PRINCETON -- A day after wildfires swept through the state of Minnesota, the Department of Natural Resources displayed its new firefighting aircraft Friday in Princeton.

The new FireBoss firefighting aircraft holds hundreds of gallons of water in its floats, which can be filled either on the ground or on a body of water.

The floats beneath the FireBoss were manufactured by WipAire, Inc. The company's President and COO Charlie Wiplinger says their floats make the aircraft more effective in combating wildfires.

"When [the aircraft] comes down on a body of water, the scoops will deploy ... and it takes about 14 seconds to scoop up 800 gallons of water," Wiplinger says.

"So through a series of these aircraft and ones without floats, [the DNR] will have an effective firefighting arsenal."

The FireBoss has a fan in pilot Keaton Mitchell, who flew the new aircraft on Thursday.

"The thing that I really liked the most about it is how effect that airplane can be," Mitchell says.

"You can show up to a fire that's absolutely blazing and ... we can really do a lot of work."


Photo by Isaac Schweer, WJON