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Rain Man

Super Anarchist
Wet coast.
Have you guys seen the runway at Lukla Airport near Everest? :D The air is thin. The runway is short and only works in one direction. And the crosswinds can be deadly.

Flew in there in 1992 - the Twotter we were on was high on approach so they did a missed approach procedure. There was considerable concern in the cabin to say the least.

dyslexic dog

Super Anarchist




Capt. Marvel's Wise Friend
Vancouverium BC
Unfortunately a forest fire closed the road to the airport preventing flying yesterday. Some of my pilot friends are trapped in Port Alberni on the other side of the fire. Luckily, they have connections with airplanes!

My understanding is that around 2015-16 the B.C. Provence stopped paying advance readiness money, which effectively ended the Coulson Mars waterbomber program. At that point they were on standby status, being able to deliver a equivalent punch as other flying resources but at a higher cost. But with no money, then no standby (maintained airworthiness).

It looks like the plan to put one in the Navy Pensacola Museum fell through. Getting the other Mars ever to fly will be much harder.

Sadly, there are only two ways these magnificent beasts can leave Sproat Lake. Let's hope at least one is by a wing (and a prayer).

Via CBC:

Martin Mars waterbombers’ firefighting days are past: Coulson

  • May. 21, 2018 6:00 a.m
The famed Martin Mars air tankers continue to draw interest from potential purchasers, but their glory days as firefighting aircraft are probably past.
Wayne Coulson, CEO of Coulson Flying Tankers, said his company still hopes to find a new home for the vintage aircraft, the last two survivors of a family of giant flying boats built for the Second World War.
“We’re trying to find a respectful home,” he said, describing the aircraft as national treasures in Canada and the U.S. “They were the biggest warbirds built during World War Two, so they have significance to education.”
Typically, as wildfire season gets underway, public speculation arises about whether the Martin Mars — always an impressive sight, as largest air tankers in the firefighting fleet — would be pressed back into service. However, it’s been five years since the B.C. government announced it would not renew its contract for Hawaii Mars. Philippine Mars is no longer considered for active service.
“I’m kind of thinking those days are done,” Coulson said, noting that more advanced, faster and more powerful turbo-prop aircraft are preferred for fighting wildfire nowadays.
Coulson Air Tankers has maintained the aircraft to ensure flight worthiness, which is in itself a costly undertaking.
“They’ve lived outside their whole lives, but the upkeep is expensive,” explained Coulson. “We’ve had a couple of opportunities to sell them that we didn’t feel were justifiable. We continue to talk to people to find a home for them.”
The U.S. National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla., expressed interest a few years ago in the Philippine Mars, but that possibility appears to have lapsed.
“They just have higher priorities where they want to spend their money and time. They didn’t have the budget to build a hangar to store the aircraft,” Coulson said. A hangar capable of accommodating the Philippine Mars would cost about $4 million, he added.
The Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum has also shown interest in the plane.
“It’s the one that has the more significant history. It was the biggest air ambulance in world during World War Two” and saw service during the Korean War, transporting wounded from Asia to California. “It was the biggest warbird ever built.”
Hawaii Mars hasn’t flown since 2016 and what Coulson referred to as “the Oshkosh incident.” The aircraft was scooping water for a demonstration at the fly-in event in Wisconsin when an engine warning light prompted an aborted take-off. The plane hit some rocks on Lake Winnebago, causing minor damage that was subsequently repaired.
Coulson Air Tankers is focused on supporting those efforts primarily in Australia and the U.S. with C130 Hercules and their new Boeing 737, which makes its debut this month as the world’s newest air tanker. The company’s fleet lent support during last year’s California wildfires. Advances have fostered a return of large air tankers.
“Going back five years, you didn’t see huge aircraft flying over peoples’ homes. It just wasn’t done. Systems used today are more precision based. The customers aren’t as risk-adverse about 155,000-lb aircraft flying over neighbourhoods. It’s a significant shift in the last five years. And the effect is significant.”
Anyone hoping that the Sproat Lake air tanker base might reopen to summer visitors may be disappointed. Coulson said there are no plans to resume the openings since summer is the company’s busiest time of year.
* * * * *
Via Alberni Valley News:

B.C. cities vote against 10-year Martin Mars contract

Port Alberni delegates had fought to ask new NDP government for new deal
  • Sep. 29, 2017 9:50 a.m.
Cities across B.C. chose not to stand behind Port Alberni and the city’s beloved Martin Mars at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention on Thursday.
Coun. Chris Alemany brought a motion asking delegates to support urging the province to enter in a 10-year contract with the Coulson Group and “ensure [the] Coulson Group upgrade the aircraft to meet operational requirements.”
“We thought the fires couldn’t get any worse… they did. Along came 2015, 2017 with unprecedented fire activity and impact on our province and communities,” said Alemany.
The resolution has been brought to the UBCM twice before but Alemany said that this year’s was different, citing the section that required the province and Coulson to work together on keeping the plane’s technology up-to-date.
Alemany said that with a new NDP government in Victoria, it was time to try again to ask for the Mars, “not because it’s better but because it is one more tool in the toolbox.”
Earlier this summer, the now-former BC Liberal government told Black Press that “there are more modern and cost-effective aircraft available for use in B.C.’s varied terrain.”
The Martin Mars planes have been the subject of much debate over the years with supporters claiming that nothing packs the same punch as the large waterbombers, while those against claim that the planes are expensive and unable to draw water from the province’s smaller lakes.
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I had heard from one of the guys at the Naval Air Museum (Pensacola) several years ago that they had some sort of swap to get a MARS for their collection. The plan was to land it on the bayou adjacent to NAS and tow it to the closest point to the museum location. Then they were going to use some sort of spray foam to lay down a slippery path across the golf course and drag it on its bottom to the concrete apron at the museum. It would be a great addition to the museum but an expensive thing to house. Maybe the firefighting foam was the problem since it is really nasty to just about anything that lives!

