...DC-10 Tanker Conversion Tested...

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And while the government sorts out who can fly the ancient iron, entrepreneurs continue to experiment with not-quite-so-ancient aircraft with which to modernize the fleet and potentially open the field to more pilots. As AVweb told you last year, Evergreen Aviation has developed a tanker version of the Boeing 747 and now a group of California companies is hoping converted DC-10s will soon be on fire duty. 10 Tanker LLC, which is spearheading the project, tested the 30-year-old trijet by dropping 10,000 gallons of water over Southern California Logistics Airport last week. The plane is now at Le Bourget in France where it will do four drops at the Paris Air Show in hopes of attracting customers. The plane underwent $15 million in modifications over two years. It can hold a maximum of 12,000 gallons in an external tank. The full load can be released in 17 seconds with the plane as low as 150 feet and flying at 142 knots. Turnaround time on the ground is as little as eight minutes and the jumbo can cruise to the fire scene at more than 400 knots. If the plane makes a splash with firefighting organizations, the conversions will be done by Victorville Aerospace, with numerous subcontractors also supplying components and services.