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New pilot needs to be trained in order to fly Martin Mars bomber

Summary

Martin Mars water bomber hasn't been flying

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The Martin Mars water bomber has been noticeably absent from the skies over the province’s wildfires lately.

The iconic red-and-white tanker is out of commission because of a medical issue with its only pilot.

Forests Minister Steve Thompson says they’re working hard to fix that — possibly by next week.

“The Coulson Group, which operate the Mars, are working to get a pilot certified and available to fly the plane, so it is currently not available to us.”

The bomber, stationed in Port Alberni, was originally built for the US navy for the Second World War, but has spent more than half a century dropping its 27,000-litre load of water on domestic and international forest fires.

Whether it’ll help fight the Rock Creek fire remains to be seen — Thompson says the Wildfire Service decides when and where to deploy it.