Wonderful as seem to be the sterling qualities of the 747 firefighting tanker you reported about (“Agencies see promise in supertanker,” March 24), I see no prospect of its capacity to significantly mitigate fire damage that will, inevitably, occur in our western states for the fourth summer in a row.
That is because this aircraft fought fires in the same region last summer, when wildfires were worse than ever. For years, already, I have begged the federal government to dedicate about a thousand large military cargo aircraft to the western wildfire effort because these aircraft HAVE TO FLY TRAINING MISSIONS ANYWAY to uphold crew qualification.
Such a massive commitment could achieve enormous savings by reducing property damage, a smoke inhalation health crisis, and risks to the lives of ground based firefighters.
What an enormous story to have to miss, quite aside to the potential heroics involved.
Philip J. Mulligan