Friday, April 14, 2017

Tankers on federal contract in 2017 (U.S.)

I suspect that many of you already follow Bill Gabbert's wonderful blogs, Wildfire Today and Fire Aviation, so you may already know that among the issues Bill writes about is Air Tankers and Helicopters on fire contracts in the United States along with Tanker Operators plans to convert aircraft to tanker configuration. In today's article I am going to summarize some of his recent articles (with links) and urge you to go read his Fire Aviation blog for more information. Thank-you Bill for your hard work in researching and then writing these articles. You will want to follow Bill Gabbert's Fire Aviation to keep abreast of any future developments

Those of you who followed the March wildfire outbreaks in Colorado and the Plains probably know that the USFS activated three of Neptune Aviations BAe-146 air tankers (tankers 02, 03, and 12), Bill wrote about this in a March 11th article on Fire Aviation.

Bill Gabbert talks about Tanker Operators plans to convert more aircraft to tanker configuration. His article on March 30th is a good read about Neptune’s BAe-146 and its sister Avro RJ85 (Conair/Aeroflite). He discusses Neptune's and Conair/Aeroflite’s plans to convert aircraft to firefighting configuration and contracts. Note that he says that Neptune will have one BAe-146 on contract with CAL FIRE this year.

Gabbert continues his good reporting in an April 10th Fire Aviation article where he reports on Coulson’s third tanker, T-133 that was nearing completion as he wrote the article. The is Coulson's second L-382G, the 3822G is the civilian version of the military C-130. He also provides on update on Airspray’s conversion of their first BAe-146 and their plans for more conversions.

Large Air Tanker Contracts (see Bill Gabbert's March 10th Fire Aviation article (with updates)

Bill writes about large tankers on exclusive use contract:

  • 10 Tanker: two DC-10s
  • Aero Air LLC: two MD-87s (see Bills article for an update on the MD-7s and the plans of Aero Air to have more MD-87s available later this year hopefully for a CWN contract.
  • Aero Flite Inc: four RJ 85s
  • Coulson Aircrane one C-130Q
  • Neptune Aviation: four P2-Vs and seven BAe-146’s

And tankers on call when needed contracts:

  • 10 Tanker: 1 DC-10
  • Aero Flite: (3 Avro RJ 85’s)
  • Coulson (1 L-382g)

See Gabbert's March 10th article for a complete list by contractor, tanker number and tail number. Bill also has a discussion about the transfer of seven HC-130H aircraft from the US Coast Guard to the USFS  and the conversion. One of the HC-130H (T-116) with a MAFFS unit will be available in 2017.

Finally Bill Gabbert writes on the reduction of the number of type 1 helicopters on federal contracts in 2017, Columbia Helicopters conversion of two of their CH-47d helicopters to use 2,800 internal tanks  and SEAT contracts for 2017.

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