft and MAYBE just MAYBE some of OMNI’s old stomping grounds…..
    Hangar facilities
    Weights of tandem gear on pavement

    Amongst other things…….USFS ATBM’s can they speak up? sure all of herewhave at least covered 90 per cent what 10 Tanker LLC had in mind….

  3. I forgot to mention there’s a beach…that might have something to do with it. 😉

  4. Still sounds like a lot of trouble for one aircraft, having to decide where it can fly from. If it has to fly further with slower turn around times is it as efficient as claimed. Have portable bases been set up for one contractor and at what cost. Finally I am sure the people of Wyoming are not happy about broken promises, I wonder If thier politicians were left in the cold. Like Bill says I am sure Neptune is watching as Tanker 10 has done grid testing in the last week
    and is ready to go.

  5. KCBS2 and sister KCAL9 had dramatic videos of 2 drops by 10 Tanker on the Falls fire just south of Lake Elsinore today. Aerial view showed it laying a heavy line between a ‘burb and the fast approaching fire front maybe less than 1/4 mile upwind.

    Ground video showed it coming through the edge of the smoke at low level. It looked to be Tanker 910. Later aerial views showed the flames stalling and dying at the edge of the retardant. The commentators gave it high praise for saving the homes. (Dunno if it can be seen on the KCBS site, but I have it on my dvr.)

  6. Rich is incorrect with respect to the Fresno Airbase. It has operated continuously since CDF moved out. The Sierra N.F. has always maintained the facility under a 30 year lease agreement. and is the primary leaseholder on that portion of the facility. It maintains a helitanker at the base along with an Aero Commander 690 air attack platform that responds to Forest Service as well as CDF incidents within its I.A. zone. The base could accommodate a DC10 but the airport department would not allow it due to some limitation with weight bearing somewhere on the taxi way and unfortunately the airport department wants $5,000 a day to use its cargo area just down from the base to accommodate the aircraft .UPS and FedEx 757’s routinely use the area. C-141’s have used the base to off load military support equipment at Fresno.
    The base has pumped thousands of gallons on retardant on the Aspen Incident, had 2 Bravo units and one Lead at the base as well as the LP air attack as relief. at the facility. The base has accommodated MAFFS units, is a mobilization point for crews to be picked up by the NIFC Jet as well as large transport aircraft that fly in crews from the east. So lets get is straight Fresno is still operational.

  7. $5K a day for a cargo area? Pretty standard at most airports with the major mover of freight…..somebody has to pay for the bituminous or concrete and since the bigger movers freight and and military airlift is in that biz and keeping an airport area alive……..

    Wildland fire aviation, whether or not it pumps 1 gallon or 1 million gallons, probably does not come under the / a major mover in its ability to pay its fair share of the occupancy on an airfield.

    If, indeed, the Sierra NF is the primary leaseholder……then it ought to come up with the dinero to put the ’10 on the ramp. It should be able to shoulder the necessary upgrades needed to accommodate the ’10!!

    Cost of doin bidnesss!!

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