Over 90 FireBoss aircraft have so far been delivered since the aircraft was certified in 2006. The magical 100th sale is expected in the fourth quarter according to the FireBoss’ Global Sales Director, Steve Johnson. “The aircraft is a basic AT-802 airframe fitted with Wipaire floats and when in fire-fighting configuration is comparable in cost to the Bell 205 helicopter.”
FireBoss generally attach the Wipaire floats to the AT802 although the more established operators like Conair and Airspray can fulfil their own needs.
There is clearly a reluctance by some of the aerial fire-fighting companies to acquire the FireBoss even though its costs are comparable to a helicopter. In the USA, Dauntless Air from Appleton, Minnesota operates five and Chico-based AirSpray has seven.
Steve told Alan Warnes: “The FireBoss on exclusive use, costs $4,500 per day, and an operational cost of $4,500. Compare that to a helicopter like the K-Max which costs between $14-15,000 a
a day and operational cost of $2,000 per flight hours and you can see which one would provide better value for money.” Steve goes on to add, “the K-Max drops 635 gallons whereas the
FireBoss uses a 800 gallon tank and the FireBoss is more versatile than a helicopter and can loiter for longer.”