Evergreen Supertanker

Ever since I read this Wired article Joel sent me about the Evergreen 747 Supertanker, I’ve been mildly obsessed with the thing. I have a somewhat buried fascination with planes(*) that only this morning as I was driving to work did I realize was my mom’s fault. When I was a kid and we were driving to my grandparents’ house, the route took us on the 405 freeway past John Wayne Airport, and if she saw a plane taking off, she used to open the sunroof of the car and try to time it so that we’d cross the plane’s path as it was directly overhead, and we’d be able to look out the sunroof and up at the belly of the plane.

Anyway, when I read in the Wired article that it was stationed on the former military base where I work, I realized I’d seen it from afar, and hadn’t really thought anything of it (while 747s are not really common over here, there seems to usually be at least one kicking around.) Yesterday morning (after I read the article) I stopped and took a lousy cameraphone picture of it. When I first drove over to where CDF/CalFire normally parks its planes, I didn’t see it, and was really disappointed (and amused at myself for my disappointment)… and then I looked the other direction down the runway, and there it was, sitting in all its beluga-whale glory. I actually giggled when I saw it–that’s how much of a geek I am.

This morning I took my good camera out to take a couple of pictures and ogle it some more. This time, the engines were idling–I wonder if it’s headed back to LA for more fire action? I’d LOVE to see this thing take off or land!! Maybe I’ll head over there at lunch and see if it’s still there…

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Evergreen Supertanker

Evergreen Supertanker

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The center section of the jet. The nozzles for the fire retardant/water dispersal are barely visible on the bottom of the plane on the left side of the picture. Ignore the dark blur on the right side--I was taking this through a chain-link fence.

The center section of the jet. The nozzles for the fire retardant/water dispersal are barely visible on the bottom of the plane on the left side of the picture. Ignore the dark blur on the right side--I was taking this through a chain-link fence.

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Here’s a few more shots that I didn’t think needed to be posted full-size, but you can click on them to get the full-size versions.

Tail section
Tail section

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Front end
Front end

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I had to climb up on the base of a lightpost to get this one. :-)
I had to climb up on the base of a lightpost to get this one. :-)

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(*) and jets

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  1. Joel

    This airframe was built in 1970 and delivered to Delta, then to Pan Am, and now, nearly 40 years later, still in service. It's interesting to think that there are hundreds of thousands of people who rode on that ONE airplane, and now it's bombing fires at 400 feet above the ground. Sweeeeet.

    I'm happy to feed your mild fascination.

    Sep 03, 2009 @ 3:53 am

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