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Originally ordered for the U.S. Navy the Martin Mars was first flown in July 1942. Only five were produced - the four survivors were rebuilt and purchased by a consortium of British Columbia forest industry companies. When the first Mars arrived in Victoria in August 1959 work began immediately to convert it to D.O.T. standards and as a water bomber with the installation of tanks, intake probes and dumping door. On March 8, 1960 the converted plane flew for the first time. It scooped up six thousand gallons of water in fifteen seconds which when dumped at 150-200 feet at 140 m.p.h. may cover four acres. 

The basic specifications of the plane:

 
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