Tankers fight the Wolf Fire from the Santa Barbara Airport, June 2002


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The Wolf Fire burned the forest north of Ojai for several days in the first half of June. A variety of tankers fought the fire from the Santa Barbara Airport.

June 2:

Grumman S-2 #76, N417DF at SBA on June 2 Grumman S-2 Tracker #76, N417DF is one of many Trackers operated by the California Department of Forestry. It is based in Porterville.

The U.S. Forest Service Grumman S-2F Tracker page.

Grumman S-2 #75, N420DF at SBA on June 2 Grumman S-2 Tracker #75, N420DF is based in Paso Robles.

Grumman S-2 #81, N447DF at SBA on June 2 Grumman S-2 Tracker #81, N447DF used to fly as tanker #93. It is based in Hollister.

The Associated Air Tanker Pilots Memorial Fund is supported in part through the sales of prints of a painting of N447DF as #93 by aviation artist Barry Rudolph.

Grumman S-2 Tracker by Clark Cook Clark Cook has created a site devoted to the Grumman S-2 Tracker.

June 3:

Douglas C-54D #152, N9015Q at SBA on June 3 Douglas C-54D Cargomaster #152, N9015Q is operated by Ardco Inc. Its Douglas construction number is 22178. It was delivered to the Army Air Force as 43-17228. It is based at Fox Field near Lancaster.

Link to Oldprops DC-4 Census for more information about surviving C-54s and DC-4s.

Douglas C-54D #152, N9015Q at SBA on June 3 Grumman S-2T Turbo-Tracker #82, N420DF had been sighted at the Ramona Air Fair just two days earlier. It is based at Columbia.

Greg Goebel's web site has information about Grumman Tracker turbine conversion programs.

Lockheed C-130A #63, N473TM at SBA on June 3 Lockheed C-130A-6 Hercules #63, N473TM is operated by Butler Aircraft, which is a subsidiary of TBM Incorporated. It is based at San Bernardino. It can be told from C-130A #67 from a long way away by its gray nose radome. Its Lockheed construction number is 182-3081.

Butler Aircraft Company web site.

Link to Oldprops C-130 Hercules Census for more information about military C-130s in civilian operation.

Grumman S-2T #89, N425DF at SBA on June 3 Grumman S-2T Turbo-Tracker #89, N425DF. It is based at Grass Valley.

Lockheed C-130A #63, N473TM at SBA on June 3 Lockheed C-130A Hercules #63, N473TM was delivered to the Air Force as 56-473. As many as 42 Lockheed C-130 Hercules and P-3 Orions that were supplied to the Forest Service by the Department of Defense were diverted to covert operations by the CIA in the early 1990s.

Link to a Portland Free Press article about the diversion of Forest Service aircraft.

The De-Central Intelligence Agency declaration of Gary Eitel regarding the use of Forest Service C-130s by Evergreen.

June 5:

Lockheed P-3 #20, N920AU at SBA on June 5 Lockheed P-3A-25 Orion #20, N920AU is operated by Aero Union. Its Lockheed construction number is 185-5039. It was delivered to the U.S. Navy as BuNo 150513 in 1963. After transfer to the Spanish Air Force, it served as an instructional airframe at Texas State Technical College. It is based at Redding.

The P-3 Orion Research Group, based in the Netherlands, has a P-3A Orion Aircraft Location Report.

Lockheed P-3 #20, N920AU at SBA on June 5 Lockheed P-3A Orion #20, N920AU was one of the first tankers to take off on June 5. It must have been transferred to another tanker base, because it did not return that day.

Link to Aero Union's page describing their Retardent Aerial Delivery System for Lockheed C-130 Hercules and P-3 Orions.

Rockwell Turbo Commander #07, N700PQ at SBA on June 5 Rockwell Turbo Commander #07, N700PQ is owned by Rogers Helicopters of Gustavas, Alaska. It serves as Air Attack, guiding the tankers in to the drop zone. It was built in 1977.

Grumman S-2 #80, N404DF at SBA on June 5 Grumman S-2 Tracker #80, N404DF. It is based in Hollister.

