|00||Aero Union Corp||P-3A||N900AU||5104||PHOTO|
|01||Aero Union Corp||SP-2H||N701AU||726-7190||PHOTO|
|02||Aero Union Corp||C-54A||N11712||3088; became C-FBAJ||PHOTO|
|03||Aero Union Corp||-||-||not assigned||NO PHOTO|
|04||Neptune, Inc||-||-||not assigned||NO PHOTO|
|05||Neptune, Inc||P-2E||N96278||426-5340||PHOTO , 2, 3|
|07||Estrella Warbirds Museum||P-2E||N807NA||426-5305||Ex/N1386K||PHOTO|
|09||Neptune, Inc||P-2H||N4235T||726-7285||Crashed 01Sep08||PHOTO|
|10||Neptune, Inc||P-2H||N4235N||726-7158||Preserved @Missoula||PHOTO|
|11||Neptune, Inc||P-2H||N14447||826-8010||Crashed 03Jun12||PHOTO|
|13||Aero Union Corp||C-54D||N62342||10613; became C-FBAK||PHOTO|
|14||Aero Union Corp||C-54E||N62297||27328||PHOTO|
|15||Aero Union Corp||C-54G||N2742G||36089||PHOTO|
|16||Aero Union Corp||SP-2H||N716AU||726-7065||PHOTO #2|
|17||Aero Union Corp||P-3A||N917AU||5036||PHOTO|
|18||Aero Union Corp||SP-2H||N718AU||726-7214||PHOTO|
|20||Aero Union Corp||P-3A||N920AU||5039||PHOTO|
|21||Aero Union Corp||P-3A||N921AU||5098||PHOTO|
|22||Aero Union Corp||P-3A||N922AU||5100||2018: opb Buffalo Aws||PHOTO|
|23||Aero Union Corp||P-3A||N923AU||5085||2018: opb Airstrike||PHOTO|
|25||Aero Union Corp||P-3A||N925AU||5074||2018: opb Airstrike||PHOTO|
|26||Aero Union Corp||P-3B||N926AU||5171; cr. 20Apr05||PHOTO|
|27||Aero Union Corp||P-3A||N927AU||5082||PHOTO|
|30||International Air Response, Inc.||C-130A||N116TG||3086; cr. 06Sep00||Crash report on ASN||PHOTO|
|31||International Air Response, Inc.||C-130A||N117TG||3018||PHOTO|
|32||International Air Response, Inc.||C-130||N118TG||3219||PHOTO|
|33||International Air Response, Inc.||DC-7B||N4887C||45351||PHOTO|
|37||Hirth Air Tankers||PV-2||N7458C||15-1200; stored||PHOTO|
|38||Hirth Air Tankers||PV-2||N6856C||15-1156; cr. 20Apr97||PHOTO|
|39||Hirth Air Tankers||PV-2||N7080C||15-1465; for sale||PHOTO|
|42||Neptune Inc||P-2H||N442NA||7286|| Ex Bu 150283, N712AU
|43||Neptune Inc||P-2H||N443NA||7168||Ex H&P, T139||PHOTO|
|45||Neptune Inc||P-2H||N445NA|| 7102
2018 to Yankee Air Museum
| Ex H&P, T140.
In 2006 it was allocated T45.
