That was awesome - hearing that thing running at full power during takeoff & the climbout must sound like the end of the world.
On a somewhat related note, after seeing an episode of The Deadliest Catch a few years back in which a vessel sank something like 900 miles from the nearest USCG base and all they had available for rescue were Jayhawks that had to travel 7 hours one way, is there any mechanical or technical reason why USCG C130s couldn't be converted to a floatplane design? They'd be able to arrive in about 1/3 the time, which would greatly increase the odds of survival for sailors in the water, and even if seas were too rough for them to land they'd still be able to drop rafts.
I vaguely recall there might have been floats made for the C-130...I kmow they made floats for the DC-3 which surprised the heck out of me when I first heard of it.
As for the Mars waterbombers, they are BIG! When I was a kid, we went on a trip in BC, and found the lake where they were based, and we launched our little boat to go have a look...well, the wing pontoons, were about the same size as our boat!!! Big planes. Not quite Spruce Goose, but big. They are expensive to maintain, but are maintained well. They have saved lives and houses. And saved jobs (hard to be a lumberjack when your forest burned down!). A few years ago this plane, among many other smaller waterbombers, and thousands of firefighters, volunteers and regular citizens, saved the town of Kelowna from a raging forest fire.
In August 2003, a nearby wildfire destroyed over 200 homes and forced the temporary evacuation of approx. 30,000 residents. During the 2003 fire, many trestles of the historic Kettle Valley Railway were destroyed. All the trestles have been rebuilt to look like the originals but using smaller dimension beams.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelowna