Martin Mars Water Bomber

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Re: Martin Mars Water Bomber

Postby canuck500 » Aug 31st, 2015, 3:48 pm

It has it's uses but it's not the wonder tool everybody makes it out to be. Don't forget in the era it was bought and developed the aerial fire fighting tools not as well developed as they are now.

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Re: Martin Mars Water Bomber

Postby Gilchy » Aug 31st, 2015, 3:54 pm

MAPearce wrote:So , what you guys are saying is that the Mars shouldn't have been fighting fires for as long as it has then ? That it has always been a waste of time and energy ??

WOW ! I'm sure the forest company's , who primary interest in the Mars in the first place was to save them MILLIONS of dollars of timber due to fire , would laugh at you as they light their big fat cigars and count their money.. It's why THEY bought and converted them to water bombers in the first place..

Seems that you all forgot that , essentially , they were the product of greed.


All people are saying is that, just like other older planes like 727s, DC10s, etc, it simply isn't the right tool for its specific job anymore. Technology, economics and strategy have changed. Don't know why so many people are so attached to this particular plane (aside from historical value).
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Re: Martin Mars Water Bomber

Postby MAPearce » Aug 31st, 2015, 5:48 pm

All people are saying is that, just like other older planes like 727s, DC10s, etc, it simply isn't the right tool for its specific job anymore. Technology, economics and strategy have changed. Don't know why so many people are so attached to this particular plane (aside from historical value).


This "particular " plane served a purpose it was intended for a very long time . Now , because it's old, people think that large capacity water bombers just don't work ?

I don't buy it. So the Mars has done its time , that doesn't mean that something like it ,something modern and effient , something that can refill with out landing at an airport and have a ground crew refill it isn't a valuable tool in the fight against forest fires..

It has worked for a LONG time ( someone post a link ) and to think that the technology is unable to improve the Mars is just plain wrong IMO. Just like the idea that massive drops of water on a huge ( or small ) will impede ground crews...
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Re: Martin Mars Water Bomber

Postby Drip_Torch » Aug 31st, 2015, 7:05 pm

canuck500 wrote:It has it's uses but it's not the wonder tool everybody makes it out to be. Don't forget in the era it was bought and developed the aerial fire fighting tools not as well developed as they are now.


It seems to me that both sides of the argument are a little too dug into their talking points.

I agree, It's days as a primary tool are probably done and gone, but I'm interested in seeing how the 2015 fire season experience for the MARS is evaluated. I believe it still has a place, but it's up to Coulson and the Province to see if a "as and when" agreement can be reached that continues to keep the operation of the MARS viable.

I think most people understand the standard operational models have to make a number of assumptions and generalizations in order to maintain efficiencies and effectiveness across a broad range of circumstances. Often, in my opinion, the MARS operates outside of these general assumptions.

I'm not a card carrying MARS fan club member, but I'm not convinced that it no longer serves a purpose either. Coastal can be a completely different game than the one played here in the interior. I believe as long as Coulson can keep the ship airworthy, we'd be well served to work with Coulson to keep it available.

(Standard Disclaimer: Coulson bought me lunch and kept caulks in my boots for years - beyond that, I've witnessed the punch, firsthand, more than a few dozen times.)
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Re: Martin Mars Water Bomber

Postby trapp » Aug 31st, 2015, 7:38 pm

In my Fire Control career I have watched almost every type of air tanker drop on fires.

