Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Coulson Martin Mars ready to fly but waiting to be activated by British Columbia

I have heard about the active wildfire season in British Columbia and other areas of western Canada. Like some of you, I have heard various talk on the internet about the possibility that Coulson's Martin Mars might be flying some of these fires, especially a fire that is burning on Dog Mountain (Dog Mountain Fire) near her home base on Sproat Lake.

I was wondering exactly what was going on when I checked Bill Gabberts Fire Aviation this morning to find that he posted a July 6th article about the British Columbia government inquiring about the Martin Mars. Bill wrote on July 6:
Britt Coulson told us Monday evening that their company already has a Call When Needed contract for the Martin Mars with the British Columbia Wildfire Service but the aircraft has not been activated yet. The Coulson Group told the agency that if they activated it by the end of the day on Monday the Martin Mars could be serviceable and fighting fires on Thursday. As of 6:11 p.m. MT, the Coulsons had not heard from BCWS.
I read an article dated July 8, 2015 from the Alberni Valley Times about the current status of the Martin Mars. [On October 12th the July 8th article does not seem to be available online so I removed the link]. As I understand it, as of July 8th, the British Columbia government has not activated the Martin Mars. While the Martin Mars is in the water at her base on Sproat Lake, she can not fly the Dog Mountain Fire or any fires in British Columbia until the government activates her. She sits ready but unable to fly, waiting until when and if the B.C. Government activates her, much to the dismay of many in British Columbia and environs.

I had the privilege of watching the Martin Mars on livestream from one of the LA TV news outlets in 2009 flying and then dropping on Mt. Wilson during the Station Fire. I must have watched her for what felt like 15 or 20 minutes, mesmerized. Here is a shorted video of her flight, first as she prepares to drop and then the drop. Elegance in action. Long time regular readers of this blog know that I have a special affinity for this very special airplane.

direct link to video of Martin Mars drop on Mt. Wilson during 2009 Station Fire (CA)

Revised on October 12, 2015 to remove a dead link.

No comments: