Global SuperTanker is closer to fighting fires

Credit: Global SuperTanker Services, LLC
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) The Global SuperTanker is one step closer to fighting fires. The aircraft, which is housed at the Colorado Springs Airport, just received final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Right now, the Global SuperTanker is in Arizona, where it was being repaired for hail damage and getting inspections.

The CEO tells us they are bringing it back to Colorado Springs on Friday. He says it has been hard not being able to fight fires yet.

"It kills me. California has had some particularly vicious wildfires this year that people were calling us constantly -- 'why can't you get out here, why can't you help us' -- and it's, you know, it's like watching somebody's house burn and knowing that you can't go in and rescue them. It's that heart-rendering situation," said Jim Wheeler, the CEO of Global SuperTanker.

The plane is capable of dumping 20,000 gallons of retardant.

The aircraft cannot fight fires on U.S. Forest Service land until a contract is approved.

"They have other contracts that they have to honor first so it may or may not happen this year," said Wheeler.

He says it can help with fires on state land or worldwide.

Katie Pelton: "What day do you expect the SuperTanker to be up in the air flying, fighting fires?"
Wheeler: "I wish I knew that answer. I can't tell you the specific day, but I certainly believe it will be this year and hopefully it will be in the next month."

The first stop for the giant plane could be Australia.

“I have no idea at this very moment. I’ve been looking over the fire situation and obviously we’re winding down on the fire season in the U.S., but I just returned from Australia; they’re getting ready for their fire season and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to take the airplane down to Australia and help those folks out this year," Wheeler added.