Martin Mars firefighting on Mount Wilson

The Martin JRM Mars you see here is a re-purposed maritime patrol aircraft, meant to hunt down enemy subs and shipping during the Second World War.  It has since been converted to a firefighting tanker, which is one of the few applications where flying boats still find themselves useful.  If you wanted to find work piloting these majestic craft today, your career would almost certainly be centered around firefighting work.

There aren’t too many opportunities to see enormous flying boats in action, mostly because there are very few flying boat airframes that didn’t get sent to the breakers. The flying boat’s primary advantage was that any place with calm water could be used as a base or refuelling stop. But after the Second World War, advances in engine technology and efficiency gave land-based planes much improved range and speed, so fewer refuelling stops were required.  Very few of the flying boats that survived the postwar purge are still airworthy.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.