Over The Years One Plane Has Become An Icon That Continues To Save Lives In Emergencies: The Martin Mars.
Over my years of developing float aviation techniques to help after a disaster, I’ve become aware of a unique plane that has been doing a remarkable job pounding wildfires in Canada; The Martin Mars.
My experience as a volunteer fire fighter for two different departments gives me the perspective to appreciate how impressively this plane puts fires down. Beyond that, the plane is so effective that it invokes awe and provides a level of comfort, like a feeling that the cavalry has arrived, that is not commonly contributed to a plane. These attributes grant the Martin Mars a special, unique presence.
The Martin Mars was originally an American built flying boat that the Canadians have successfully developed into a monster water bomber. This plane can not only dump up to 7,200 gallons mixed with a suppressing gel that enhances water up to 5 times that is direct attack on top of the fire in one pass but it especially shines when fires are near bodies of water because of its great reload rate. This plane can quite literally take the head out of a fire.
I learned last year, as Lake Chelan was going up in smoke, that in that area — and even along the Columbia River — the Martin Mars can drop about 25,000 gallons an hour, 100,000 gallons every 4 hrs, depending on water location. Each drop can be up to 7,200 gallons and the aircraft only has to land for fuel about every 4 hrs. To top it off, it only takes 30 seconds to reload skimming a body of water.
Being that the aircraft just sits a hop, skip, and jump away on Vancouver Island, paired with Washington’s accessible water sources, this should be another resource to consider as we approach the upcoming fire season.
Because of the climate change currently occurring and the increased fire danger that it presents, it would seem the Martin Mars would be a logical choice.
Below are more links to video and stories about this incredible aircraft.
Video of campers escaping a fire while Mars drops protecting their flank
Martin Mars Mountain Agility flying demonstration
Close up demonstration drop
Martin Mars putting out fires in Mexico