A Vintage Flying Boat with Modern Touch of Garmin


Getting a new lease on life is what we hope for all war-weary warbirds, especially those that would otherwise be destined for the scrapyard. Finding a renewed role as a cargo hauler or airliner were the common course for many aircraft that could be easily adapted. But after the conclusion of World War II, a more unique mission was being developed that utilize many aircraft initially designed to carry bombs and war materials: aerial firefighting.


The Martin Mars flying boat, nicknamed ‘Hawaii Mars,’ operated by Coulson Flying Tankers is living proof of an airframe saved from extinction. One of just seven aircraft built for the U.S. Navy as a cargo transport seaplane during the World War II era, this mammoth 4-engined fire bomber (with each engine generating 2,500 horsepower!) was perfect for the job. Fully loaded, the Mars can make a drop of more than 7,000 gallons – then return for a water landing for a 25-second reloading “scoop.” The Mars is such a large and complex aircraft that a crew of four is required to make sure the plane stays in order: a captain, first officer, and two flight engineers.

Aerial firefighting has long been regarded as one of the most daring aviation ventures out there, and operating an airplane with a wingspan greater than a Boeing 747 in this environment makes it that much more difficult. Despite the airframe being 1940’s vintage, the instrument panel is much more modern. Sporting dual Garmin G600’s with Synthetic Vision, pilots are able to navigate even the most treacherous terrains at low altitude while maintaining their situation awareness. Imagine trying to navigate low-level mountainous terrain in smoky fire conditions…those pilots have guts!

Martin Mars G600

Hundreds of thousands of people had the opportunity to see the Mars in action at EAA’s Oshkosh AirVenture 2016. With multiple water drop demonstrations during the week, and takeoffs and landings from the seaplane base, spectators got the opportunity to see a piece of history. There will undoubtedly never be a seaplane built again that compares to the Mars, and we thank Coulson Flying Tankers for giving us and many others the chance to appreciate it. For the latest cool stories, product announcements and news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The post A Vintage Flying Boat with Modern Touch of Garmin appeared first on Garmin Blog.

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