Air Spray ready to respond to San Diego wildfires

May 15, 2014 8:20 PM

Air Spray's mechanics in Chico are busy, working to make two firefighting jets operational. The company's headquarters are in Edmonton, Canada, and they have planes on stand-by, ready to respond to the wildfires burning around San Diego, if called by CalFire. In Chico, two jets, built around 1989 to 1991, and used by Southwest Airlines as passenger planes, were purchased by the company. Mechanics are installing the equipment necessary to make them ready for 2015. They will be tested in the air, likely in October. General Manager Ravi Saip says the planes have been gutted, and will be fitted with high-tech equipment to make them as safe as possible. They will also each be equipped with a fire-retardant tank. He says, "We're designing a tank to hold 3,000 gallons, within the weight capacity of the aircraft." He adds that the tank will hold 27,000 pounds of retardant, in a boxlike tank in the middle of the cabin. Each plane costs between $8m - $10m to buy, gut, and remake into a firefighting aircraft. Air Spray will supply various firefighting agencies with the planes and crew, once they get the call.


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