Biggest US Wildfire Fighting Tanker Takes Up Residence In Colorado Springs

The nation's largest firefighting aircraft has found a new home at the Colorado Springs Airport.

The Gazette reports that CEO and founder of Global SuperTanker Services LLC Jim Wheeler brought the Boeing 747-400 to the airport Tuesday. The converted freighter jet can carry up to 19,600 gallons of retardant or water for 4,000 miles.

CPR's Vic Vela reported in March that the threat of major wildfires in Colorado this season is relatively mild -- part of a three-year trend.

Global SuperTanker had announced plans to base the aircraft in Colorado Springs in August. The airport was chosen for its low operating costs, ability to accommodate the wide-body jet and the city's central location to fight wildfires throughout the western U.S.

Global SuperTanker conducted its first test flight by dropping water in southern Arizona Sunday. Wheeler says it'll take another several weeks before the aircraft is certified for firefighting use by the Federal Aviation Administration. Here's a video of Wheeler talking about the jet last month: