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The main base of operations for Flying Tankers inc. is situated on Sproat Lake near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island.
Flying Tankers Inc. was formed in 1959 by a consortium of forest companies after experiencing several catastrophic fire seasons. The new company then purchased the remaining four of the world's only fleet of mighty Martin Mars aircraft from the US Navy.

Today Coulson Flying Tankers is the newest division of Coulson Aircrane Ltd. Coulson's have for many years been operating a fleet of Sikorski S61 heavy lift helicoptors, and have determined that efficiencies gained over the years have "freed up" flying time and are now able to offer Mars services which were largely restricted to the owners in previous years. In short, the Mars are spreading their 200 foot (61 meter) wingspan to provide protection on a callout service or contract basis to any company or agency requiring the unique initial attack and sustained action qualities of the Mars. NO OTHER AIRCRAFT CAN DELIVER A MASSIVE 60,000 POUND (27,216 KILOGRAM) PAYLOAD AS QUICKLY AS THE MARS AND CONTINUE TO DELIVER IT EVERY FEW MINUTES FOR SEVERAL HOURS OR UNTIL THE PROBLEM IS SOLVED.
During the fire season, the aircraft are kept in a state of readiness to meet the existing fire hazard conditions. They can be in the air in ten minutes and, based on historical data, each can make a drop every fifteen minutes. Working in tandem, this equates to 7,200 US gallons (27,276 litres) every seven minutes and each drop can cover an area of up to 4 acres (1.6 hectares). It has often been said that the Mars, with a 60,000 pound (27,216 kilogram) payload of foam, is like "hand-grenades or horseshoes - close is good enough" but such is not the case. The highly experienced Mars pilots, working closely with the fire boss, deliver the water or foam right where it is needed.
"The Biggest and the Best" is our motto at Coulson Flying Tankers. The sheer size of the Martin Mars aircraft alone, never mind the incredible amount of water it drops, has determined that we have a very rare and unique commodity available to offer in the business of aerial fire suppression.
View the Martin Mars aircraft in action. Our video takes you through a sky high run with the Flying Tankers.
The main base of operations for Coulson Flying Tankers is situated on Sproat Lake near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island. Integrated maintenance, operations and administration are housed in modern facilities and the company is virtually self-sufficient in all respects.

While Sproat Lake is situated in the heart of the coastal forest industry, it is also a well-known tourist and holiday area. A steady stream of aircraft buffs, tourists and the curious from around the world visit the facility year-round to see the Mars, fill their photo and video albums, purchase Mars memorabilia and enjoy the surroundings. Although Flying Tankers is not staffed or equipped as a tourist facility, we do what we can to accommodate visitors.
Wayne Coulson - Chief Executive Officer
Jim Messer - Chief Operations Officer
Send us your requests or questions using the CONTACT form and we will respond as soon as possible
Check out our gallery of photos of the Martin Mars, Flying Tankers. If you would like to submit photos for us to post on our site send your request using the CONTACT form and we'll let you know how.
For more information on Martin Mars and Coulson Flying Tankers. Please contact us by using the CONTACT form or by fax or phone


The Coulson Group of Companies
Corporate Offices

4890 Cherry Creek Road
Port Alberni BC, Canada V9Y - 8E9
Tel: 250.724.7600
Fax: 250.723.7766