New Planes Added To Fire Fighting Fleet

Friday, June 10, 2005 at 15:15



Two state-of-the-art fire fighting aircraft arrived in La Ronge today.


The Turbo Commanders represent the early stages of a $183-million plan to renew the province’s aerial fire fighting fleet over the next 10 years.


Each plane cost the provincial government $1.5 million.


The new aircraft, also known as “bird dogs”, can reach airspeeds of 500 kilometres per hour – more than 200 km/h faster than the Aerostar planes they are replacing.


They will become part of the regular aerial fire fighting operations later this summer once training and maintenance checks have been completed.


Their primary use will be to guide air tankers, which in turn, are responsible for dropping fire retardant on blazes.


Early next year, the province’s fire fighting fleet will feature two new air tankers. The land-based Convair 580A air tankers are much faster and carry more fire retardant than the De Havilland Trackers currently in use.