As a teen I first witnessed the Marrs drop on the Dean fire in 1960 near Merritt. Impressive but very slow return times we even noticed back then. Think it was filling out of Nicola lake.It was mostly a coastal air tanker in it's time and seldom used in the interior. The interior and North were primarily serviced by the TBM avengers. My first real dealings with them was right here in Kelowna. We had an air tanker base here which I managed in 1967. They flew like a home sick turkey, and we nicknamed them "the turkeys" In the late 60's they dropped on many fires where I was a fire boss in the cariboo. The first time I seen an A26 was on hart Ridge above Clinton in 1969. OMG we thought that was the real answer. Scared hell out of us not expecting that size of aircraft at tree top level coming over us and dropping what seemed like 1000's of gallons of retardant. Of course it was not near that much but the Avenger drops were dwarfed by it's drops. Little did I know that after that fire I had to make a detailed report on it's effectiveness on that fire. The 70's saw many advances in air tanker development with larger aircraft, flying faster, and delivering more retardant per drop as well as split drops. With the development of newer air tankers designed specifically for aerial attack on fires they can now drop more gallons of retardant on more targets, more efficiently, than the old Mars. As well they can land at tanker bases and load with long term retardant. We must remember that like everything else fire control must be done efficiently and be cost effective. Water is a short term retardant and you would be surprised how short lived it is on a wildfire.

The old Marrs is no longer efficient nor cost effective in terms of today's air tanker technology. It is indeed nostalgic.
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Re: Martin Mars Water Bomber

Postby tsayta » Aug 31st, 2015, 8:39 pm

Maybe it's a bit off topic but I always wondered about this.... How many fish end up dropped from the skies on fires? I imagine the huge Mars skimming along a lake picking up unsuspecting trout and dropping them on the fire lines. Days later ground crews tending to fire lines coming across fish
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Re: Martin Mars Water Bomber

Postby Drip_Torch » Aug 31st, 2015, 10:09 pm

I have pretty good idea of who you are now, and I respect your opinion, but...

I know for a fact the MARS has saved me from digging miles of control line. On the IA side I've hiked into the line, after it's done it's thing a number of times and thought, damn that thing just kicked the *bleep* out of my overtime. I've walked away from more than a handful of fires actioned by the MARS without digging an inch of control line. (bad firefighter - I know)

We must remember that like everything else fire control must be done efficiently and be cost effective.


Yes, and as you may know I have hours of video footage that shows just that, a very effective and efficient system of operations that has a remarkable success rate. I also have a few minutes of just plain big heartedness that stops a nothing to get the job done.

I find the commitment to the company lines commendable, and we have to assume that water, (used as a suppressant, or retardant) dropped from an aircraft can't suppress combustion. The cultural norm is expressed as: "Aircraft don't put out fires - it's boots on the ground that accomplish that". Of course that statement has to overlook 10's of thousands of years that water falling from the sky effectively put out fires without any boots on the ground. And, it does so for good reasons.

Water is a short term retardant and you would be surprised how short lived it is on a wildfire.


Here's where I disagree with you - a bit. Plain water is classified as a short term retardant in aerial operations, with long term retardant added, (the red stuff) it becomes more effective, and if a thickener, or surfactant is added it becomes a suppressant - but, it always remains an extinguishing agent, in both roles. I know all to well how short lived water is on a wildfire when used as a retardant, just as I know it remains the ultimate extinguishing agent - (despite our nostalgic interpretation of storm king mtn and romantic feelings towards all things hotshot.)

My point: I often see lines laid to take the energy out of the fire, or I'll see a blanketing action and it's in this role (removing the energy) that I see the MARS as second to none. Litres/Square Metre vs. kW/m (eg: Pine fuel with a fire intensity of 2000 kW/m would require 5.28 litres per square meter, where as, long term retardant would reduce that to 2.2 to achieve a 1 hour hold. (Loane & Gould, 1986) The question in my mind - what if the day comes that sees the use of long term retardant, or a suppressant as something that has too many undesirable consequences? (thinking many significant water sheds) Or what if, the delta values are 1 plus a few paragraphs that you don't have time enough to write? 1 hour, 100 homes,serious MVA, escape route cutoff, 75 cars trapped... Impossible in Coastal? Would we pay a little more attention to effective and a little less to efficient - then?

I know that's it not a great line builder, but I also know it's got a punch.

The whole system is built on the fire triangle: a model that technically isn't correct - right? "Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful." (George Box) It's in looking thru the fire tetrahedron; at the ability to disrupt the chemical chain reaction during the initial release of energy - that I see this tool as having a place in the Coastal tool box.

All of the above - IMHO.
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