Last updated 26.6.17

US FIRE BOMBER OPERATORS: D to G

A historical survey of US fire attack air tanker companies to the year 2000, compiled by Geoff Goodall


DARO Inc, San Clemente, California

Operated at least two Grumman TBM Avengers as fire tankers. The two listed were on contract to US Forestry Service for the 1963 season.

Grumman TBM
N7961C
Bu69323
by 1963-1970
  E92
  
wheels-up landing 19.9.67 Willows CA, repaired
sold .70 to Sis-Q Flying Service CA #E24
Grumman TBM
N9078Z
Bu53307
by 1963-4.71
  E98
sold 4.71 to Sis-Q Flying Service CA #E26




Grumman TBM N9078Z #98 with "DARO Inc" on the side of the fuselage




D & D Aero Spraying, Rantoul, Kansas (Bill Dempsay)
D & D Aero Spraying Inc, 2192 Vermont Road, Rantoul Kansas. Owned by William A. Dempsay & Clifford A. Dempsay.
Associated companies with the same address: D & DAerial Spraying, D & D Aero Inc, Central Air Service, Central Air Maintenance
A family business established by 1961 with Boeing Stearmans on agricultural spraying and dusting, later forest insecticide spraying. 
Based on a private airstrip at Highland Farm, Rantoul in rural Kansas.
During the 1960s a variety of aircraft were tanked as sprayers. Bill Dempsay also flew fire tankers and later took over established fire tanker company Wenatchee Air Service at Wenatchee WA, which he continued in fire bombing under the name Central Air Service.

D & D Aero is still operating today with Cessna 188s.
By 1990s Bill Dempsay had semi-retired at Highland Farm, but continued a number of other aviation ventures, including acquiring and retoring aircraft to be traded to the USAF Museum. Examples are DC-3 N3753N, T-6 Texan N4434M which was dismantled on a trailer at the farm July 2006, and Noorduyn Norseman N1037Z.
In 2010 Blll Dempsay acquired two-seater antique Cessna 140 N2429V.

Other aircraft: (registered to D & D Aero, D & D Aero Spraying or W.A.Dempsay)
Boeing Stearman: N61673
PA-18 Super Cub: N4583A, N7499D
PA-25 Pawnee: N6097Z, N6749Z, N6810Z
PA-23 Apache N216D
Cessna 180 N1620C
Cesana 182 N8672T

See also Central Air Service and Wenatchee Air Service/Wenairco



North American O-47
N73716
39-098
1965-8.82
 
retired Rantoul KS, moved by road 8.82 to Topeka KS on loan to Combat Air Museum
sold c2012 to James Harker MN for rest. as warbird
Lockheed L18 Lodestar
N555H
2013
9.65-1980

purchased 14.9.65, tanked with spray bars,
named Anacacko
retired Rantoul KS by 1980, still there derelict
Grumman TBM
N9595C
Bu53479
c1965-6.67

purchased ex CISCO Aircraft CA #E67
crashed 2.6.67 Tuckerton NJ while forest spraying
Grumman TBM
N9307Z
Bu86091
5.65-4.70

purchased ex CISCO Aircraft CA #E82
sold 4.70 to Norfolk Aerial Spraying as CF-AYL
Grumman TBM
N9593C
Bu69472
c1971-5.76

sold 3.5.76 to James Levrett, Yuma AZ
Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon
N7086C
Bu37444
1966-1973
  F43
purchased .66 Central Air Maintenance, #F62
operated as fire tanker with wing spraybars
sold .73 to John Hamersley, Walker MO
Lockheed PV-2
N6853C
Bu37159
12.67-10.79

purchased 10.12.67 ex Thomas Herrod MT sprayer
operated by D&D Aero as sprayer
sold 24.10.79 to Bruce Kinney MT as sprayer
Lockheed PV-2
N6651D
Bu37537
1973-74
  F40
leased to D&D Aero by Wenairo WA #F40
returned .74 to Wenairco/Central Air Service #F40
Lockheed PV-2
N6853C
Bu37159
2.81-5.81

purchased 4.2.81 Central Air Service ex Kinney
tfd 21.3.81 D&D Aero Spraying, Rantoul KS
sold 6.5.81 again to Bruce Kinney MT as sprayer
Douglas A-26
N9682C
41-39230
c1967-1980
  105
purchased ex Flight Inc, Dallas TX
sold .80 to Confederate Air Force, Harlingen TX
Douglas A-26
N74874
44-34508
8.00-2001
 
purchased 1.8.00 ex Bruce Kinney MT #107
sold to Jack Bazler CA, del. from Rantoul 8.01
Beech C-45F/C18S
N8040H
44-87196
c1967-4.72

purchased ex Aerial Agriculture Service, Geraldine MT sprayer,
sold 11.4.72 to Glen Holt VA sprayer
Beech AT-11
N6669C
41-27391
6.75-10.04

purchased 26.6.75 ex Win Williams MO, sprayer,
stored Rantoul, long-term military rest. project 
sold to Taigh Ramey CA, left by road 10.04
SNJ-4 Texan
N9522C
Bu26912
c1967-c1975

purchased ex Roy Word, Pampa TX sprayer, modified single-seat sprayer
SNJ-4 Texan N7008C
Bu51402
c1967-7.73

purchased ex Dean Lewis, Pampa TX sprayer,
modified single-seat sprayer
crashed in trees 2.7.73 spraying East Chatham NY
Convair C-131B
N43941
53-7801
9.99-current

purchased 29.9.99 ex Warren Basler, Oshkosh WI Currently registered to D&D Aero Inc
parked Rantoul KS in USAF paintwork , still there




Leo J. "Ace" Demers, Madras, Oregon

A widely-know Oregon aviation pioneer, Leo John Demers was born in in 2014, leant to fly as a teenager and began his aviation career at his home town Quincy IL with an aircraft maintenance business Ace Welding & Machine Co. That earnt him his life long nickname "Ace".
After WWII he set up Ace Flying Services, Salem OR as a flying school and aerial agricultural operation.  By 1951 he had 65 aircraft, mostly war surplus Boeing Stearmans and employed 50 pilots.
Demers had moved into heavy tankers by 1951 with Douglas B-18s converted for spraying spruceworm in the forests on Mount Hood. Other State of Oregon contracts were flown with a variety of larger aircraft types modified as sprayers.
Ace Flying Service installed insecticide tanks in several PBY-5 Catalinas during the 1950s: a fuel cell was modified into the chemical tank and a 10hp motor pumped the liquid insecticide to spray nozzles mounted beneath the wings. These Catalinas sprayed 1.5 million acres of forest in 1958 alone.  PBY-6A model Catalinas were later used.

In 1960 Leo Demers moved to Madras OR, to take over Madras Air Service Inc, the FBO for the airport. At Madras he continued agricultural and forest spraying. An agricultural spraying company PMP Aviation Co with Stearmans shared the same Madras residential street address as Leo Demers in 1963.
Demers had commenced some fire bombing operations with his tanker aircraft. In 1961 he introduced a B-17 tanker and later took over the operation of the USFS's experimental North American AJ-1 Savage fire tanker. Lighter aircraft were also used: the 1963 USFS fire tanker allocations included Ace Aerial Service N3N biplane N45228 (Tanker #E21) based at Ukiah CA. 

