North Island Explorer: Guide to North Vancouver Island



Marten Mars







































Marten Mars Water Bomber Filling Up

A Marten Mars Water Bomber: Skimming the Lower Campbell Lake in front of Loveland Bay on its way to fight a West Coast forest fire.


The Marten Mars Water Bombers

In the dry season, as forest fires erupt in the commercially important fir and cedar forests of North Vancouver Island, the Marten Mars water bombers answer the call. These colossal aircraft, which are also known as water boats, have a 200 ft wingspan and four engines to power their take offs while loaded with water and foam. The Marten Mars can make a drop every fifteen minutes on average with a payload of about 27,000 litres of water.


Originally intended as military long-range bombers, the planes were sold to the Flying Tankers by the United States Navy. They have been in operation as water bombers since 1987. The Marten Mars carries a crew of four and is based out of Sproat Lake near Pt. Alberni. Though the facilities are not designed as a tourist attraction, the company does what it can to accommodate tourists and airplane enthusiasts. There are two aircraft in the fleet doing contract work around the world as crisis situations develop.




Marten Mars About to Fill Up         Flying Low over the Trees

               Marten Mars Filling Up          Marten Mars Overhead        

           Marten Mars Filling Up II          Marten Mars Overhead II    



 References: See the Marten Mars official website run by the Flying Tankers.