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Coulson Aviation acquires Southwest Boeing 737-700 for waterbomber conversion

Coulson Aviation has acquired its first Boeing 737-700 aircraft, which will be converted into the world’s highest-capacity Large Air Tanker (LAT).

The acquired aircraft is a 23.3-year-old Boeing 737-700 that was previously operated by Southwest Airlines under the registration N7841A. The Canadian-based company plans to acquire up to 10 of the former Southwest Boeing 737-700 aircraft. The low-cost US carrier has already provided 6 Boeing 737-300s to Coulson Aviation in the past.

“Our new 737-700 Next Gen FIRELINER program will build on our existing 737-300 platform which has been extremely successful for us,” Britt Coulson, President and COO of Coulson Aviation, commented. “The FIRELINER platform has been the go-to Large Air Tanker for foreign governments to purchase due to its unique multi-role capability allowing it to transport passengers when not deployed on active firefighting missions as well as supports a streamlined process in finding both flight and maintenance crew and aircraft parts.”   

According to Coulson Aviation, the Next Gen FIRELINER features a 5,000 US gallons (19,000 liter) payload, reduced fuel consumption, extended range, and higher speed. This places the aircraft in the higher range of the LAT class. With up to double the volume of competing LATs, it can swiftly reach fires, improving the success of initial attack missions to keep fires small.

For comparison, a Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) based on airframes such as the Boeing 747 or the DC-10 can deliver over 8,000 US gallons (30,000 liters) of fire retardant.

Coulson Aviation was the first to modify a Boeing 737 for firefighting. The first aircraft, nicknamed Gaia, was deployed in Australia to assist the New South Wales Rural Fire Service in November 2018.

The post Coulson Aviation acquires Southwest Boeing 737-700 for waterbomber conversion appeared first on AeroTime.

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