Coulson Aviation’s Boeing 737 “Marie Bashir” was damaged in an incident while taxiing at Australia’s Richmond Air Force Base yesterday when it struck a hangar door in a slow speed incident that has caused significant damage to the nose cone and an engine cowling of the fire bomber that has been instrumental in Australia’s aerial firefighting operations since the aircraft’s arrival in Australia in August of 2019.

Damage on the nose cone of the Coulson 737 “Marie Bashir” after its removal from the hangar door it struck yesterday. Photo by NSW RFS.

The Boeing 737 was added to the permanent fleet of Australian firefighting aircraft after a multi-year $26.3 million dollar deal was signed in May of 2019 with Coulson Aviation providing the aircraft, ongoing maintenance, and support staff for the aircraft that was immediately put to work in the devastating 2019/2020 fire season known as “Black Summer.”

Damage to the engine cowling sustained in yesterday’s mishap at Richmond Air base in Australia. Photo by NSW RFS.

Although little is known about the incident involving the 26-year-old aircraft that was converted to fire tanker use after service with Southwest Airlines, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service has stated that there will be an investigation completed into the mishap and the aircraft will remain grounded until repairs are completed. Thankfully, the aircraft is one of two located at the Richmond base, another identical aircraft still remains available if needed as part of the larger Coulson Aviation Australia fleet of fixed-wing and helicopter assets based in Australia.