A Hillsboro company has won a contract with the US Forest Service to deliver two of the next generation air tankers it will use to fight future wildfires.
Hillsboro-based, Aero-Air LLC will provide the Forest Service with two modified commercial airliners. Each is capable of dropping 4000 gallons of retardant from the skies above. The Forest Service also announced contracts with three other Western companies to deliver a total of 7 next-generation air tankers by next year.
The announcement came just after the President signed a bill intended to speed up the agency's contracting process. Federal statutes had required 30-day waiting period before the Forest Service could award the contracts. But after a June 3rd tanker crash claimed the lives of two pilots in Utah, Oregon Senator Wyden introduced legislation to waive that waiting period.
Aero-Air will both own and operate the two planes as part of their contract with the Forest Service. How much that contract is worth will depend what the fire season is like. The company's contract begins in 2013. That year the money paid whether the plane flies on a given day or not - will be around $26,000 a day.