A Boeing 747 aircraft that has been transformed into a fire fighting prototype is on a mission to win approval from federal aviation authorities.
Evergreen International Aviation is touring five states demonstrating its firefighting 747 Supertanker, which can hold seven times more water or retardant than commonly used planes. Besides the bigger payloads, supertankers could add more range and cut time between drops, company officials say.
The company has invested three years and more than $40 million to develop a whole new generation of firefighting aircraft that can "disperse retardant at high pressure for an overwhelming response, or drop retardant at the speed of falling rain in single or several segmented drops." The capabilities are being weighed against the cost by politicians and officials nationwide.