View Full Version : Ooops, my site visit just got interrupted...

08-17-2007, 12:28 AM
Mars interruptus going on here....
My playing around on HSM just got interrupted by a wonderful low fly-by from one of the Martin Mars waterbombers heading back to Sproat Lake base on Vancouver Island. Love the sound of 4 BIG radials too...
This was from N. Van. 5 min. ago....

08-17-2007, 12:47 AM
I just got back from Italy where water bombers were running non-stop fighting fires. As a kid I used to watch the Martins come and go from Keehi Lagoon in Hawaii. I got to wondering about them a few days ago and what had happened to them and if any had been used for water bombers. I was amazed to see they're still flying up the road from me (I'm in Seattle). The webpage they have set up is pretty nice - good to see those old giants still flying. They have a huge parts warehouse that is filled with new old stock stuff so they should be able to keep them flying until the last jug blows.

Found the link: http://www.martinmars.com/

We have a second home in Oroville, WA on the south end of Lake Osoyoos and one day a few years ago on the Canadian side there was a pretty good blaze burning so they called in one of the Martins. My wife took these pictures from our front deck:


Just looked closer and they were both flying that day :)

The smaller Italian bomber can be seen down the page here: http://thevirtualbarandgrill.com/italy/Page5.html

08-17-2007, 01:13 AM
The bombers have been working here today too. We just had a massive thunderstorm go over a couple of hours ago, snapping and snarling. Lots of close strikes. Good thing it dumped a lot of rain too.

08-17-2007, 01:18 AM
I wonder what happened to the plans to sell the Mars water bombers?

08-17-2007, 01:22 AM
I wonder what happened to the plans to sell the Mars water bombers?

Prolly figured out they still need them.

08-17-2007, 01:23 AM
I remember when I was a kid, they used surplus SBDs, (WWII Torpedo Bombers) to drop borate.
NOW that was some thing to see them just about cutting tree tops going across town to fight a fire. We had a big one come right up to the city limits one year

08-17-2007, 01:25 AM
Maybe McMinnville, Oregon will buy them and park them with the Spruce Goose.


08-17-2007, 01:30 AM
I recall reading something in the Sun or Province (Pravda) about Forest Industies Flying Tankers (the consortium that operates the Martin Mars's) having a change of heart. I don't know if the provincial gov't had a hand in it or not but I'd like to think that somebody realized that once in a while you need a heavy water bomber to give a good soaking....Aside from the free airshows....
Nothing like being able to drop a swimming pool full of water or retardant on a blaze.....
It's a big step up from a Beaver with dump tanks on the floats or dropping paper bags full of water on a fire. (I read that was tried somewhere, Ontario I think....)

08-17-2007, 01:38 AM
I used to work for the guys that converted the Mars to water bombers. Jack Kingerlee and Victor Bitten, co owners of Sidney Aircraft Repair at the Pat Bay Airport in Sannich.

08-17-2007, 09:25 AM
I remember when I was a kid, they used surplus SBDs, (WWII Torpedo Bombers) to drop borate.

Isn't the plane shown in the picture a Grumman TBM (or TBF) instead of a Douglas SBD? The SBD (Dauntless or Big-Assed Bird) looks similar but is a smaller bird.

If memory serves, James Garner (Maverick/Rockford on TV) had one (TBM) he flew his buds around in some years ago. Bush #1 flew (and ditched) one in WWII also.

Love them ol' warbirds!:)

08-17-2007, 11:02 AM
I stand corrected


08-17-2007, 11:10 PM
Oops, now I gotta correct myself!

After seeing your pic of an SBD (Slow But Deadly) I realized I wuz WRONG.

Calling an SBD a "Big-Assed Bird" is incorrect. Th Curtiss SB2C Helldiver was called the "Big-Assed Bird"....for obvious reasons.:)

08-18-2007, 12:43 AM
And an even bigger "big assed" plane: http://www.fleetairarmarchive.net/Aircraft/Kingfisher.htm

08-18-2007, 02:30 AM
And the plane with the biggest assed tail:
(aka "the aluminum overcast")