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11/22/2017 10:05:29 PM
Posted: 9/18/2004 1:00:09 PM EST
Sept 04

Last May's grounding of 33 heavy air tankers by the U.S. Forest service continues to have repercussions, especially on the companies forced to sit out the 2004 fire season.

Perhaps the hardest hit of all is Hawkins & Powers Aviation of Greybull, Wyo. First, its four WW II-vintage PB4Y Privateers and four C-130A Hercules air tankers were grounded following fatal crashes in late-2002.

Suddenly, H&P was left with only three tankers: a Boeing KC-97 (based exclusively in Alaska) and two P2V-7 Neptunes. To make up the shortfall, H&P began to diversify, shifting its focus from aerial firefighting to maintenance and a Part 135 operation.

When its last three tankers were grounded in May, that was the last straw for H&P. Not only did it have to diversify, it had to divest itself of some of its large collection of aircraft, some are retired tankers, some waiting to be converted to tankers.

"Up until this season, our Neptunes continued to fly, which afforded the company the opportunity to continue to expand our capabilities," explained Andy Melin, H&P's head of marketing. "But without the income of these two aircraft, it made diversification difficult."

It also forced H&P President Dan Hawkins and partner Gene Powers to make a tough decision. With no income from their once mighty air tanker fleet, they decided to sell off their C-130, P2V and KC-97 tankers.

Also on the block are older types of special interest to warbird collectors: a Douglas A-16 Invader, Lockheed Lodestar, Fairchild C-82 Packet, C-119 Flying Boxcar and C-123 Provider, and a Douglas C-118 Liftmaster, the military version of the DC-6.

"Some are flying, some are not. But all of them can be made flyable," said Melin in an ad for the planes.

Most of the planes are part of the Wyoming's first aviation museum: the Museum of Flight & Aerial Firefighting founded by H&P in 1992. They are based alongside the company's now retired tankers in Greybull, 90 miles east of Yellowstone NationalPark.

The C-119 is an ex-Canadian AirForce transport that served for years as a tanker. It has appeared in the Steven Spielberg film "Always" and the Sylvester Stallone action stinker "Stop Or My Mother Will Shoot."

Such is H&P's expertise with the C-119 that it provided the planes used in the 2004 remake of the Jimmy Stewart classic "Flight of the Phoenix." Working with Hollywood may be lucrative but it's a far cry from the unique challenges and rewards of fighting fires from the air.

www.landings.com/evird.acgi$pass*66682049!_h-www.landings.com/_landings/pacflyer/sep10-2004/Sn-63-hp-av-forced-t.html
Link Posted: 9/18/2004 4:13:11 PM EST
After the graphic C-130A/ Priveteer fire bomber crashes who would wan't to fly one ! Pretty much the only reasonably cheap planes left are later model 130's and Orions, both are popular for foreign military aid so there aren't many in the AMERAC.

Maybe these fire Companies should look to Russia for cheap AN-10's etc to make into Fire Bombers. Maybe they have, who knows might be to expensive to get an airworthiness certificate...
Link Posted: 9/18/2004 6:13:08 PM EST
I only live 45 miles from H&P. Very sad. Did a lot for the town of Greybull. My kids love to look at all the planes on the way to my parents.
Link Posted: 9/18/2004 6:21:48 PM EST
Good. I have a buddy that was late getting to the airport or he would have been the copilot on that PB4Y that the wing fell off. Those planes were not designed to fly that way, get some new Canadair perpouse built tankers or p-3s.

As to the C-130As the reason that the army grounded them was that they had 29 wing failures, but because they were Mil they did not have to file an NTSB accident report. So, in the private sector they flew on. and on, and on, until half a century later, when the guys that built and designed them were dead, the plane killed more people.
Link Posted: 9/18/2004 7:17:13 PM EST
I wonder if there is some main spar reinforcement that could be done on these. Understand that the airframe stress on these aircraft are brutal, and those in the industry accept the 10% loss (or something like that) that occurs every year.

If the fucking Forest Service were willing to pay a reasonable rate for these services, they could afford newer aircraft, but the Forest Service beats these vendors into submission on contracts. Maybe the industry should tell the USFS to pound sand for a few years until there is enough public outcry that they pay reasonable rates.
Link Posted: 9/18/2004 7:35:59 PM EST
God, you are so full of shit.

The ARMY does not, never did and will not fly or operate the C-130.
The USAF, US Navy, USMC, Coast Guard do.

Where did you get your information that there were 29 C-130A's that had wing failures?
There was ONE C-130A that crashed due to catastrophic wing failure.

The Air Force quit flying the C-130A because Lockheed had made improvements to the airframe, and AMAZINGLY enough the C-130B was made. And when Lockheed had made enough improvements to the C-130B the C-130E was made. And when Lockheed made enough improvements to the C-130E the C-130H was made.

The C-130A was such a failure indeed....The US Navy is STILL flying a C-130A at NAS Point Mugu - 47 FUCKING YEARS AFTER IT WAS MADE.



Originally Posted By CSM:
Good. I have a buddy that was late getting to the airport or he would have been the copilot on that PB4Y that the wing fell off. Those planes were not designed to fly that way, get some new Canadair perpouse built tankers or p-3s.

As to the C-130As the reason that the army grounded them was that they had 29 wing failures, but because they were Mil they did not have to file an NTSB accident report. So, in the private sector they flew on. and on, and on, until half a century later, when the guys that built and designed them were dead, the plane killed more people.

Link Posted: 9/18/2004 8:44:26 PM EST
Is the Ex-Delta DC-7 still flying?
Link Posted: 9/19/2004 8:20:47 AM EST

Originally Posted By MattyMattel:
Is the Ex-Delta DC-7 still flying?



If you mean International Air Response's -7B, it didn't move all season. Last time I looked, the airport cat was sitting on it.
Link Posted: 9/19/2004 8:37:54 AM EST

Originally Posted By PeteCO:
If the fucking Forest Service were willing to pay a reasonable rate for these services, they could afford newer aircraft, but the Forest Service beats these vendors into submission on contracts. Maybe the industry should tell the USFS to pound sand for a few years until there is enough public outcry that they pay reasonable rates.


If companies can't afford to buy newer planes that are unde USFS contract, then after a few years there won't be any contractors for the USFS to contract with, and so they will probably build up their own fleet of fire fighting aircraft.
Link Posted: 9/19/2004 8:44:51 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/19/2004 9:01:20 AM EST by tangeant]
The C-130A airframe stayed in service for along time as specialized airframes AC-130's and DC drone launchers, Ski equiped etc. The problems of the A " Cracking wings, props etc " were addressed with the B model and the A's flew on under flight / Load restrictions until replaced.

Here's an A model pic out of my collection, X NY ANG C-130D-6 #57-0489 at Sheppard AFB in 1992. This one flew atleast into the late 80's.

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