Only days after its trans-continental delivery flight and a formal acceptance and press event, the newly named “Marie Bashir” Fireliner, named in honor of the former New South Wales (NSW) Governor, Dame Marie Bashir took to the skies to fight its first bushfire.
The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSWRFS) welcomed the Coulson 737 Fireliner as a permanent part of their fleet as the first Large Air Tanker (LAT) to be permanently based in Australia after Coulson Group and the NSWRFS signed an annual contract for $26.3 million in May of this year for the company to provide the 737 Fireliner, support aircraft, crew, and ongoing maintenance.
The 737 Fireliner will take over from existing firefighting aircraft that were already servicing the NSWRFS contract requirements, including several C-130 aircraft.
The new 737 LAT, completed its maiden drop over the Lindfield Park Road Fire in the coastal city of Port Macquarie in New South Wales on Australia’s East coast. The Fireliner’s initial drop was directed to contain burning peat across a large area of wetland that has proved hard for ground crews to access after the fire flared for a second time due to increasing wind in the area.
The fire has already been burning for two weeks and the flare up was not unexpected according to the NSWRFS. The LAT drop was requested to continue to keep the fire behind existing containment lines.