|48||Minden Air||SP-2H||N4692A||726-7247||Scrapped at Fresno
|55||Minden Air Inc||P-2V||N355MA||726-7229||PHOTO|
|60||Erickson Aero Air||DC-7B||N838D||45347||see note below||PHOTO|
|62||Erickson Aero Air||DC-7||N401US||45145||see note below||PHOTO|
|63||TBM, Inc||C-130A||N473TM||3081||To Castle Air Museum, reported Nov.2015||PHOTO|
|65||TBM, Inc||C-54E||N8502R||27367||Ferried 02Aug08 to Fairbanks for Brooks||PHOTO|
|66||Erickson Aero Air||DC-7||N6353C||45486||see note below||PHOTO|
|67||Butler Aircraft Svcs||DC-7||N6318C||44282||Scrapped 2007, pics||PHOTO|
|68||TBM, Inc||DC-6||N90739||43044||Scrapped 2007, pics||PHOTO|
|74||CDF||S-2A||N411DF||476||Wheels up landing 20Jul01,
preserved Paso Robles museum
|75||CDF||S-2||N420DF||388||replaced;fate?|| PHOTO 1
|90||CDF||S-2A||N450DF||421; cr 27Aug01||PHOTO|
|93||Cal Fire||S-2T||N450DF (2)||228C||PHOTO|
|94||CDF||S-2A||N404DF||175||preserved @Weed Apr,CA since Aug05||PHOTO|
|97||Hawkins & Powers||KC-97||N1365N||16729||PHOTO|
|99||Minden Air Inc||P-2H||N299MA||726-7211; cr. 03Oct03||PHOTO|
|100||Cal Fire||S-2T||N441DF||277c||ex/ S-2G 152808||PHOTO|
|102||Central Air Service||C-54E||N816D||27376||PHOTO|
|105||Central Air Service||C-54D||N96454||10864||PHOTO|
|109||Central Air Service||C-54D||N6816D||27368||PHOTO|
|111||Central Air Service||C-54E||N96541||10592||PHOTO|
|115||Airborne Fire Attack||PBY-6A||N324FA||2162||PHOTO|
|117||Central Air Service||DC-4||N31356||42914; sold||PHOTO|
|119||ARDCO||C-54G||N406WA||35944; for sale||PHOTO|
|121||Hawkins & Powers||PB4Y-2||N2871G||66302; for sale||PHOTO|
|123||Hawkins & Powers||PB4Y-2||N7620C||66260; cr. 18Jul02||PHOTO|
|124||Hawkins & Powers||PB4Y-2||N2872G||66300; for sale||PHOTO|
|126||Hawkins & Powers||PB4Y-2||N7962C||59882; for sale||PHOTO|
|127||Hawkins & Powers||PB4Y-2||N6884C||59701; for sale||PHOTO|
|131||Hawkins & Powers||C-130A||N131HP||3142||PHOTO|
|133||Hawkins & Powers||C-130A||N133HP||3189||PHOTO|
|134||Coulson||EC-130Q||N134CG||4904||Cvtd 2017, reg'd on 18Jan18. BuN.161496||PHOTO|
|138||Hawkins & Powers||P-2T||N138HP||7223; turbo conversion not completed||PHOTO|
|139||Hawkins & Powers||P-2H||N139HP||7168|| To Neptune Inc, 2006,
|140||Hawkins & Powers||P-2H||N140HP||7102|| To Neptune Inc, 2006,
|142||Evergreen Helicopters||P2V-5||N203EV||5228||To Neptune Inc,
|143||Evergreen Helicopters||P2V-5||N204EV||10665; not tanked?||ex BuN.: 128378
preserved at Travis
|144||Evergreen Helicopters||P2V-5||N205EV||5212; not tanked?||PHOTO?|
||Neptune Inc||P2V-5||N410NA||5367||ex N206EV T145 Evergreen||PHOTO|
|146||Central Air Service||C-54E||N67061||10560||PHOTO|
|147||Central Air Service||C-54D||N67040||27232||PHOTO|
|148||Central Air Service||C-54E||N67062||10741||PHOTO|
|149||Central Air Service||C-54D||N67041||10665; not tanked||PHOTO?|
|150||Central Air Service||C-54D||N67034||22202||PHOTO|
|158||SLAFCO||PBY-6A||N9825Z||2177; for sale||PHOTO|
|166||Hemet Valley Flying Srvc||C-54G||N90203||35934||PHOTO|
|262||Aero Flite||CL-215||N262NR||1081||Opb Minnesota Dept of Natural Resources||PHOTO|
|263||Minnesota Dept of Natural Resources||CL-215||N263NR||1082||PHOTO|
|266|| Minnesota Dept of
|To illustrate the tie and identification of airtanker numbers and tailnumber are not always straightforward, see this email on airtanker numbers used by H&P by a former crewmember:
"I have some insight on some of these aircraft, as I flew for H & P for some time. To solve the mystery of the various numbers, you will need to get with the USFS and/or USDA. For a few years, they had the practice of assigning tanker numbers.
There wasn't much logic involved in these numbers. As the various operators around the country would send in the paper work to register their aircraft for the up-coming fire season it would be given a number. If it already had a number, it stayed. But if you swapped an aircraft one year that didn't have a number, they would give it a number that was not used on the list.
As a result an operator might operate 6 aircraft and have tanker numbers 06, 123, 86, 29, 101, 137. If one became un-flyable before the next year, it did not pick up the number of the one it replaced. It might be 22, or any other of number you can think of.
In the case of N-numbers, they have nothing to do with serial number of the aircraft and can at best possible aid you in tracking the aircraft from year to year-sadly, however, may not have anything to do with a particular aircraft. I have seen some aircraft with a different tanker number every other year. Even some had a different N number every few years...