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
Eastern NC
Fuck, if I were bazillionaire, I would add at least one of those to my collection. I can believe they are expensive to keep airworthy, hard to believe they are not effective fire fighters any more.

Dumping 27,000 liters on a fire ought to slow it down some....


Capt. Marvel's Wise Friend
Vancouverium BC
I had heard from one of the guys at the Naval Air Museum (Pensacola) several years ago that they had some sort of swap to get a MARS for their collection.
Sure enough (article below), it's listed for sale here:

It's an amphibian, so it has wheels to roll out of the water.

I found this from 2016 from Warbird News:

In a rather controversial move, the Canadian Heritage Minister, Shelly Glover, has attempted to put a hold on the planned deal between The Coulson Group and the National Naval Aviation Museum which was supposed to see one of Coulson’s two remaining Martin JRM Mars flying boats heading from its base at Sproat Lake in British Columbia to the Pensacola, Florida museum. According to an article posted by the Canadian Broadcasting Company HERE, “officials under Shelly Glover, the Canadian Heritage minister, have told Coulson that the plane may be “cultural property” of importance to Canada, and he must convince a panel to give him a special export permit under the Cultural Property Export and Import Act.” The reasoning behind this action stems from the type having served the Canadian people for the past half century. However, considering that the aircraft in question, Bu.76820 Philippine Mars, is now painted to represent her days in the US Navy, it seems more like a power-play to secure the remaining operational Mars in Coulson’s fleet for Canada, Bu.76823 Hawaii Mars II, as she is still in her civilian colors and thus more appropriate for a Canadian museum. According to the CBC article, Canadian MP John Duncan, is indeed making that suggestion to help settle the situation; offering to swap Hawaii Mars for a pair of retired RCAF C-130 Hercules transports which Coulson could convert into air tankers for his fleet. The proposal would then see Hawaii Mars join the Canada Aviation & Space Museum in Ottawa, Ontario. While it is justifiable that Canada retain a Mars for their national collection, it is an extremely heavy-handed approach for doing so. Judging by previous failed efforts to prevent a Canadian-based Lockheed Constellation leaving for the Museum of Flight in Seattle, it seems an approach unlikely to succeed, and perhaps almost guarantees that Coulson will be predisposed to disfavor any government proposal. We shall see of course, and report any news as it arises.
And this from 2022:

Iconic Hawaii Mars, world’s largest flying water bomber, listed for sale for $5M

flying boat.jpg

One of the two remaining Martin Mars Water Bombers in British Columbia sits idle in Port Alberni as a fire burns nearby on July 5, 2015. @benjwest/Twitter

By Simon Little Global News Posted January 15, 2022 7:55 pm Updated January 15, 2022 7:56 pm
Have $5 million and a burning desire to own the world’s largest flying water bomber?
The iconic Hawaii Mars, known for its years of fighting British Columbia’s wildfires, is on the market with a seven-figure price tag, according to aviation broker Platinum Fighter Sales.
The listing for the 1945 Martin JRM-3 Mars lists its interior and exterior as in 9 out of 10 condition, and says it last underwent annual flight inspections in 2016.
“Will be sold with current Annual at the asking price, ‘As Is Where Is,” the listing states.
The massive aircraft — which has the wingspan of a Boeing 747 — was conceived as a patrol bomber during the Second World War, where it became the largest flying boat to enter Allied service, and was soon repurposed as a transport aircraft.
Just five of the aircraft were built by manufacturer Martin — just two of which remain today, the Hawaii Mars and the Philippine Mars, both owned by Coulson Aviation and stored at Sproat Lake on Vancouver Island.
Post-war, they were reconverted again in the 1950s to become firefighting aircraft with an impressive payload: the capacity to carry up to 27,000 litres of water.
While there are calls from some members of B.C.’s public to bring the aircraft back into service every wildfire season, they have fallen out of favour with the province.
The massive aircraft fought its last B.C. wildfire in 2016, when it served a 30-day contract with the provincial government.
The BC Wildfire Service has shifted its focus to smaller, more nimble aircraft capable of landing in up to 1,700 bodies of water around B.C.
The Hawaii Mars, due to its massive size, is only capable of landing in 113.
Officials have cited other operational reasons, such as the need to clear personnel from the ground in drop zones, along with cost, for moving away from the Mars.
Owner Wayne Coulson has disputed the province’s statistics on where the Mars could take water from before dropping it onto a fire.
Of the two remaining Martin Mars bombers, only Hawaii Mars remains airworthy, according to Platinum Fighter Sales.
Coulson Aviation listed the Hawaii Mars for sale for $3 million in 2016.
Flying Boat porn:

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It's an amphibian, so it has wheels to roll out of the water.
It is not an amphibian. It is a flying boat with no landing gear and has to land on the water. It does have huge skateboard looking trucks that can be plugged in after landing and pulling up to a ramp. The auxiliary wheels then let the aircraft be towed up the ramp. I saw this done to a Short seaplane at Fantasy of Flight in Fl.

Because the Martin Mars is a true flying boat, it has no landing gear and cannot land at Wittman Regional Airport. Instead, it is moored near the EAA Seaplane Base on Lake Winnebago, a few miles southeast of the main fly-in grounds. Coulson Flying Tankers is selling tours of the giant aircraft, and it has flown in two airshows already this week. It is scheduled to fly again Friday afternoon and Saturday evening. The Mars crew plans to depart Monday for their return to Canada.

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