Third life for a "Queen of the skies"
From passenger plane to water tanker - and soon a freighter. This is the career of a "jumbo" that was initially in service with Japan Airlines.
In 2016, the B747-400 was converted by a group of investors into the largest water bomber ever. With its 66,200-litre capacity - as No. 2 in this specialised freighter category, the IL-76 takes just 43,800 litres - since then, it has distinguished fires in California (more than 200 missions between 2017 and 2020) and Oregon (2017: 4), Chile (2017: 76) and Bolivia (2019: 149), as well as Israel (2016: 2), among others.
Now the investor group is parting ways with operator Global Supertanker Services. The just-modernised B747 was sold to National Airlines, which plans to convert the carrier into a "normal" freighter to get much-needed capacity. (ah)