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Colorado Springs-based SuperTanker to help battle fires in Southern California

By: Chhun Sun
December 5, 2017 Updated: December 5, 2017 at 4:56 pm
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The Global Supertanker taxis off the runway Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at the Colorado Springs Airport. The Boeing 747-400, outfitted for firefighting, can carry 19,400 gallons of water, fire retardant, foam or gel and make a single drop two-miles long or eight segmented drops. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

The Colorado Springs-based SuperTanker was scheduled to take off from Arizona on Tuesday afternoon to help fight destructive brush fires in Southern California.

"We're scrambling to get to the plane and get it launched," said Jim Wheeler, CEO and founder of Global SuperTanker, which owns the massive aircraft that calls the Colorado Springs Airport home. The Boeing 747-400 can carry 19,400 gallons of water, fire retardant, water or foam for up to 4,000 miles.

The aircraft had been receiving maintenance in Arizona when Cal Fire called Wheeler for assistance. He said an 11-person crew will fly the SuperTanker to McClellan Airfield near Sacramento, Calif., where the aircraft will be loaded with retardant.

The SuperTanker will be stationed at the airport as it helps fight the fire that started Monday evening north of Santa Paula and spread to north of Ventura.

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