Want to help the DC-10 tankers survive?

November 30, 2012 by Mike Collins

The two former DC-10 airliners modified for use as aerial firefighters by 10 Tanker Air Carrier (see “The New Rainmaker,” May 2012 AOPA Pilot) have seen a good bit of use during this year’s busy wildfire season–several of you have mentioned personally seeing the distinctive orange-and-white jumbo jets at low levels, battling blazes in the western states. (If you haven’t seen the “10″ in action, you can catch the video on AOPA Live.)

However, the company has been unable to secure an exclusive-use contract from the U.S. Forest Service, which it says is required for continued operation of the aircraft. There were reports during the summer that absent such a contract, the company might ground the aircraft before the end of the year. Now, the company is calling on supporters–through its Facebook page and an email campaign–to sign a petition to the Forest Service supporting use of the aircraft.

 The Forest Service is assessing which aircraft it will use to fight forest fires in the future, the company said. “This is our chance to persuade the USFS of the DC-10s’ unique ability to contain forest fires. But we need your help to show USFS Chief Tom Tidwell that we have widespread support.” The efficiency of the flying supertankers certainly is impressive–one can cover about the same amount of ground as four C-130s.

You can learn more, and sign the petition, by visiting this website. I was impressed by what I saw, both during my visit to 10 Tanker and on news videos. They’ve got my support.

2 Responses to “Want to help the DC-10 tankers survive?”

  1. Deltamike197 Says:

    I’m as big a fan of all things aviation as anyone but……our country is BROKE, and its is likely to get worse before it gets better (if it does). If the forest service does NOT need these aircraft then they should NOT be petitioned to take them. I read the AOPA article, admire the guys that had the idea and, that get the joy of flying them. But, if the country does not have a pressing need for them, then I, as a taxpayer, should not be peitioned to accept them or be obligated to pay for them!!

  2. ed K Says:

    with all things Government, common sense and logic are not always involved. I agree that we should not jump on the band wagon to petition DC 10 ‘s be used if they are not needed. But I suspect they are needed, and the 747 tanker as well. how many years de we listen to report after report of un contained wild fires. You don’t fight a house fire with a dixie cup, I say jump on the small fire with a big bucket. A few big tankers will replace MANY small tankers. I think we should petition for more consideration for large tankers, and justification by the forest service if they turn them down. For my part, I don’t want to hear a 4 word explanation “we don’t need them”, I want a detailed explanation that’s filled with common sense. Keep in mind, you dont do an annual and a pre flight on the big birds in 10 hours. They are either ready for a fire season, or they wont be available the whole fire season.

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