As you may have noticed, many of Gene's aircraft had N-numbers which ended in HP. At one time, he got a block of these numbers from the FAA. Those numbers were swapped around on various aircraft almost yearly!
It was simply a matter a writing the FAA a letter and officially moving the 'registration number' to a different aircraft.
I flew the C97 (B377), C-119 and PB4Y as well as other 'stuff' he might have around."
Ed Brewer sent me, alongside some photos, a request for information on Campbell Airstrip, in Anchorage, Alaska:
John Vogel noticed my interest in vintage aircraft and airtankers, so he sent some images along.
N446DF was taken at Mather Field,CA in May 1996.
From my files I have that this is Grumman S-2A Tracket, c/n 175 ex/ BuNo 133204.
John wrote about this image: "There should be some S-2 aircraft preserved at Weed Airport, California since August 2005, but I am not really sure which aircraft might be there.
Photo taken at McClellan Park in August 2007.
Here are some more air tanker pictures, this time of N443DF (c/n 195).
|Top picture of Grumman S-2A N436DF (c/n 445) was taken at Rancho Murietta, California in July 91. Note that the tanker is in the old CDF yellow/green color.
Below pictures of N436DF was taken at Mather in August 2007. It appears the doors in the bottom of the aircraft have been removed. The registration had been painted over.
See also my photos of a 2008 visit to CDF airtanker base at Hemet-Ryan,CA
Jim Long sent this photo of a Grumman F7F Tigercat, reconfigured as an airtanker...
The Grumman F7F Tigercat was the first twin-engined fighter aircraft to enter service with the United States Navy. Designed for the new Midway-class aircraft carriers, the aircraft were too large to operate from earlier decks. Although delivered to United States Marine Corps (USMC) combat units before the end of World War II, the Tigercat did not see combat service in that war. Most F7Fs ended up in land-based service, as attack aircraft or night fighters; only the later F7F-4N was certified for carrier service. They saw service in the Korean War and were withdrawn from service in 1954.
Jim continued with more photos...
Information from the Goleta Air & Space Museum ('virtual'), which offers a generous selection of photos and individual B-17 tanker histories:
|1||Prov of Saskatchewan||CS2F-2||C-GEHP||DH-97||PHOTO|
|2||Prov of Saskatchewan||Conair Firecat||C-GWHK||16 (DH-37)||PHOTO|
|3||Prov of Saskatchewan||CS2F-2||C-GEHR||DH-51||PHOTO REQ'D|
|4||Prov. of Saskatchewan||CS2F-2||C-GEQC||DH-53||PHOTO|
|5||Prov. of Saskatchewan||CS2F-2||C-GEQD||DH-98||PHOTO|
|6||Prov. of Saskatchewan||CS2F-3||C-GEQE||DH-92||PHOTO|
|49||Conair||Convair 580 F/SCD||C-FKFL||465||PHOTO|
|214 (35)||Prov. of Saskatchewan||CL-215-1A10||C-FYWO||1003||PHOTO REQ'D|
|215||Prov. of Saskatchewan||CL-215-1A10||C-FYXG||1009||PHOTO|
|216||Prov. of Saskatchewan||CL-215-1A10||C-FAFN||1093||PHOTO REQ'D|
|217||Prov.of Saskatchewan||CL-215-1A10||C-FAFO||1094||PHOTO REQ'D|
|218||Prov. of Saskatchewan||CL-215-1A10||C-FAFP||1100||PHOTO|
|219||Prov.of Saskatchewan||CL-215-1A10||C-FAFQ||1101||PHOTO REQ'D|
|299||Buffalo Aws||CL-215-1A10||C-GFNF||1027||PHOTO ?|
|703||Buffalo Aws||PBY-5A Canso||C-FOFI||CV-343||PHOTO|
|708||Buffalo Aws||PBY-5A Canso||C-FUAW||CV-201||PHOTO|
|714||Buffalo Aws||PBY-5A Canso||C-FPQM||CV-425||PHOTO|
|776||Buffalo Aws||PBY-5A Canso||C-GFFC||CV-483||PHOTO|
Kit Robinson ('Kitzky992002') wrote a nice explanation on the 'Airtanker Yahoo forum (June 2013):
The Hawaiian Mars warrants an extra word: the number #223 on Hawaii was first used on the aircraft in 2009, while operating in Southern California; the number was mainly used while operating in the USA.
|Ken Kula wrote me: "I just passed through your airborne tanker web pages and I saw you needed some Conair Firecat photos. I saw 4 in action during the Abbotsford BC Canada air show in August 2009."
