New airtanker models arrive in Penticton

New tanker models in town

Pentictonites may have noticed two new residents at the Penticton Airport.

In anticipation of wildfire season, two Dash 8-400AT airtankers have touched down and will call Penticton one of their homes throughout the summer, ready for deployment around the region should they be needed.

The iconic Conair Convair tankers from previous summers in British Columbia's interior left Penticton for the last time in September 2022.

“Retiring our legacy fleet of Electra L188 and Convair CV580 aircraft was necessary as the supply of parts was dwindling globally. We reached a point where we could not guarantee the serviceability needed for an emergency response aircraft so we proactively replaced our fleet with a modern airtanker” shares Jeff Berry, vice president of business development with Conair, in a press release shared with Castanet.

“The Dash is fully supported by De Havilland Canada, the original equipment manufacturer, ensuring an abundant supply of parts is readily available to keep the airtanker flying for decades. This provides the level of reliability we require.”

The Dash holds up to 10,000 litres of retardant, whether that be foam or water, while being able to operate out of smaller airports like Penticton.

"The tanker also burns far less fuel than other large airtankers. In some instances, the tanker can drop more than double the payload for fuel burned. This means we can continue more reloads and returns to the fire before requiring a refueling stop. That’s 10,000 litres per drop, drop after drop," said tanker captain Chris Bingham.

Pentictonites can expect to see the tankers taking off and landing at the airport throughout this summer.

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