Thursday, September 12, 2013

A&P shares photos of historic aircraft

One of the benefits of writing this blog on aerial wildland firefighting for just shy of five years is getting to know people in the tanker business like Don McKee. Don is an Airframe and Powertrain Mechanic (A&P). The more I learn about the tanker business, to say that Don is maintains and repairs tankers and historic aircraft seems simplistic. What I have learned about my  conversations with Don over the year plus that I have known him is that the planes that he works on are "his ladies", and keeping them safe to fly is a personal thing for him.

Don spent over 20 years working as an  A&P for Aero Union until 2011 when the US Forest Service terminated its contract with Aero Union. He was hired by Erickson Aero Tanker earlier this year. Earlier this fire season he was working as the mechanic for T-60. I'll be writing more about Don and his work as an A&P in the tanker business in later posts.

Don spent time before the fire season working on getting an historic Lockheed P-2V (in Tillamook OR) in flying condition. He was back in Tillamook after Labor Day getting the P-2V ready for a flight to Madras OR on September 8. Don had this to say about the flight after the P-2 arrived in Madras:

"The day is over and the P-2 is in Madras. It did well. Realizing this is about a 60 year old airplane that hasn't flown for dozen years or, what do we do? Take off make a wide left circle and come screaming down runway on the deck, recips and jets at full power. There's faith in your mech I guess."

He sent me some photos of some historic aircraft, including the P-2V, that he wanted me to share with you.

Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon: fun is putting plane with a 75 foot wingspan in a hanger with 76 foot opening (Tillamook OR)

Harpoon on jacks for gear swing (Tillamook OR)

DC-3 and Lockheed P2-V Neptune on ramp at Tillamook

DC-3 flying near Tillamook OR

DC-3 flying near Tillamook OR

"Old friend" Lockheed P2-V Neptune on ramp at Tillamook OR

Fueling Lockheed P2-V prior to flight to Madras OR

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