Saturday, December 13, 2014

Adious (original) T-910, gone but not forgotten (2 of 2)

I first learned about you from a friend in May 2009 when I first started writing about aerial wildland firefighting, and I first wrote about you on May 16, 2009. Modified by 10 Tanker Air Carrier for firefighting, you carry 11,600 gallons of retardant — four times more retardant than most other tankers flying today. You can put down a line of retardant one mile long (see the 10Tanker's “the plane” page for more information about DC-10 tankers. By the time I first learned about you, you had been flying fires since 2006. 

I wanted to be able to share about the number of fires that your flew, so I wrote 10 Tanker the other day, asking for some of your statistics, and Rck Hatton, President and CEO of 10 Tanker Air Carrier responded providing some statistics for T-910 and their plans for the future:

In nine fire seasons this aircraft was flown 761 missions on 156 fires. This required 805 flight hours, and dispensed 8,827,600 U.S. Gals. of suppressant. This would have taken more than four times this amount of flying by any other aircraft type available.
While the aircraft is being retired, it is being replaced with a newer DC-10 which will carry the “910” number. We at 10 Tanker Air Carrier are very proud of the fire-fighting capability that this aircraft and her sister ships 911 and 912 have provided the nation thus far. We are looking forward to contracting and building a fleet of up to eight DC-10s to continue affording the U.S. and other countries this innovative product in more locations (Rick Hatton).
Wow, your numbers show how much of a difference you made, 761 missions on 156 fires. Over 8,800,000 gallons of retardant, that is a lot of retardant. 

I remember the first videos that I saw in 2009 of you dropping on a fire and being impressed by the long line of retardant that you lay down and thinking that you can do a lot of good on a fire. Over the years, I have seen you and your sisters numerous times either on videos and perhaps once or twice on a live stream feed of aircraft working fires. I never tired of seeing you or your sisters dropping on a fire and the friends who have watched you from the ground while you were over a fire tell me how special it was to see you. My respect and love for you has only grown over the subsequent years.

In the summer of 2011 the US Forest Service terminated its contract with Aero Union resulting in the loss of their P-3 Orions from the airtanker fleet, (here for more information), I wondered what would happen. It was August and there were a lot of weeks left in the fire season. Then I remembered that you were there fighting fires, and I felt better. You and your sister (T-911) made a big difference as did our friends from Canada and the MAFFs. After that I became more aware of your presence over wildfires and everywhere you went, you were loved. You made a difference, a big difference. In the months and years since then, you and your sisters continued to make a difference, and you are loved.

But you are special, you were the first. And I will always love you for that. You lived to be retired. I know that there will be another DC-10 T-910, but she won’t be you. You can not be replaced. I will miss you. My you fly in favorable tail winds . . .

T-910 dropping on Goff Fire (2012)

T-910 dropping on Zaca Fire (2007)

T-910 over the Humboldt Fire (2008?)

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