No Call for the Martin Mars
Martin Mars as it sat in Fraser Lake a few years ago – photo 250News archive
Prince George, B.C. As wildfires rage across the province, one question has surfaced ‘where is the Martin Mars’?
“The Mars is an iconic aircraft” says BC Wildfire Service Chief Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek “I recognize a lot of people have a lot of nostalgia and respect for it, and it has been fighting fires in this province for decades, but there are simply just more effective aircraft available.”
Even if there was a desire to put the Mars in action, Skrepnek says it’s not available “It is our understanding that the Mars is currently being repaired, and wouldn’t be operationally ready until mid August.”
In a recent facebook post, Wayne Coulson, of Coulson Flying Tankers which operates the Mars, wrote “We told the Province on Saturday that if there was interest in the Mars, it could be made available for early August. We are finalizing the maintenance as we don’t have a contract for the Mars and are currently preparing the aircraft for guests that have booked the ‘Ultimate Flying Experience,’ a program we have been promoting to justify keeping the Mars airworthy. ”
But Skrepnek says the Mars is not needed “We always make sure we have an appropriate amount of equipment and aircraft ready. We have brought in additional aircraft through our mutual aid agreement with other provinces. There is more modern and cost effective aircraft available, and that’s what we have brought in to augment the fleet we’ve already got.”