In later years, Demers' experience in designing curved-down wingtips for his Stearmans to improve aircraft performance turned into a new world-wide market for Madras Demers Super Tips: FAA certified wingtip modification kits for many modern GA aircraft as well as agricultural Stearmans. They were advertised by Ace Demers at Madras Air Service.
Leo John Demers died on 18 May 1999

Other aircraft:
Boeing Stearman N1206N, N1224N, N1312N, N1322N, N55045, N56768, N68426
Curtiss P40E N1223N, N1228N
Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat N7825C
SNJ-5 Texan N5199V
Luscombe N1013K
Piper PA-22 N8817D; Cessna 182 N8833T 

Douglas B-18
N66809
37-554
12.48-5.50

sold 16.5.50 to Truman Miller MT sprayer
Douglas B-18
N62477
39-25
5.51-2.56
 
conv. to sprayer at Salem OR in 1951,
sold 2.56 Stevenson Co, Spenard AK freighter
Douglas B-18
N56847
37-469
1951-1954


Douglas B-18
N1692M
37-534
1951-1954


PBY-5 Catalina
N4939V
Bu34047
5.54-c1960

sprayer, "ACE"painted under the wing
PBY-6A Catalina
N6453C
Bu64041
c1955-1960

sold to Rosenbalm Aviation, Meford OR
PBY-6A Catalina
N6458C
Bu46644
c1966-10.68
  F33
purchased c66 ex Liston Aircraft OR #E33
sold 21.10.68 to Hemet Valley FS CA #E83
PBY-6A Catalina
N6459C
Bu46653
c1966-10.68
  F11
purchased c66 ex Liston Aircraft OR #F11
sold 21.10.68 to Hemet Valley FS CA #E77
Douglas C-39
N6097C
38-515
7-56-1959

Registered 10.7.56 to Demers ex XB-YAV
sprayer, retired in 1959,
sold 2.69 to LeMaster Aerial Spraying, Ottawa KS
Lockheed C-60 Lodestar
N69415
42-32215
1966-1969

no indicated that it was tanked
Boeing B-17G
N3509G
44-85778
5.61-4.66
  97
purchased 25.5.61 ex Sonpra Flying Service CA
sprayer and fire bomber #91
sold 29.4.66 to Aero Union Corp CA #E16
Beech C-45F/C18S
N5974V
44-47668
by 1964-2.65


North American AJ-2 Savage
N68667
Bu130418
c1964-1970

purchased ex US Forestry Service N100Z
planned conversion to fire tanker not carried out,
parked at LOs Angeles Fire Dept LAX by 68
sold .70 to Avo-Lycoming, Stratford CT as flying engine test bed




Ace Demers' Boeing B-17G N3509G fire tanker #97 with spray bars, at Madras Oregon in 1960s.
The C-39/DC-2 sprayer N6097C can be seen behind.                  Photo by William T. Larkins





AJ-1 Savage N68667 stored in 1968 at Los Angeles Fire Dept hangar at Los Angeles International Airport.
The bomb bay area has been significantly modified.                              
Photo: Dave Welch collection




Ace Demers advertisement from an April 1982 issue of Trade-A-Plane




Desert Aviation Service, Mesa, Arizona *
Spraying operator. See Aircraft Specialities, Mesa AZ

Grumman TBM
N7850C
Bu69355
1963-c1965
 
purchased .63 ex CISCO Aircraft CA sprayer
tfd c65 to Aircraft Specialties Mesa AZ
Grumman TBM
N9564Z
Bu91388
1963-c1967

tfd c65 ex Aircraft Specialties Mesa AZ
sold c67 to Ontario Flight Service CA sprayer
Grumman TBM N9569Z
Bu91436
1963-1964

purchased .63 ex CISCO Aircraft CA no civil conv.
towed by road from Mesa c64 outer wings removed to Buehner Window Co in Phoenix for use as a wind generator to test window products,
returned c78 to Aircraft Specialties Mesa AZ, stored
Grumman TBM
N9583Z
Bu91524
c1964-1969

nothing further known
Grumman TBM N9590Z
Bu91733
1962
 C25
purchased .62 ex CISCO Aircraft CA tanker #77
tfd c65 to Aircraft Specialties, Mesa tanker #C25





