Tanker 910 is retiring

10 Tanker Air Carrier is retiring one of their three DC-10 air tankers, Tanker 910, the first DC-10 to be converted.

Its final flight after serving for 10 years was this Saturday when it flew from Castle Airport, 910’s base since last summer, to Oscota Michigan for dismantling. To honor the work the airplane has done on California fires, officials at Castle saluted the airplane as it took off for the last time.

The aircraft was converted to an air tanker in 2004, and began working in California under a CAL FIRE contract in 2006. Since that time Tanker 910 has dropped on over 500 fire missions in California, and over 750 across the country. It has been joined by two other converted DC-10s, with the third one being introduced to the fleet on August 30.

10 Tanker Air Carrier will replace Tanker 910 with a newer air frame that will carry the same “910” designation as the plane being retired this fall. The work on the replacement began in early September and now the aircraft is going through a “C” check at Kalitta Air in Oscoda, Michigan.

10 Tanker expects to have Tanker 910 Version 2.0 ready to go by April, 2015.

Tanker 910 DC-10
Air tankers 911, 912, and 910 (L to R) at Castle Airport near Merced, California, August 30, 2014. (click to enlarge)

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6 thoughts on “Tanker 910 is retiring”

  1. It is refreshing to see an airtanker replaced on it’s terms and not after an unfortunate incident.

    Kudos to 10Tanker!

  2. Think so Bean?

    Just asking

    Like to think Hatton and crew knew the life limits imposed not just by Operational Loads Monitoring but by Boeing / McDonnell – Douglas and its airframe life

    But you and I already know putting a transport category aircraft with maybe already 40 years on it, and putting it through the non standard paces

    This would eventually be the case

    1. Leo,

      I kinda think so … its just a program to keep honest people honest.
      With no monitoring, theres no stress-strain data. Fatigue life has to be estimated by the engineers. Better to work with real data than estimates.

      here’s a USFS document that outlines the program:
      The large air tankers were pri 1 in the program that started in 2010. The document is a long one but a good read. Looks like they monitor everything except how many times the head is flushed.

  3. 910 is a DC10-10 with CF6-6, about 40K thrust each.

    911 and 912 are DC10-30 with longer wings and CF6-50, 52K thrust.

    910 did a great job, but the -30s give lots more margin. You can see the difference in takeoff performance. The structure to support the center landing gear of the -30 is a natural for supporting the canoe, so the -30 has to be easier to convert.

    1. Graybeard is on the right track. Ten Tanker always planned to retire 910 after this past season. Parts availability for the older model was a larger factor.

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