Fire-fighting air tanker returns to Canberra skies (but it’s all routine)

Michael Weaver 19 February 2020
DC-10 Air Tanker, Orroral Valley fire, Canberra Airport

The DC-10 Large Aerial Tanker 912 launches from Canberra Airport. Photo: ACT Emergency Services Agency.

The very large air tanker (VLAT) that has been dropping pink fire retardant during the recent bushfire emergencies in NSW and the ACT will be undertaking a series of routine systems checks in the skies above Canberra and surrounding NSW this afternoon, including a water drop in Kowen Forest.

The ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) says Canberrans and those in surrounding areas will see the air tanker, known as ‘Bomber 912’, in the sky this afternoon between 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm, weather dependent.

“These planned system checks ensure the aircraft and its capabilities remain ready to respond to incidents,” an ESA spokesperson said.

The air tanker may be seen flying at a low level, approximately 500 feet above the ground and will have a white lead plane in front of it, a Citation Jet, known as ‘BirdDog 123’.

Since arriving in the ACT and becoming operational on 24 January, the VLAT has flown 29 missions delivering more than one million litres of retardant to fires in ACT and NSW.

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