Martin Mars Under Repair In B.C.

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Peter Lubig Photo

The Coulson Air Tankers Martin Mars is back at its home base in British Columbia after being damaged in an accident at AirVenture 2016. CEO Wayne Coulson told AVweb the aircraft flew from Lake Winnebago to Port Alberni last Tuesday with temporary repairs to holes in the hull. The plane was immediately pulled to dry land on dollies after landing at its base on Sproat Lake, near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island. “We actually pulled one of the patches off on takeoff,” said Coulson. The hull was punctured on an aborted takeoff (engine manifold pressure warning) after the aircraft had picked up more than 70,000 pounds of water in Lake Winnebago for its firefighting demonstration at AirVenture. The hull scraped the bottom of the shallow lake while the crew tried to taxi the aircraft back to the AirVenture seaplane base. Coulson said the ruptures are on the aircraft’s keel and will be difficult to repair. There is no timeline on the repairs

The mishap marred an otherwise successful trip for the aircraft, which is the largest operational flying boat in the world. Coulson is trying to sell the plane, known as the Hawaii Mars, for $3 million because it no longer has the firefighting contracts needed to keep the airplane flying. He said the company got about 15 sales leads and is entertaining four from entities that intend to keep the historic aircraft flying. He said some of the interested parties also want Coulson’s other flying boat, the Philippine Mars, which has been painted in U.S. Navy livery for a potential deal with the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. That deal has been tied up in government red tape on both sides of the border and the museum is also concerned that it doesn’t have hangar space for the giant aircraft, Coulson said.