A Large Air Tanker, Conair Q400MR, that will help fight fires during this year’s bushfire season, has arrived at Bundaberg Airport from overseas.
The Conair Q400MR is one of the most advanced air tankers available today and is capable of dropping 10,000 litres of water, along with retardant and firefighting foam.
It features a quick response on initial dispatches and turnarounds, a cruise speed of 370 knots and a drop speed of 125 knots.
Firefighting aircraft previously used in the Bundaberg Region included an air tractor AT802F, which was only capable of carrying up to 3200 litres of water, fire retardant and fire suppressant.
Aviation enthusiast and photographer Dan Beck said he watched the Conair Q400MR fly in over his house on Monday afternoon.
“It was quite a special to see it fly in over Bundaberg,” Dan said.
“I went down to the airport to take some photos of it and got a wave from the crew.”
Dan, 20, said he tracked the Conair Q400MR flight and saw it had left Oakland Airport (California) on 21 August. It stopped over at Honolulu on 22 August and Honaiara on 24 August, before arriving in Brisbane on 24 August and then making its way to Bundaberg.
ABC Wide Bay reports the Queensland Government confirmed the international crew and pilots are following a COVID-safe plan, and have gone into quarantine for two weeks.
Mayor welcomes Conair Q400MR
Mayor Jack Dempsey has welcomed the arrival of a large air tanker in Bundaberg to assist with firefighting efforts across Queensland.
“Bundaberg is an ideal location to base an aircraft with capability to carry 10,000 litres of water,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“Earlier this month I called on the Government to implement this project, which was being discussed among emergency services.
“I thank the Government for choosing Bundaberg as the base.
“Bundaberg has a proven record of supporting aerial firefighting efforts when crews working from the area set a record for the most water bombers filled in one day.
“At the height of the Gregory River fires a total of 114 plane loads of water and foam left the airport in December last year.
“The large air tanker could reach Proserpine in Northern Queensland, Tambo in Western Queensland and right down to Coffs Harbour in New South Wales within an hour of leaving the Bundaberg Airport.”
Earlier this month local emergency personnel undertook training of Airbase Operators Course at the Bundaberg Airport.
The three-day course had participants travel from all around the North Coast Region to learn how to support aerial firefighting operations.
During the last bushfire season QFES deployed more than 40 aircraft across the state, including a 737 Large Air Tanker from New South Wales, a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter contracted from the United States and military aircraft for mapping major bushfires.
Conair Q400MR features
- Quick response on initial dispatches and turn-arounds
- High climb rate and excellent slow speed flight characteristics
- Certified for use on unpaved airports
- All weather capable for positioning flights
- Multi role capabilities – passenger, cargo or aerial fire control
- Maximum take-off weight: 67,200 lbs
- Maximum zero fuel weight: 60,400 lbs
- Maximum landing weight: 61,750 lbs
Delivery system specifications
- Maximum tank capacity: 10,000 litres (2642 US gallons)
- Cruise speed loaded: 370 knots
- Drop Speed: 125 knots