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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Air Tanker 910 Ending Decade Battling Wildland Fire

10 Tanker Air Carrier McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 N17085
10 Tanker Air Carrier Tanker 910 Retires Last Flight Saturday
A DC-10 converted to an air tanker to battle wildfires across the USA is being honored this week as it ends its decade of service.

Its final flight is set for Saturday when the plane is to fly from Castle, Calif. near Merced to Oscota Mich. for dismantling, its operator, 10 Tanker Air Carrier, announced Friday.

Tanker 910, converted to an air tanker in 2004, began battling fires California under a contract with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) in 2006, the company also said in its news release.

By the company's tally, Tanker 910 was used in more than 500 firefighting missions in California and over 750 in the U.S.

They included the Rim Fire, King Fire, Mountain Fire, Zaca Fire, Station Fire and the Happy Camp Complex Fire, the company said.

"We've flown in Nevada certainly many times," safety officer John Gould of 10 Tanker Air Carrier told the RGJ Friday.

"Most of the area in Nevada is BLM land, and I think those guys in the BLM began to understand that it's useful in the large fires in the sagebrush country," Gould said.

Tanker 910 was able to carry large amounts of fire retardant, making it useful in battling large fires, he said.

Tanker 910, an original DC-10 first-generation air tanker, has been based at Castle airport in California since last summer.

"To honor the work the airplane has done on California fires, officials at the Castle airport plan to salute the airplane as it takes off for the last time," the 10 Tanker Air Carrier company said in a statement.

The company plans to replace Tanker 910 with a newer model that will carry the same "910" designation as the plane being retired, the company added.

"That is important for people to know," Gould said of the replacement airplane entering service.

10 Tanker Air Carrier is now in its ninth firefighting season, “We have 30 places in the West where we can operate from, so that depends on where the Forest Service wants us,” Hatton said.

President and CEO Rick Hatton.and two partners originally launched 10 Tanker in 2002 to create a superior firefighting aircraft. They invested about $30 million to modernize the DC-10 and add retardant tankers to its underbelly.

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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