Wednesday, August 07, 2013

A-26 Tankers that started service in the U.S. and went to Canada (2 of 2)

I continue where I left off on August 5 by writing about A-26 tankers that started out flying in the U.S before going to Canada in the early to mid 1970s. 

Thomas W. Hammon (contractor and pilot) to Kenting

Sometime in 1970 a private contractor and pilot from Arizona, Thomas W. Hammon acquired two A-26 Invaders from Donaire Inc. (also from Arizona): serial # 44-35752, registration N8627E and serial # 44-34136, registration N8017E. While owned by Donaire, N8017E flew as tanker # C32. Based on the information in the page devoted to Thomas W. Hammon from the napoleon130 A-26 invader tanker site it seems that Hammon had these Invaders for a couple of seasons. I don’t know how Hammon used these Invaders. Did he fly one as a tanker on contract somewhere in the U.S., perhaps N8017E as Donaire had flown her as tanker # C32 from 1966 to 1969? 

Kenting Aviation acquired both of these Invaders from Hammon in late spring/summer of 1972. From what I can gather, Kenting had these two Invaders for two seasons (1972 and 1973), flying at least one as a tanker before selling both of them to Conair after the 1973 season. 

George H. Stell (Arizona) to O. Huitikka (Ontario) to Air Spray

Air Spray had a number of A-26 Invaders that they flew as air tankers. In a few days, I’ll write an article or two on Air Spray’s A-26 fire bombing operations with more information including links. Stay tuned.

Serial # 44-35661, U.S registration N9996Z. Invader N9996Z interests me because I first saw a record of her in a listing of tankers in “Forest Fire Air Attack System” by William T. Larkins, American Aviation Historical Society (AAHS) Journal (Vol. 9#3, Fall 1964). Specifically, she was on a list of tankers that flew on contract for the U.S. Forest Service in Arizona and New Mexico (then known as region 3) in 1963 (170).  

Knowing from Larkins’ listing that she was flying for Donaire in 1963, I started by going to the Donaire Page on the napoleon130 A-26 invader tanker site. This listing confirms Larkin’s information, noting that she started her service as a tanker in the U.S. with Donaire (Arizona) in 1963 flying as tanker # C11. It appears that Donaire flew her as a tanker for one more year, 1964. There is no indication of what she was doing in 1965. In 1966, she was acquired by George H. Stell (Arizona) who flew her as tanker # C11 from 1966 through 1972. Sometime in 1972, Stell sold her to O. Huitikka of Ontario Canada where she was reregisterd as CF-CBK. I can’t tell from this listing how Huitikka used her. Finally in 1979, she was acquired by Air Spray where she reregistered as C-FCBK in 1985. She was flown as Air Spray tanker # 11 until she was listed as destroyed in a landing accident with no fatalities in 2004.

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