Friday, March 14, 2014

A-26 Tankers in Canada: Reflections (part 13 of 13)

To the A-26 tankers who flew in Canada:

I wish I could met one of your kind when you were flying fires in Canada. You were capable of flying at a high rate of speed so that you were able to cover vast distances from base to fire and back for reload fairly quickly. I hear that you were fun to fly. 
  • What stories you could tell:
  • Stories of flying with other members of your group and your birddog from base to fire, 
  • Stories of fun on the ramp and being washed at the end of the day, 
  • Stories from the crews at the bases who filled your belly with retardant,
  • Stories from dispatchers 
  • Stories from other ground and ramp crews at the various bases where you flew,
  • Stories of being loved by your mech who kept you running at peak efficiency, 
  • Stories of flying the fires to help the crews on the ground fight wildfires, 
  • Stories about your pilots who flew you, 
  • and stories the wildland firefighting crews on the ground on the fires you flew.

You served long and well flying fires in Canada, in some cases serving as a tanker in the U.S, and before that your military service. You were and are loved by all those who came in contact with you during your years of service as an airtanker in Canada.

How many wildfires did you fly over your many years of service? How many gallons of retardant did you drop? A lot, the numbers don't matter. What matters is that you flew fires and dropped retardant.

Thank-you for you for your long service in Canada. I wish that I had known you then, but I've been privileged to know you through a couple of pilots who flew you, through the videos that I have seen and the material that I read on the internet. Perhaps one day I'll get to meet one of your kind in a museum. Or even better, to see one of your kind flying. 

I love you too. Someday we will both be flying in favorable tail winds and we can fly together.


Note: To see a list of all the articles in this series go here.

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