Lockheed P-2 #10, N4235N at SBA on June 5 Lockheed P-2V-7 Neptune #10, N4235N is operated by Neptune Aviation Services Inc. of Missoula, Montana. It is based at Fox Field near Lancaster. Its sister ship P-2 #11, N14447 remained parked for most of the day.

The Neptune Aviation Services web site.

Link to Oldprops P-2 Neptune Census for more information about Neptunes in civilian operation.

Lockheed P-2 #10, N4235N at SBA on June 5 Lockheed P-2V-7 Neptune #10, N4235N was built in 1957. Its Lockheed construction number is 726-7158.

Grumman S-2T #82, N420DF at SBA on June 5 Grumman S-2T Turbo-Tracker #82, N420DF from the Columbia tanker station.

Douglas C-54D #162, N3054V at SBA on June 5 Douglas C-54D Cargomaster #162, N3054V is operated by AeroFlite. It is based at Porterville. Its Douglas construction number is 10547. It was delivered to the Army Air Force as 42-72442. It served in the Royal Canadian Air Force for a year, then the U. S. Navy operated it as R5D-3, BuNo 91994. It was retired from military service in 1970. It was first registered as N62296 in 1974 by Aero Union. Later Aero Union gave it a flashy U.S. bicentennial livery and registered it as N76AU. In the 1990s it was restored as an Army Air Force C-54 for use as a movie prop.

AeroTransport Databank has a picture of N76AU in its bicentennial livery on their gallery of uncommon transport aircraft.

R Leeuw has a picture of N76A restored as a C-54 on his DC-4 page.

Lockheed P-2 #10, N4235N at SBA on June 5 Lockheed P-2V-7 Neptune #10, N4235N.

Lockheed P-2 #10, N4235N at SBA on June 5 Lockheed P-2V-7 Neptune #10, N4235N.

Lockheed P-2 #10, N4235N at SBA on June 5 Lockheed P-2V-7 Neptune #10, N4235N.

Tankers Spotted at Santa Barbara in June 2002

Number Type Registration Operator Home Base c/n military serial
10 SP-2H N4235N Neptune Inc. Fox Field, Lancaster 726-7158 BuNo 144681
11 P-2V-7 N14447 Neptune Inc. Redmond 826-8010 RCAF 24110
20 P-3A-25 N920AU Aero Union Redding 185-5039 BuNo 150513
63 C-130A-6 N437TM Butler Aircraft San Bernardino 182-3081 56-473
67 C-130A-9 N531BA Butler Aircraft Santa Barbara 182-3139 56-531
75 S-2 N420DF CDF Paso Robles 0382-029  
76 S-2 N417DF CDF Porterville    
80 S-2 N447DF CDF Hollister   BuNo 136508
81 S-2 N404DF CDF Hollister    
82 S-2T N435DF CDF Columbia    
89 S-2T N425DF CDF Grass Valley 0341-029 BuNo 152825
152 C-54D-15 N9015Q EMI Services Lancaster 22178 43-17228
162 C-54D N3054V AeroFlite Porterville 10547 42-72442/BuNo 91994

More Tanker Photos

Aerial tankers Aerial tankers


Visit the web site of the Aerial Firefighting Industry Association

Associated Airtanker Pilots web site Visit the web site of the Associated Airtanker Pilots

The Cleveland National Forest web site provides specifications for the different types of aerial tankers.



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Aerial Tankers

2018 Calendar

You can buy a 2018 Calendar featuring my photographs of aerial tankers in flight and fighting fires.

