Brad Tuttle and the Inception of 10 Tanker
Brad Tuttle began work in the aviation industry in 1983. As a civil engineer college student, he decided to switch career paths and follow his aspirations in aviation. He attended an A&P school in Tulsa, Oklahoma and began his career working with the original owners of what eventually became 10 Tanker Air Carrier. Brad was a key player in the eventual addition of the DC-10 to aerial firefighting.
In 2002, discussions began to transition a DC-10 commercial jetliner to a firefighting machine. The planes were being phased out of the Omni Air International fleet, and they believed in the role the DC-10 could have within aerial firefighting. By 2003, the project entered research and development with 1 tank installed. Retardant test drops were completed in Victorville, CA with the help of industry experts.
By January of 2004, the owners moved forward with a program that would allow the installation of retardant tanks on the bottom of the DC-10 and would obtain an STC (Supplemental Type Certificate) from the FAA. With the help of engineers, this program progressed through the design, manufacturing, installation, and use of the tanks, while simultaneously working toward the proper certification from the FAA. Brad helped coordinate all certifications, including the FAA. A little more than two years later, the STC was issued to 10 Tanker Air Carrier.
Now that the FAA certification was complete, the next phase of the program was to gain approval from the Forest Service. The DC-10 had to complete acceptable coverage and flow levels. During the time frame of the Forest Service protocol, CalFire signed the first contract for the aerial firefighting version of the DC-10 in the late summer of 2006. This led to future work with CalFire, leading to Forest Service contracts in 2009.
Now in 2022, Brad is a tremendous resource to 10 Tanker and an aircraft fleet that drops retardant worldwide.