Tanker 910, one of three DC-10’s operated by 10 Tanker Air Carrier, began the long trip back from Australia this March to it’s home base in Albuquerque New Mexico.
The tanker and crew had just finished their second year on a contract with the Rural Fire Service of New South Wales, and were heading back to North America to prepare for the fire season there. The DC-10 is the latest in a growing arsenal of aviation resources employed by firefighting organizations in Australia.
Single Engine Airtankers (SEATS) have been a staple there for many years, as have small, medium and large helicopters. Only within the last few years have the States of Victoria and New South Wales begun to evaluate the effectiveness of Large Airtankers, and indications from agency Facebook posts are that the effectiveness of LATs are being noticed.
During the 2016/2017 fire season Tanker 910 flew over 50 missions in New South Wales. Those numbers are up slightly from the 2015/2016 fire season, where 910 flew 43 missions in three different Australian states; New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Rick Hatton, President and CEO of 10 Tanker Air Carrier, says “We look forward to working again in Australia where, because of the size of the country, the speed and capacity of the DC-10 make it a particularly effective tool.”
Hatton also stated that the rebuild of a new DC-10 airtanker, numbered Tanker 914, will be completed in March of 2017 and ready to for work by this fire season.