Conair (Firecat) Tanker 69 is C-FOPY (c/n 019), Tanker 74 is C-FEFK (c/n 014),
Tanker 75 is C-FEFX (c/n 031) and Tanker 76 is C-FJOH (c/n 34)
"North American Survivors" by Roy Blewett (Gatwick Aviation Society, 2005) is an excellent handbook to take out on the road or use at home as a reference guide. |
It offers status and information on vintage transports (both propellor and jets) and are listed by Canadian and US States; there are three appendixes covering aircraft in Mexico, a listing of extant Beech 18s and “US Army Air Force Skytrains and Skytroopers; where are they now?”.
The book is in easy to use A5 format and fits easy in any size of bag. The 358 pages offer a huge amount of information and is of great use in planning a trip to N.America.
I hope others will follow in the example set by this book.
Daniel Arispe sent me these photos of Chilean P-2 CH-CHU, Tanker 03
Click on thumbnail
"Tanker 03 was brought to AUC in 1999 and is currently (2005) in Chile. Its registration is CC-CHU and belongs to Heliworks Ltda., a Chilean company.
The photos are from Feb.2000."
A photo was sent to me, showing Tanker 03 pre-2000, which I added on my Photos by Friends & Guests (14)
New kids on the block..
The following was published on firstname.lastname@example.org (25May2017)-
On 12Dec12 this website http://fireaviation.com/tag/erickson-aero-tanker/ published the takeover of Butler by Erickson Aero Air:
Added some photos taken at Madras by Larry Kraus on my page Photos by Friends & Guests (36)
|The following insight was provided by Ken Swartz, on the status of airtankers in Canada & USA:
Fire fighting aircraft in Canada are primarily contracted by the provinces and territories who are responsible for natural resources.
Canada had always had long term aircraft contracts - 5 or 10 years - whereas the US used to have 1 or 2 year contracts. Longer contracts help support more R&D and more comprehensive engineering and maintenance programs.
In the US, the Federal Government owns a lot of land in the States, such as National Forests, and is the primary contracting agency for large fire fighting air tankers and helicopters. Only a few states like Alaska and Oregon contract large tankers.
In the USA, large air tankers are contracted by the US Forest Service, which cut its fleet from 44 aircraft to nine aircraft between the time the wings broke off the C-130 and PB4Y and about 2012 when just the P2V remained in service.
The USFS eliminated a lot of older airliner and military tanker aircraft from its tanker list in the 2000 to 2012 list.
The 'new generation' tanker program was launched about 5 years ago, which was originally limited to jets only, but Coulson contested the bid and was able to win a contract for the C-130Q - a turboprop.
The USFS fleet now includes Neptune Aviation and Minden P2Vs, Neptune BAE146, Erickson MD-83, Conair/Aeroflite RJ85 and Coulson C-130. Another contract for more aircraft was expected soon, but the USFS had its operating budget cut by 10%.
The USFS is also getting 8 C-130s from the US Coast Guard to operate as air tankers and now has at least 2 of Aeroflite's 4 CL.415 on contract, as well as 1 or 2 DC-10 heavy airtankers.
The Bureau of Land Management contracts Single Engine Air Tankers (SEAT) including Air Tractors.
CALFIRE has its own tanker fleet and contracts some additional helicopters and sometimes a large tanker.
Washington and Oregon contract SEATS including Fireboss and Oregon also uses two DC-7.
Air Spray of Red Deer, Alberta (Canada) expanded into the USA to grow their company. They took over the Chico base, abandoned after the demise of Aero Union, about 5 years ago (2012) and now use it as a maintenance base for about 8 Air Tractor AT-801F and FireBoss aircraft, for deployment in Washington and Oregon.
They have also used it for their BAe 146-200 conversion program, which has progressed very slowly because of a change in certification requirements for new air tankers.
One L.188 Electra of AirSpray, based in the NWT, was used in Oregon a couple years ago and another Electra in Chico has been used by California.
The Fort McMurray in Alberta last year fire proved the value of the Electra. While their days in the USA may be numbered as airtankers, they will continue to serve in Canada.
Buffalo are now operating 2 Electras. Last year was the last time the DC-4 crews of Buffalo trained, but they did not respond to any fires.
|Ken Swartz wrote me in April 2020 a 'sit-rep' on Air Tanker organisation in parts of Canada.
