Minden Air BAe 146 air tanker begins drop tests

Minden BAe 146 air tanker N446MA

Minden BAe 146 air tanker N446MA at Minden-Tahoe Airport (Derek Gaynor)

Minden Air began drop tests with its ‘Fireliner’ BAe 146 air tanker conversion on 18 June. As called for by the Interagency Air Tanker Board, BAe 146-200 N446MA/Tanker 46 (msn E2111) has been dropping retardant over a field of thousands of plastic cups. The amount of retardant in each cup is then measured to determine the distribution and density of retardant dropped. N446MA/Tanker 46 was modified by Minden to carry a 3,100 US gal internal tank. The company was awarded a ‘next generation’ contract for its 146 in June 2013, but has missed its contractual start date.

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