Grumman TBM-3 N9569Z at Mesa AZ in 1981 after its time as a wind machine at Buehner Window Co.
This former spares aircraft for CISCO Aircraft in California wears its original US Navy Seattle paintwork.
It was sold at the Globe Air auction and now flies as an immaculate warbird.     Photo by Geoff Goodall



Red Dodge Inc, Anchorage AK (Earl Dodge)
Earl "Red" Dodge was an experienced Alaskan charter operator, operating under the names Red Dodge Aviation Inc and Red Dodge Inc.
1950-1952 Earl Dodge was among Alaskan bush pilots employed by Transocean Air Lines to fly Noorduyn Norsemans and Grumman amphibans in support of a major TAL contract at Fairbanks and Point Barrow. By 1957 he had an Aero Comander 520 N4145B based at Anchorage
During the 1960s he operated North American B-25 Mitchell fire bombers on contract to Alaska State authorities, enabling them to remain in service after the USFS banned B-25s in 1962 because of wing structural failures after retardant drops.

The massive air tansport requirements in the late 1960s for the construction of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline to the North Slope oilfields resulted in a partnership between Red Dodge Aviation and Bill Whitsell's Flying W Airways, Medford New Jersey.  Large numbers of Flying W Airways Curtiss C-46s, Lockheed Constellations and even wo civil L-382 Hercules were operated in Alaska with "Red Dodge Aviation" titles.  A temporary delay in the construction project left both companies financially exposed without flying income and in mid 1971 both filed for bankrupcy.

Red Dodge other aircraft (excluding the Flying W Airways heavy transports):
Douglas DC-3 N2768A
Grumman Widgeon N1423
Grumman Goose N2845D
Cessna T-50 Bobcats N30023, N53285, N68130, N73598 all purchased 1.3.64 ex Northern Consolidated Airways, Anchorage and resold
P-51D Mustang N5448V
T-28A Trojan N2814G, N2815G
Douglas A-26 Invader/On Mark Marketeer N600WB

TB-25N Mitchell
N3476G
44-28932
6.59-9.65
   6
Registered 12.6.59 Earl Dodge ex USAF disposal at Davis Monthan AFB AZ
conv. 5.62 to fire tanker with 1,000 gallon tank
sold 9.65 to Robert Schlaefli WA
TB-25N Mitchell
N3521G
44-86853
8.59-12.59
   -
purchased 8.59 ex National Metals, Tucson AZ
sold 12.59 Blue Mountain Air Service OR
TB-25N Mitchell
N9857C
43-28059
12.59-7.70
   4
purchased 12.59 ex Blue Mountain Air Service already conv. to fire tanker
soldl 7.70 to Edgar Thorsrud, Missoula MT
TB-25N Mtchell
N9866C
44-288333
9.60-8.61

purchased 9.60 ex Aero Spray Inc WA already conv. to fire tanker
crashed 24.8.61 Bremerton WA
wreck sold to Robert Schlaefli, Moses Lake WA
TB-25N Mitchell
N7946C
44-28938
7.66-1971
   4
purchased 7.66 ex Sports Air, Seattle WA already cov. to fire tanker wth 1,200 gallon tank
retired by 1971
sold 6.75 to be restored as a warbird





B-25 N9866C at Merrill Field, Anchorage April 1961 in winter storage. Note the belly retardant tank and the
Red Dodge nose art depicting an antique horse-drawn fire waggon.                   Photo by Barney Deatrick




B-25 N7946C at Merrill Field, Anchorage in September 1968 with Snoopy nose art.     Photo by Neil Aird




 B-25 N9857C also painted as tanker #4, at Fairbanks AK in Septemnber 1966.               Photo by Neil Aird




Earl Dodge's personal P-51D Mustang N5448V seen at Anchorage in May 1963.    Photo by Barney Deatrick




