The world’s largest tanker jet will be housed right here in Colorado.
The Global SuperTanker Boeing 747/400 can hold up to 19,600 gallons of water that can be dropped within nine seconds over large wildfires.
“We’re in good proximity here to almost any wildfire that tends to occur in the western US,” said Jim Wheeler, CEO of Global SuperTanker Services, LLC.
The plane will be based at the Colorado Springs Airport, but can arrive to other parts of the state, like Denver, in just 30 minutes.
Here's a look inside the world's largest tanker jet. These are the tanks holding nearly 20k gallons of water. pic.twitter.com/HmSqez4aXK
— Brendaliss Gonzalez (@brendalissg) May 5, 2016
“Obviously on a large scale fire it could be a huge help to anybody who is trying to corral,” said Ted Collas, interim fire chief for the Colorado Springs Fire Department.
He admits the tanker could have been a huge help nearly four years ago during the Waldo Canyon wildfire in Colorado Springs that destroyed some 300 homes.
“Something that large that can bring that much capability in a single pass always has a way of helping,” he said.
The plane will be able to help with fires anywhere around the world.
However, the call for service will come through agencies like the Forest Service or the county and state government within the area where there’s a massive fire.
Wheeler said while they would love to send the tanker out to Alberta, Canada, where a wildfire has destroyed hundreds of homes. They are still awaiting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly.
Wheeler believes that approval can come within the next month or so.