A new government might be the key to bringing the Martin Mars water bomber back into action.
The owner of the tanker, Wayne Coulson, posted a statement to Facebook late on Sunday night saying that Coulson Aviation has offered support.
“On Saturday, we offered the B.C. Government our available aircraft and have heard nothing back as of tonight,” the statement said. “We have offered two Sikorsky S-61 heavy-lift helicopters, each with a 4000 litre capacity and one S-76 command and control helicopter that was in Australia this Spring and is approved to fight fire at night with our Night Vision Goggle capability.”
According to Coulson, his company is the only commercial operator in North America with approval to fight fires at night with these helicopters.
The Martin Mars, however, wouldn’t be available to fight fires until early August.
Coulson Aviation is currently finalizing maintenance for the tanker and preparing it for guests that have booked the ‘Ultimate Flying Program.’
The program offers guests a chance in the iconic plane, which was initially a way to justify keeping it airworthy.
Now, however, the incoming NDP and Green government has Coulson hoping that the province will once again call the Martin Mars into action.
“We would love the opportunity to support our firefighters and communities in B.C. and with a new government maybe they will support B.C. companies.”
The Martin Mars water bombers can make a drop of more than 27,000 litres of water every 15 minutes.
Each drop can cover an area of up to 1.6 hectares.