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Sometimes even non-railway stuff is interesting. In February 2008 there was a forestry supplier convention at the Vancouver Convention Center. Equipment dealers, suppliers and other companies and individuals associated with the industry descended on the Vancouver waterfront to display their wares.One of these companies was Coulson Aviation, based in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island. They supply helicopters and aircraft for firefighting and other forestry related work. One of the coolest things they have in their fleet is the Martin Mars water bomber. Coulson Aviation bought the last two of these aircraft in 2007, with the Hawaii Mars being the last operational aircraft.
It has nearly the wingspan of a 747 and is powered by 4 propeller engines. It sounds like a B-17 when it is throttled up. It is awesome to see and hear in person. In February 2008 Coulson had several demonstration flights of the plane in Vancouver harbour. Large crowds turned out to see it; since I worked downtown it was a no brainer to go see the demonstration. Seeing 27,000 liters of water dropped at once is something to behold.Unfortunately the Hawaii Mars hasn't been used since 2015, and it is looking like it will not be operating anytime soon. The BC Forestry Service isn't interested in using it in spite of the massive number of fires this year in BC. At least I had a chance to see it.
This article first appeared on ageologistchasingtrains.blogspot.com
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