The sole survivor, it is moored on Vancouver Island's Sproat Lake a short drive west of Port Alberni. It's the giant, Hawaii Mars, the last of what once was a small fleet of the biggest flying boats ever built, successfully converted into massive water bombers.
|Yeah, That Big.|
When, several years ago, I retired to the island I quickly learned of this deep affection the locals had for these Mars water bombers that they saw as their guardians against the threat of forest fires. These planes were beloved, literally venerated.
|Sproat Lake, Home Base|
A couple of years ago the British Columbia government washed its hands of the Mars, claiming there were more cost-effective alternatives to dousing forest fires. Now, it seems, they've sobered up and think they might want the big red and white giant in the skies again.
Wayne Coulson, CEO of the company that owns and operates the Mars, says there's been a "certain public outcry" to return it to service. Now there's an understatement. Its first job could be right on its doorstep, a forest fire that's burning adjacent to Sproat Lake. Maybe that's a sign, I don't know.