"The Government of Manitoba established a provincial air service in the late 1920s … which shut down in 2018.
In 2018, the Provincial Air Service was closed (after a change in government) which was operated Cessna Citation air ambulances, DHC-3Ts and CL215/415 water bombers.
Babcock got the contract and subcontracted Air Spray (1967) to operate the waterbombers.
I don’t think there have been any sightings on Manitoba CL-215/415s at Red Deer, so Air Spray probably maintains the aircraft in Manitoba.
This is similar to Conair operating Alberta’s CL-215Ts (maintained in Abbotsford) and Buffalo Airways operating the NWT’s Air Tractor 802F Fireboss fleets."
Ken provided this list (pdf): Air Spray (1967) Ltd_Fleet List_20200425
This was published on Yahoo's Airtanker forum in April 2017: change continues...
More 'new kids on the block': Coulson Flying Tankers with Lockheed C-130/L-100-30 aircraft!
A bit of background here:
And an update (2017) on email@example.com:
Another update (25may17) on fire.bombers (atyahoo dot com):
And an update by July 2017: C-130Q BuNo. serial 161496 (c/n 4904) was transported from a salvage yard at Davis-Monthan AFB, it was transported by road to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway on 26May17.
I was stonewalled upon my visit in Oct.2017 here at KIWA.
2018 developments (update 21Mar2018):
"Forest Service cuts air tankers by one-third
The agency also intends to abandon the project to convert Coast Guard HC-130H aircraft into air tankers."
http://wildfiretoday.com/2018/02/16/forest-service-cuts-air-tankers-one-third/ [February 16, 2018]
"Forest Service to abandon Coast Guard HC-130H program
Transfer and conversion of seven Coast Guard HC-130H aircraft into air tankers for the Forest Service is to be cancelled."
http://fireaviation.com/2018/02/16/forest-service-abandon-coast-guard-hc-130h-program/ [February 16, 2018]
(Originally published at 8:55 p.m. MDT March 23, 2018)
Neptune announced today that it has found new homes for its venerable fleet of P2V’s.
"Over the last two years 14 different organizations submitted official proposals to Neptune Aviation to acquire our retiring P2V airtankers," according to Dan Snyder, Neptune Aviation Services’ Chief Operating Officer. "After a significate amount of coordination with museums and airports I’m happy to announce the locations for the retired P2V fleet."
–Alamogordo Airport/ALM (Alamogordo, New Mexico)
–Estrella Warbirds Museum (Paso Robles, California)
–Glendive Airport/GDV (Glendive, Montana)
–T61 Memorial & Klamath Falls Air Base (Lakeview, Oregon)
–Yankee Air Museum (Belleville, Michigan)
–San Diego Air & Space Museum (San Diego California)
The P2V began aerial firefighting services during the 1970’s, when the U.S. Navy began to phase the aircraft out of service. Missoula based Neptune Aviation Services has operated the P2V since 1993. In fact, Neptune had been the largest remaining civil or military operator of the aircraft, with as many as 10 under US Forest Service (USFS) contracts in a single year.
'The U.S. Forest Service is cutting the number of large air tankers on exclusive use (EU) contracts this year from
A new kid on the block! Airstrike Firefighters LLC has brought back some Lockheed P-3s (ex/ California's Aero Union) in operation to operate in the aerial firefighting business.
|State of affairs of piston-engined propliners in the US aerial firefighting industry per summer 2019!
Aero Air (Erickson Aero Tanker) has another year, maybe two on it's contract with the ODF (Oregon Department of Forestry) at Medford with DC-7 Tanker 62 (N401US). It is only a 75 day contract, so they normally wait until mid-July to begin standby at Medford.
Tanker 62 willprobably be on duty in Medford around July 15th.
DC-7B Tanker 60 (N838D) is also available for 'Call When Needed'-use by the ODF.
Both airplanes have flown a number of hours for crew training and check rides, most of which took place a few weeks ago. (Based on a quote I read on a forum somewhere, but forgot to copy the link...)
All French Turbo Firecats were grounded earlier this year (2020) due to a fault found in 2019 on the landing gear.
So the Sécurité Civile has taken the decision to ground their entire Turbo Firecat fleet with immediate effect.
This discovery has accelerated the gradual withdrawal of the type by a few years.
This website is an excellent source of keeping abreast of air tanker news and opinions: www.airtanker.com
The basis of this page has been largely based on one of their pages.
Other helpful external links:
US Wildfire Air Tanker Base Directory 2019