Donaire Inc, Phoenix, Arizona
Donaire Inc, 12448 N 29th Avenue, Phoenix AZ
Aerial application business founded in 1959 by experienced Arizona spraying pilot W. Donald Underwood.
An associated company was Donaire Sales Inc at the same address.
Operated from Deer Valley airfield near Phoenix, before moving to Buckeye airfield.
1963 USFS fire bomber allocations: Donaire Inc B-25 N9080Z (no tanker #) A-26s N9996Z #C11, N9401Z #C33 based Scottsdale AZ
Other aircraft:
Boeing Stearman N5345N
Vultee BT-13 N69748

T.A. "Skip" Underwood, Buckeye AZ had these warbirds during the period, but connection with Don Underwood not known:
P-51D Mustang N5479V (1963-1965)
Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat (1963)
Grumman TBM-3U N7858C (1964)
FG-1D Corsair N9964Z (1958-1960) towed from NAS Litchfield Park to Buckeye by road in 1958m stiored until sold 1960
FG-1D Corsair N9153Z (1960-1964)

Grumman FM-2 Wildcat
N20HA
Bu86690
c1956-1959
 
sprayer, 2 underwing tanks & 2 wingtip tanks

T-6G Texan
N9604C
49-3266
by 1961-c1970

single seat agricuktural mods
TB-25N Mitchell
N9079Z
44-30734 12.59-3.66
  32
purchased 12.59 ex USAF disposals at
Davis Monthan AFB AZ price $2,100
sold 3.66 to Hubert Clements as sprayer
TB-25N Mitchell
N9080Z
43-36074 12.59-c1965
  04
  C04
purchased 12.59 ex USAF disposals at
Davis Monthan AFB AZ,
conv. to fire tanker 3.60, 1150 gallon retardant tank
sold to Mexico c65 as XB-NAJ
TB-25N Mitchell N9655C
44-30159
11.59-9.64

purchased 11.59 ex J.E.Gardner, Phoenix AZ
conv. to fire tanker 4.60, 1150 gallon retardant tank
sold 9.64 to Universal Air Sprayers, El Reno OK
TB-25N Mitchell
N9452Z
44-30649
8.65-6.68
    -
purchased 8.65 ex Sprung Aviation, Tucson AZ
no civil conversion, stored in USAF markings
sold 6.68 to Tallmantz Aviation CA, ferried 10.68 to Orange County CA for use in movie Catch 22
Douglas A-26
N9401Z
44-35524
by 1963-1970
  33
  C33
sold c70 to Thomas W. Hammon, Phoenix AZ
repurchased 30.3.72, sold to Canada the next day
to CF-BUI
Douglas A-26 N9996Z
44-35661
by 1963-6.66
  C11
sold 13.6.66 to George Stell, Phoenix #C11
Douglas A-26 N8017E
44-34136
c1965
  C32
purchased c65 ex Madden & Smith Aircraft, Miami
sold c70 to Thomas W. Hammon, Phoenix AZ
Douglas A-26 N8627E
44-35752
2.63-1970
   04
purchased 2.63 no civil conversion, stored by Hamilton Aircraft, Tucson AZ,
conv. to fire tanker 7.63
sold c70 to Thomas W. Hammon, Phoenix AZ
Douglas A-26 N9404Z
41-39190
1.71-1973
    -
purchased 14.1.71 damaged, ex Moseley Avtn AZ
struck-off USCR 14.9.73
Douglas A-26 N4819E
43-34609
2.81-4.96
    -
stored Buckeye after museum venture failed, registered 2.81 to Don Underwood, sold 4.96,
unmoved Buckeye by 2015 compete but weathered
PV-2 Harpoon
N7272C
Bu37376
2.64-6.66

purchased 9.2.64 ex Aero Enterprises Inc AK
sold 9.6.66 to Clarks Aerial Services TX sprayer    









Two atmospheric pictures showing the Donaire base at Buckeye AZ in the early 1960s.
In the top image a stripped A-26 and Beech 18 can be seen in the background



A-26 N4819E was operational when seen at Buckeye AZ in October 1978.         Photo by John Chapman



