DC-10 Air Tanker @ KHLN

Hi guys!

Fire season is pretty bad in Montana, and sometimes the smoke is so thick that you can hardly breathe outside, but there is one perk…

Yesterday I was headed up to local Helena, MT for a shopping trip when one of my buddies on Instagram notified me that a DC-10 Air Tanker was stationed at the local airport to help fight the Bobcat fire near Billings. So, as you can guess, I took a small detour to take some photos of this awesome aircraft. It was spending a lot of time in the air and was only taking 30 minute breaks to refill, but I got there just in time to see it taxi off the runway and to the aerial firefighting pad at the airport, where I took tons of photos and videos of it before it left again. Here are my best:

There are only 3 of these massive aerial firefighters, which were converted from passenger variants in 2006. They are used to drop retardant on large forest fires all over the world (even Australia), and are rarely used in this area, but they are right now! This is by far the largest and most unique aircraft I’ve ever gotten a chance to see in Montana. These aircraft are very popular in the aviation community, are often talked about on the news, and there is even one in Infinite Flight. Now I can say I’ve seen one in real life!


This airplane looks absolutely unreal and I have never seen such close pictures of it before. Very interesting, thank you!

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Absolutely awesome work! It would be awesome to see that thing in person. Sad that it has to go out every day and fight fires though…

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Very nice catch! I happened to see 915 about two weeks ago on a road trip. Massive for a fire tanker!

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