Back to home page737-300 "Fireliner" Air Tanker

Home > History and Variants > 737 Classics > Fireliner


Illustrated technical information covering Vol 2 Over 800 multi-choice systems questions Close up photos of internal and external components Illustrated history and description of all variants of 737 Databases and reports of all the major 737 accidents & incidents History and Development of the Boeing 737 - MAX General flightdeck views of each generation of 737's Technical presentations of 737 systems by Chris Brady Detailed tech specs of every series of 737 A collection of my favourite photographs that I have taken of or from the 737 Press reports of orders and deliveries Details about 737 production methods A compilation of links to other sites with useful 737 content Study notes and technical information A compilation of links to major 737 news stories with a downloadable archive A quick concise overview of the pages on this site


Specialist firefighting company Coulson Aviation of Canada has converted six ex-Southwest 737-300s into aerial firefighters, known as "Fireliners". The aircraft have a 4,000-gallon capacity.

The air tanker is a multi-use aircraft with the ability to carry passengers. Coulson said, “With a full retardant load and 4.5 hours of fuel we are so far under max gross weight we are going to leave the full interior and galleys in even when just in airtanker mode.”

Conversion of the first aircraft (N617SW) began in 2017, it was then repainted at Spokane in May 2017. The gravity-based tanks of the retardant system were complete in December 2017. The first conversion was done by Coulson Aircrane Canada. The second aircraft, Tanker 138, arrived April 2018 at the Port Alberni Facility and was converted with the RADS XXL tanking system for aerial firefighting.

On 13 July 2018 air tanker T-137 made its first drops while flying out of San Bernardino, California. Britt Coulson said, “The 4,000 USG RADS-XXL/2 performed perfectly as did the airplane. Our flight crew couldn’t have been happier with the handling characteristics and our split tank worked as designed with no CG shift during the drop.” Next week they will finish flight testing with the FAA, and will soon begin static tests of the tank system. They are working with the Forest Service to schedule the grid test. Mr. Coulson expects Tanker 137 will be ready to fight fire in August.

In 2019 the Australian NSW Rural Fire Service has leased a Fireliner, known as 'Gaia' for around $2.5 million a year. The type is known as "Large Air Tanker" in Australia. The aircraft is also named "Marie Bashir" as a tribute to the first female governor.

See more details about the book

All of the information, photographs & schematics from this website and much more is now available in a 374 page printed book or in electronic format.

*** Updated 23 Nov 2020 ***

The 737 Tech Site on Facebook The 737 Tech Site on Twitter The 737 Tech Site on Instagram The 737 Tech Site on Instagram

Photo by Jeremy Ulloa

Footer block