Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A-26 Tankers in the United States

The first A-26 to fly was registration number N5457V, converted by Aero Atlas to tanker configuration in 1959. I believe that she first flew as a tanker in 1960 (see the entry page to the napoleon130 A26 invader tanker page). Her tank had a total capacity of 1,200 gallons (AAHS, 163; F. Johnsen Fire Bombers in Action, p.48). Stay tuned, I’ll write a little more about this tanker in the next article. In 1962 one A-26 tanker was used in the southern region of the U.S, and two were used in the northeastern region in 1963 (AAHS 166). A-26 tankers were also used in Oregon, Washington, Arizona and New Mexico in 1963 (AAHS, tables 5 and 6, p. 170). By my count of the A-26 tankers that F. Johnsen lists in Appendix A (Tanker Call Signs and Registrations) of Fire Bombers in Action (p.24), there were 30 A-26 Invaders that flew as tankers in the U.S. flying for quite a few different aviation services. 

For reasons that are not quite clear to me, the A-26 did not have a lengthy service as a tanker in the U.S. with the number of A-26 tankers flying in the U.S. beginning to dwindle in the mid-1970s. According to F. Johnsen (p. 48) most were no longer flying as tankers in the U.S. by 1980.

AAHS: American Aviation Historical Society (AAHS) Journal (Vol. 9#3, Fall 1964), “Forest Fire Air Attack System” by William T. Larkins

No comments: