SUMMERSIDE, PEI, Sept. 30, 2011 /CNW/ - An independent aviation company
based in Atlantic Canada has developed the first new 3,000-gallon
capacity fire-fighting airtanker to enter service with the U.S.
Forestry Service since the early 1980s. "We are excited by this
breakthrough," said Mark Coffin, who manages Tronos' conversion
maintenance facilities at Summerside, Prince Edward Island. "This is a
triumph for our leading design and production teams."
A converted British Aerospace BAe 146 known as the "whisper jet" from
the Tronos fleet was released into service following extensive United
States Forest Service field tests this summer at Missoula, Montana. Now
located in Longview, Texas, the airtanker is scheduled to be dispatched
to fight fires as early as today (Friday, Sept. 30.) "We have leased
this jet to Neptune Aviation Services and plan to convert additional
aircraft for Neptune, which will use them to combat forest fires in the
United States. Our airtankers provide the Forestry Service with an
effective and reliable means of combatting forest fires."
Tronos is an innovative company which tailors aircraft for specialty
uses. In this instance, the firm refitted the BAe-146 by removing the
90-passenger interior and installing a 3,000-gallon tank system that
disperses fire retardant on fires. In rigorous testing at Missoula, the
BAe-146 demonstrated that it could meet widely varying requirements for
fighting fires in eight different environments - from grassy areas to
The Forestry Service last approved a new large airtanker (capable of
carrying 3,000 gallons of retardant) in the mid-1980s, when the P-3
Orion (PS) was first used in firefighting operations. Demand for new
aircraft is expected to be strong, in the face of the increased
incidence of major fires, as the aging fleet of airtankers is retired.
The Tronos airtanker design is versatile for other uses, including
delivering supplies in relief efforts. "We have done pioneering work
in aviation that can also do a little good," said Coffin. The BAe-146
could also be adapted for emergency response in other sectors,
including offshore oil and gas.
Tronos is a privately-held aircraft-leasing company, based in PEI, which
operates a fleet of 20 BAe-146 aircraft. Founded in 2000, Tronos' aircraft have flown with Air France,
British Airways, Atlantic Airways, United Airlines, Star Peru, the
Bolivian Air Force as well as many other specialty air services.
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