When planes are retired from passenger service, they’re often destined to be recycled, scrapped, or repurposed into something weird, like wedding venues. But one retired Boeing 757 is about to be given the highest honor, it is being transformed into a flying fire truck.
And not just any fire truck. The 155-foot airliner will become one of the largest flying fire fighting machines on earth. What a way to bow out!
U.S. company Galactic Holdings has purchased an old Boeing 757 that has left passenger service. The firm will partner with manufacturing company ST Engineering to convert it into a flying fire truck.
Once complete, the plane will join Galactic Holdings’ fleet of fire fighting machines, which it uses to tackle fires for the U.S. Forest Service.
According to ST Engineering, the conversion will see the firm gut the interior of the plane and seal all its windows. Engineers will then install two tanks capable of storing a total of 7,000 gallons of fire retardant liquid.
Next, the floor beneath these massive tanks will be reinforced, and channels will be constructed to help release the liquid through two doors in the aircraft – one at the front and another at the rear.
Galactic Holdings and ST Engineering say they hope the fire-fighting plane will enter service in 2024. Just in time for the impending firestorm scientist think could rain down on us soon.
In a press release, Jeffrey Lam, president of commercial aerospace at ST Engineering, said:
“In addition to breathing new life into otherwise retired aircraft, we are glad that we can tap our expertise in aircraft conversion to develop innovative solutions to be used in the crucial fight against forest and wildfires that are increasing in numbers in various hotspots across the world.”
It’s very cool to see these aging passenger planes given a new lease of life in other industries. And it definitely beats scrapping the fuselage and turning the seats into fancy sofas. The world has enough fancy sofas.
But as well as putting an old plane to good use, the new Boeing 757P2T, which it is catchily being called, will also be more fuel efficient than outgoing models of supertanker.
Galactic Holdings also says it can be better “deployed to remote locations for firefighting missions.”
The new tanker joins a fleet of converted DC-10 supertankers. In service since 2006, the DC-10 flying fire truck is capable of delivering 9,400 gallons of fire retardant within eight seconds across an area up to a mile long.
Three Boeing 747 planes were also previously modified to fight fires. The last of these impressive machines was retired in 2021.