US-based Erickson Aero Tanker received Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for its MD-87 passenger-to-firefighting tanker program.
Erickson has so far converted three MD-87s for sister company Aero Air, which acquired seven of the type in late 2012.
Following the award of the STC, Aero Air put two of them into service this month with the US Interagency Air Tanker Board on 18-month contracts (the maximum contract length allowable for a new type). The photo at right shows the first flight of the tanker on a live mission.
If the new tankers perform as expected, the US Forest Service will likely push for a total of ten.