Posted: Mar 14, 2013 9:52 AM by Associated Press
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) - A 30-year-old ex-military plane is being converted into a high-tech firefighting plane in Southern California and its owner hopes to win a federal contract to battle wildfires.
The Riverside Press-Enterprise says Canadian tycoon Wayne Coulson is overhauling the Navy C-130Q Hercules from nose to tail, adding gear to pinpoint fire retardant drops and a 3,500-gallon tank.
The U.S. Forest Service has a modernization plane for its fleet of air tankers, sparked by two deadly accidents in 2002 where the wings snapped off of aging air tankers in flight.
Coulson says his turboprop is relatively new by air tanker standards and it's undergoing a full renovation at San Bernardino International Airport.
Test flights are scheduled next month and Coulson hopes to win a Forest Service contract by June.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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