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Air Tractor Gains Traction In Coronavirus Fight

CDC To Use The Aircraft For Spot Applications Of Disinfectant

Aero-News April 1 Special Edition

In an effort to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, the U.S. Government has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the purchase of 250 AT-802F Aerial Spraying platforms/aircraft. The deal is valued at $300 million, with an additional open purchase order for spare parts, tooling, GSE equipment and support personnel for the next 5 years.

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has commissioned a special branch to coordinate these aircraft into the ongoing endeavor to combat the spread of the virus. This branch, dubbed ATC (Air Tractor Control), will be the primary governing body responsible for the implementation of the US effort to control and eradicate this new health threat. The public is cautioned not to confuse the other government entity ATC (Air Traffic Control) with this ongoing effort.

The aircraft will be utilized to apply a mixture of hand sanitizer and alcohol over specified areas. This compound, named SANITOL, will be mixed on site and transferred to waiting aircraft, which will then take off to spray specific areas. College campuses, parking lots of malls and shopping centers, schools and other common areas will be among the designated targets.

The versatile aircraft can be used where limited landing-takeoff distances are restricted. Due to the short notice of this purchase, Air Tractor will be offering buy-back options to all present owners of their aircraft at the full purchase price. Aircraft not meeting airworthiness standards will be slightly depreciated in value, but will be pushed to the front of the line to get them back into flight status. A special rework facility has been designated off site, to handle this influx of used aircraft.

President Trump Tweeted: “I love this idea. These aircraft are bright blue, beautiful color. Best color ever. I love it.”

As this program literally gets off the ground, other aircraft are being considered for more specialized applications where loitering and concentrations of required applicants are required. The aircraft being considered include rotary aircraft (helicopters), commercial drones and hot air balloons.

Confirmed sources have also gleaned information regarding the movement of large quantities of SANITOL to areas hardest hit by the Coronavirus outbreak. Direct application to areas in need of a large concentrations (FOG) for direct virus suppression will be treated most efficiently via larger aircraft. The aircraft being considered are the venerable KC-10, KC-135, P2V and DC-10 in firefighting and some cargo variants.

Areas under consideration for this use include small areas of the ocean. Cruise ships with suspected cases of Covid-19 will then sail into and loiter in the generated cloud for periods of up to 48 hours for disinfection. Many other applications are also being considered.



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