Minnesota DNR begins using Fireboss air tankers

Air Tractor 802-F. Air Tractor photo.

Minnesota’s conversion to the Air Tractor 802F Fireboss appears to be complete. The state’s Department of Natural Resources listed their two CL-215 amphibious water scooping air tankers for sale on their auction site a few months ago, saying they had become too costly and complex to maintain.

Their new fleet consists of four leased Air Tractor 802F Fire Boss amphibious air tankers operated by Aero Spray of Appleton, Minnesota and two other Single Engine Air Tankers. The Texas-made AT 802Fs equipped with Wipaire floats made in Minnesota can scoop about 800 gallons of water in 12-15 seconds and be off the water and on its way again to a fire in as few as 20-30 seconds.

On April 2 the Minnesota Fire Bosses and the two other SEATs took action on 9 fires in the state.


8 thoughts on “Minnesota DNR begins using Fireboss air tankers”

  1. Air Tractors are highly efficient when used at the right time and very economical compared to other firefighting aircrafts.

    1. If the fire is a short distance away maybe. In the grand scheme of things not really. The 10 and other large tankers are much more cost effective when the fire needs retardant

      1. Now that there is a pause in the action of the past 2 weeks maybe some of the MN folks (ground and aviation) can comment on the effectiveness of the Fireboss vs the CL-215.

        1. As an Air tactical Group Supervisor with the state of MN and having worked with the CL-215’s over the past 15 years and the Fireboss’s this year I have to say I have been very impressed with the ability of our newly employeed Firebosses. The flexibility the Fireboss exhibits and the willingness of the pilots employed by Aero Spray to work with us have made our conversion to the Fireboss complete and very enjoyable.
          We have incorporated FireIce gel into our delivery system and have been extremely pleased with that also.
          The Fireboss is a tool in our box, we also had the 415, T7(Neptune, great guys)T10 and T131 here.
          Our season is shutting down with 3″ of rain over the last week but we are looking forward to continued success with the fireboss.

    1. Perhaps not while flying, but it’s the same pilots telling the same tall tales the rest of the time. So, they mostly sound the same.

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