Air Tractor produces a range of agricultural aircraft that have been used in firefighting missions, such as spraying retardants in challenging terrains.
Stephen Holding, the general manager of Field Air, an Australian dealer and operator of the aircraft, says the Air Tractor is generally used on the continent for agricultural applications such as spreading fertilizer on large cropping areas, but this capability also makes it a good choice as a single-engine air tanker for firefighting.
Holding says because the Air Tractor needs to carry a huge load, it has a high power-to-weight ratio. The aircraft, for example, has a maximum take-off weight of 16,000lb (7,257kg). “An AT802 can carry approximately 3,000 liters of fire retardant,” said Holding.
When retardant is dropped on vegetation, it can last for a couple of weeks. It dries on the vegetation, forming a layer that retards the progress of a fire, says Holding, adding that retardant is more effective than foam concentrate or water gel, some of the other liquids that Air Tractors use to combat fires.
Read more at Manufacturing and Business Technology