The Coulson Group has signed a contract with the province of B.C. for the use of Mars waterbomber, according to CEO Wayne Coulson.
According to some: The Mars Bomber has for many years, been one part of an effective arsenal of fire -fighting in the province of BC, but last year the decision was made to stop their direct-award contract, and the Mars are sitting idle on Sproat Lake on Vancouver Island – much to the confusion of many who have seen the plane in action. The Mars is capable of a large payload of water and, in some situations, can knock back a fire with incredible effectiveness, yet it sits after years of service to the province.
but according to
In 2013, when the Wildfire Management Branch last used the Martin Mars, the season rate was $672,300 with a flying time cost of $4,000 per hour for the first 45 hours and $18,800 per hour for any additional hours. This rate does not include fuel.
The hourly operating rate (including fuel) for all four Fire Bosses combined is $2,000 per hour less than that of the single Martin Mars. This cost difference becomes a $17,000-per-hour disparity if the Martin Mars was flown over 45 hours per year.
The cost of fuel per hour for all four Fire Bosses combined is less than half the cost of fuel per hour for the single Martin Mars.
The cost of repositioning four new Fire Bosses combined is about $1,200 per day. The cost to reposition the Mars was about $12,000 per day, or 10 times that amount.
The Martin Mars' operational limitations make it difficult to sell surplus availability of this aircraft through mutual aid agreements. In contrast, the Fire Boss aircraft have already been in demand for deployment outside of B.C. earlier this season when they were not needed here. The Fire Bosses were deployed to the Northwest Territories earlier this summer, which recovered $287,000 for the Province.
Although the Martin Mars has a tank capacity of 27,250 litres, the average drop volume is 19,000 litres with an average turnaround time of 19 minutes. The average turnaround time for the Fire Bosses is seven minutes.
The Martin Mars cannot drop long-term fire retardant, which is critical in B.C.'s terrain and firefighting conditions.
In spring 2014, the Province acquired the contracted services of four Air Tractor AT-802F "Fire Boss" amphibious airtankers that can drop water, foam or retardant on a fire. They can skim up to 3,025 litres of water in 15 seconds from over 1,700 water bodies in B.C. and land at airports, including the Province's 17 airtanker bases. This airtanker group also includes a Cessna Grand Caravan bird dog aircraft.
Because of its size, the Martin Mars can only land on and scoop up water from about 113 bodies of water in B.C.
From 2007 to 2013, the Martin Mars was only deployed on 20 wildfires, or about 0.5 per cent of the 3,476 airtanker missions flown during that period (at a cost of about $4.8 million).
When drawing a comparison between the Martin Mars and the Fire Bosses that worked the fires in Kelowna in 2003 and in West Kelowna in 2014 respectively, the Fire Bosses delivered more volume and were more cost-effective than the Martin Mars. On the Smith Creek fire (West Kelowna), the Province's Fire Boss group dropped 586,000 litres over 11.3 hours, at a cost of $0.19 per litre. In contrast, on the 2003 Kelowna fire, the Martin Mars dropped 690,000 litres over 28 hours at a cost of $0.63 per litre. The suppressant delivery rate for Fire Bosses in West Kelowna was twice that of the Martin Mars in Kelowna.
The Coulson Group, the company that operates the Martin Mars, did not respond to the Province's offer of an "as when needed" contract for the 2014 fire season.
Over the past six weeks, the new Fire Boss aircraft have actioned more fires than the Martin Mars did in six years.
which is something http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/mars-water-bombers-make-most-sense-1.1214063
couldn't find with a map a book for dummies when they asked Why exactly, is the Mars Bomber sitting idle?
Despite it's world-renowned ability to scoop up and drop 27,200 litres of water at time and a 53-year legacy of dowsing forest fires across North America, this year the provincial government opted not to renew its contract with Coulson Flying Tankers, the Hawaii Mars' owner. Instead the province looked to Abbotsford-based Conair for aerial fire suppression, gaining the services of four smaller turbinepowered aircraft instead of the massive Hawaii Mars.
According to Coulson Group of Companies CEO Wayne Coulson, the Mars bomber's firefighting contract in 2013 amounted to $750,000, yet this year the province decided to go with Conair's smaller, more modern aircraft for $1.8 million. After the deal was made Steve Thomson, minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource operations cited the bomber's "operational limitations" with respect to performing multiple drop patterns in B.C.'s mountainous terrain. The decision to with the Abbotsford company was made while considering the "more cost-effective, efficient options available due to advances in airplane technology," Thomson said. But the price disparity between the two options warrants a more detailed explanation of why the government chose the costlier contract. - See above as to why.
They sum up with: The provincial government has decided to go with a more expensive group of water bombers on the Lower Mainland, and when more help was needed called on the Yukon for more support. A capable firefighting asset sits still on Sproat Lake, sparking many locals to wonder if there is much more than cost effectiveness and efficiency involved in the province's decisions around controlling forest fires.
the province is reported by http://globalnews.ca/news/1472281/petition-to-keep-martin-mars-in-service-to-be-handed-to-b-c-premier/
s saying that "the Martin Mars is not cost effective when compared to other options currently available.
The ministry of forests says the Martin Mars cannot drop long-term fire retardant and can only land on and scoop up water from about 113 bodies of water in B.C.
It says from 2007 to 2013, the Martin Mars was only deployed on 20 wildfires or about 0.5 per cent of all missions in that time frame."
I think this was informative as to why such cool airplanes aren't cost effective to restore or use for fire fighting, and I thought you should know, as the Martin Mars will likely be i the news due to the 4 year long drought and higher than average temps on the west coast going into the summer fire season