Category Airtankers

Doce Fire: Days 1 + 2

By: Category: AirtankersWarbird


I woke up around noon on Tuesday and there were photos of some smoke on my Facebook feed. A small brush fire around Granite or Iron Springs, I thought; the location was right, the size wasn’t. Wednesday night the fire was at over 7000 acres and 0% containment.

As sad and destructive as they might seem, wildfires provide a great opportunity for airtanker aficionados and connoisseurs to gather around the airport perimeter and take photos, it also provides some entertainment for the families who have never seen planes this big at the local airport. Prescott sees only a handful of scheduled flights, and after Horizon pulled out, left Great Lakes and their Beech 1900Ds as the only scheduled passenger planes, and Ameriflight’s daily run with a Metro or a 1900C as the only cargo run.

So on Tue...

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A Sad Weekend For The Aerial Firefighting Community

By: Category: Airtankers

As it is well known by now, Sunday was a very tragic day: Tanker 11 (P2V Neptune, N14447, owned by Neptune Aviation) crashed in Utah, killing both pilots, Todd Tompkins and Ronnie Chambless, both of Boise. Also yesterday, Tanker 55 (P2V Neptune, N355MA), flown by Minden Aviation landed with one landing gear retracted, suffering substantial damage.

Bill at Wildfire Today reports that the entire fleet is still grounded as of yesterday afternoon, however, everything points out to be a voluntary grounding on Neptune Aviation’s side and not a government-mandated grounding.

These two unfortunate events have reduced the already reduced airtanker fleet to NINE airframes, 8 P2Vs and 1 BAe-146, all but one P2V flown by Neptune Aviation, only Tanker 48 is operated by Minden Aviation.

Sadly, I can’t...

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Gladiator Fire – Day 2

By: Category: AirtankersPrescottUncategorized

Yesterday morning the Gladiator Fire was reported near Crown King. What started as a structure fire in private property has extended to over 1300 acres and is threatening the town of Crown King, as well as other historical sites in the area. For those that didn’t hear, Crown King was barely saved during the 2008 Lane II Fire. Crown King is currently under a mandatory evacuation.

Two airtankers, T-06 and T-07, both P2V Neptunes operated by Neptune Aviation were already  in Prescott and called to action.

Things did not start well, Tanker 6 had issues on Saturday and didn’t fly during the afternoon (I was at the airport watching them), and the local newspaper later reported the plane had a hydraulic leak in one of the engines.

Today I saw (and heard) the planes flying in all morning, an...

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