747 SuperTanker protects a village and later 5 firefighters

Chile fires 747 supertanker

This article originally appeared on Wildfire Today.

Above: A fire is approaching Llico, a small village near the Pacific Ocean about 130 air miles southwest of Santiago, Chile.

The 747 Supertanker had a productive day Friday in Chile. They completed four missions and were taxiing to take off on another when the lead plane pilot called saying smoke had degraded visibility making another drop impossible.

Elena Carretero, who has been associated with the flight crew, said one of the drops in the morning helped protect the lives of five firefighters who were in imminent threat of being overrun by a fire.

747 Supertanker Chile
At middle-left is Laguna de Torca. Beyond it is the village of Llico, and just beyond the village is the fire. This is looking southwest toward the Pacific Ocean.

All of these photos were taken from the 747 by the drop system operator, Don Paulsen. The images of the fire were shot just before 6 p.m. local time on Friday near Llico, a small village near the Pacific coast about 130 air miles (209 km) southwest of Santiago, Chile (map). Elena told us the village was in danger, like the five firefighters, of being overrun by the fire until the SuperTanker used all 19,200 gallons of water to make one long drop between the fire and the village, saving it.

747 Supertanker Chile Llico
The village of Llico being threatened by the fire.
747 Supertanker Chile
Structures in Llico can be seen at the bottom of the photo.

747 Supertanker Chile
The fire approaches Llico.

747 Supertanker Chile 747 Supertanker Chile


747 Supertanker Chile
Pilots (L to R) Tom Parsons & Marcos Valdez
747 Supertanker Chile
At bottom-right in the photo is the panel that monitors and controls the retardant (or water) delivery system. It is behind the two pilots on the right side of the cockpit and is operated by a third crewperson. The coverage level (in gallons per 100 square feet) and amount of retardant dropped can be selected.

Fire Aviation has more information about the SuperTanker’s mission in Chile.

10 thoughts on “747 SuperTanker protects a village and later 5 firefighters”

  1. Looks like a good location for some scoopers. A couple of 415’s would put an end to what fire you can see in the picture pretty quick.

  2. Thank you, for your tremendous help.
    It’s very sad to see your Country on flames, hope this end soon.

  3. Thanks a lot for lend us the super supertanker we are blessed for Mrs Lucy Avilés and husband for the coperation for our country, support from Chile

  4. Estimado equipo del super tanker: soy un chileno mas,agradecido de su gran profesionalismo,los admiro con micha emoción. Han hecho un gran trabajo y creo que darles las gracias es poco. Larga vida para todo el equipo y mucha suerte con el trabajo. Un tremendo abrazo.

  5. When I worked for Firetrol I loaded B-17’s and B-24’S. we conducted drop tests at Marana as well. Then I saw the C-130 and conducted drop tests. This made the 2000 gallon drop of B-17 looks small. I’ve seen other retafrdent aircrafts as well’ but the 747 is just phonamial. I would love to see this one up close and personal. 20,000 gallons..this is a beauty.

  6. We live in Colorado and many of us just found out there is a maximum of 5,000 Gallons that can be dropped on fires? The capability of this tanker is obviously greater. SO, who is really fighting this, more information would be appreciated.

  7. Our government is pure stupid for not approving that 747 air tanker immediately. From what I’ve learned it is a winner in every sense of the word. Having worked on fires in Oregon for a number of years as both fixed wing and helicopters I would certainly like to see a few of these stationed in Oregon. A few passes by those babies would protect millions and millions of assets and timber. And lives!

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