10 Tanker Air Carrier moves to Albuquerque, begins converting a third DC-10

Tanker 910 Rapid City
Tanker 910 landing at Rapid City, April 23, 2013. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

10 Tanker Air Carrier, the company that operates the two DC-10 air tankers, has moved their corporate headquarters from Victorville, California to the airport at Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Rick Hatton, the CEO of the company, said yesterday about the relocation that occurred in September:

We surveyed a number of sites in the Rocky Mountain West, wanting to have more of a national presence versus being perceived as a “California Only” or Region 5 resource. Albuquerque topped the list due to a combination of off-season weather, business environment, and airport facilities.

The company moved into on-airport space with additional nearby offices and a warehouse. One of the facilities is a 7,600-square-foot building previously owned by Eclipse Aviation Corp, who’s business plan was to produce and sell small jets for $1 million each, a concept that failed.

In May Mr. Hatton announced that they were moving to Casper, Wyoming but by July cancelled those plans.

10 Tanker has evaluated airports that could serve as air tanker bases for their DC-10s and identified 30 that could handle the jumbo jets either with the existing infrastructure or with the addition of a temporary mobile retardant base.

DC-10 potential reload bases
DC-10 actual and potential retardant reload bases, as determined by 10 Tanker Air Carrier. The red circles represent permanent air tanker bases at which they could reload. The blue circles are airports at which they could reload from a mobile retardant base. (click to enlarge)

Mr. Hatton said their two DC-10s, Tankers 910 and 911, so far in 2013 have delivered 4.4 million gallons of retardant on 386 flights.

They have started converting a third DC-10, speculating that it will be used in 2014.


Thanks go out to Jared.

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4 thoughts on “10 Tanker Air Carrier moves to Albuquerque, begins converting a third DC-10”

  1. 10 Tanker starting on a third DC-10 tells us the customer is pleased with the results this year, and would have contracted a third one, had it been available.

    New or used military plane designs are just not competitive with half-life airliners for specialized service. Airliners are fine tuned by design and experience to provide the most economical and reliable way to move goods at the lowest possible cost, operating around the clock for weeks on end. The DC-10 refueling tanker, the KC-10A, was for many years, and maybe still is, the most reliable aircraft in the USAF inventory. It is a commercial airplane with a couple of military radios added. Even the refueling boom is controlled by an MD-80 Flight Guidance Computer.

  2. Graybeard

    I distinctly remember the “customer” was leery early in this programs life. The customer parked the DC 4 thru DC7 program due to “their age”

    So to say military plane designs are not competitive……9p
    Better ask the customer or any LMA why they are using ANY military airframe at all…..

    Why? They are the things available…

    The customer would best reminded …going forward……that airliners, by design, are NOT purpose built ship for firefighting as was any military ship out there.

    When the customer starts seeing more civilian acft on the line they are entering a new world of FAA expectations and not just some customer expectations and those associated COSTS that the customer best prepare itself for.

    The jet age is for the starry eyed customer…….for the rest of us in the aviation industry…….not so much so…

  3. The DC-10 has found it’s niche in the fire fighting arsenal. If you need mud, they certainly can deliver. Though initially skeptical, I’m glad they’re in our toolbox.

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