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: Aerial Tankers

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: Aerial Tankers

A dozen photos of aerial tankers:

Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress N17W Tanker 04, Santa Barbara, September 12, 1979
Douglas DC-7C N5903 Tanker 35, Santa Barbara, November 28, 1980
Douglas C-54E Cargomaster N460WA Tanker 151, Santa Ynez Valley, July 30, 1990
California Air National Guard C-130E Tanker 6, NAWS Pt. Mugu, April 25, 1998
Douglas C-54E Cargomaster N8502G Tanker 65, Santa Barbara Airport, May 5, 2004
Evergreen S-64E Skycrane N6979R Tanker 707, Santa Ynez Valley, May 7, 2004
Evergreen International Boeing 747 Supertanker, San Bernardino, May 31, 2006
Grumman S-2T Tracker N439DF Tanker 74, Santa Barbara Airport, June 19, 2006
Lockheed P2V-5 N1386C Tanker 44, Santa Barbara, June 19, 2006
Coulson Flying Tankers Martin JRM Hawaii Mars, Lake Elsinore, October 27, 2007
McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-30 10 Tanker Air Carrier Tanker 911, Mesa, Arizona 2011
BAE-146-200A N146FF Tanker 40, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, June 15, 2012

Buy my Aerial Tankers: 2018 Calendar at Lulu! Put a copy of the Aerial Tankers: 2018 Calendar in your Lulu.com shopping cart for $14.95.

Firefighting Aircraft of CAL FIRE

2018 Calendar

You can buy a 2018 calendar featuring my photographs of California Department of Forestry fire fighting aircraft.

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: CAL FIRE

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: CAL FIRE

This calendar is dedicated to the men and women of CAL FIRE and honors those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the citizens of California.

A dozen photos of California Department of Forestry fire fighting aircraft:

Grumman US-2A Tracker N416DF Tanker 96, Santa Barbara, September 13, 1979
Grumman F7F-3 Tigercat NX7195C Tanker E40, Beale Air Force Base, May 31, 1980
Grumman TS-2A Tracker N405DF Tanker 72, Santa Barbara, October 16, 1985
Grumman TS-2A Tracker N406DF Tanker 73, Santa Barbara, July 19, 1990
Grumman TS-2A Tracker N420DF Tanker 75, Santa Ynez Mountains. August 15, 2002
Bell UH-1H Huey N805EH, Santa Ynez Mountains. August 15, 2002
McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-10 Tanker 910, Victorville, June 17, 2005
Grumman S-2T Tracker N439DF Tanker 74, Santa Barbara, June 19, 2006
Grumman S-2T Tracker N436DF Tanker 76, Santa Barbara, June 19, 2006
North American OV-10A Bronco N403DF, Santa Barbara, June 19, 2006
Grumman S-2T Tracker N439DF Tanker 74, Santa Barbara, June 25, 2006
McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-10 Tanker 911, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway, June 11, 2011

Buy my CALFIRE: 2018 calendar at Lulu! Put a copy of the CAL FIRE: 2018 Calendar in your Lulu.com shopping cart for $14.95.

Day Fire Tankers at Santa Barbara

2018 calendar

You can buy a 2018 calendar featuring my photographs of Day Fire Tankers at Santa Barbara.

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: Day Fire Tankers at Santa Barbara

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: Day Fire Tankers at Santa Barbara

Aerial tankers fought the Day Fire from the Santa Barbara Air Attack Station for ten days, from Monday, September 18 to Wednesday September 27. Three Lockheed P-2 Neptunes and four Lockheed P-3 Orions visited the Air Attack Station during the fire. This calendar includes a dozen photos of those tankers:

Neptune Aviation Lockheed SP-2H Neptune, N4235T Tanker 09
Neptune Aviation Lockheed P2V-5F Neptune, N96264 Tanker 12
Neptune Aviation Lockheed P2V-5 Neptune, N1386C Tanker 44
Aero Union Lockheed P-3A-25 Orion, N920AU Tanker 20
Aero Union Lockheed P-3A-45 Orion, N921AU Tanker 21
Aero Union Lockheed P-3A-45 Orion, N922AU Tanker 22
Aero Union Lockheed P-3A-40 Orion, N925AU Tanker 25

Buy my Day Fire Tankers at Santa Barbara: 2018 calendar at Lulu! Put a copy of the Day Fire Tankers at Santa Barbara: 2018 calendar in your Lulu.com shopping cart for $14.95.

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