A massive jet repurposed to make fire retardant or water drops on wildfires, nicknamed the 747 SuperTanker, could soon appear in the skies of California as it has received a contract from the state’s firefighting department.
Jim Wheeler, president and CEO of Global SuperTanker, which owns the airplane, announced the contract reached with Cal Fire on Monday, according to a story on FireAviation.com.
The aircraft and its crew were also issued clearance cards by Cal Fire, Wheeler said, meaning inspections were passed.
It was not immediately clear when or where the converted Boeing 747 will make its appearance. In July, CBS News reported the plane remained grounded by the U.S. Forest Service as it had yet to receive a contract from the federal agency.
But later that month, the Sacramento Bee reported the aircraft’s use was being limited to California and Colorado, pending contracts, which the company said it was close to signing.
The supertanker can drop more than 19,000 gallons of water or retardant at a time, about twice as much as the largest firefighting plane currently in service.
As of Wednesday, no contract with the U.S. Forest Service had been announced.
This story will be updated.