Dothan Aviation, Dothan Alabama *
Dothan Aviation Corporation  Inc was founded by Hugh W. Wheelless
An associated company was Dothan Leasing and Rental Co Inc.
Began in early 1950s as a single-engined agricultural business. From 1959 specialised in wide-area aerial application operations using heavy aircraft, bidding for Federal and State pest eradication and forest spraying programs. Based at Dothan Municiple Airport before moving to its own grass field Wheeless Airport on the rural outskirts of Dothan. 
The B-17s were used for fire ant baiting. Each B-17 carried 12,000 pounds of ground-up corncobs soaked in an insecticide Mirtex. It was dispensed from low altitude through an under-belly spreader, allowing 10,000 acres to be treated one load. Inertial navigation sysems were installed in the B-17s to ensure the swaths covered the required areas.
After Hugh Wheelless died in February 1970, the business was managed by his son Hugh W.Wheelless Jnr.
Dothan Aviation Chief Pilot was Virgil Fenn., who logged 3,000 hours on the B-17s alone.
One B-17 was lost, N4710C suffered an engine fire near Blakely GA on 5 August 1976. The crew reported No.2 engine was on fire and prepared for a forced landing straight ahead on a wide peanut field. While descending the No.2 engine burned off the aircraft and fell to the ground, taking the left undercarriage with it. The B-17 bellied in and the crew escaped but the aircraft was burnt out.

Dothan Aviation was heavily affected by rising Avgas prices and new US environmental rules during the 1970s. Aerial baiting and dusting contracts using certain insecticides including the low-level fire ant baiting across the southern states which had been flown by US tanker operators for decades, were now banned.
A new venture in 1973 to introduce ex-airline Martin 404s as sprayers was not successful. Four former Piedmont Airlines Martinliners were purchased from Charlotte Aircraft, which had them modified in 1970 by Clayton Curtiss as sprayers. They were delivered to Dothan but did not enter service. Three were ferried to Macon GA and stored there 1974-76 before being sold to spraying operator Marvin Janzen and flown to California. The fourth was broken up for parts.

Dothan Aviation ceased operations in 1978. Hugh Wheeless Junior was still president and was personally involved in the disposal of assets until at least 1983. The Wheelless family closed the airport in 1992 and the land became a housing development.

Other aircraft:
Boeing Stearman: N1414M, N1927M, N1928M, N3724C, N4592N, N46571, N4937N, N49650, N49659, N49733, N49739, N49982, N52088, N52128, N55361, N65827, N66308, N66488, N66489, N66490, N66492
Piper J3 Cub sprayers:  N30628, N33549, N66564, N87947, N88257, N92043, N90743, N40743, N41470, N38452, N30628, N70770, N71020, N7146H, N26007, N26007, N2173M, N22749, N6692H, N46786, N6459H
Piper PA-18 Super Cub sprayers: N3389Z, N1956A, N1248A, N2572P, N7073D, N4479A
Grumman G.164 Ag Cat: N23RA, N492Y, N6657, N6659, N746Y, N748Y, N749Y, N7492, N7903, N960X, N971X, N981X, N9824, N10289, N6683Q, N6692K, N854JV, N617U, N618U, N713Y,
Piper PA-25 Pawnee: N7577Z, N82402
Piper PA-36 Pawnee Brave: N3713E
Piper PA-20 Pacer: N7146H
Champion 7AC: N4304E
Cessna 172 N3937S, N5691R; Cessna 182 N8733T; Cessna U206 N2127G
Cessna 310J N515HE
Beech 35 Bonanza N1976D

TB-25N Mitchell
N9077Z
43-27868
2.60-10.75

purchased 2.60 ex Fogle Aircraft, Tucson AZ
tanked 1.62 for agricultural spraying or dusting
sold 10.75 to John Stokes TX as a warbird
TB-25N Mitchell
N9462Z
44-30535
8.60-7.75

purchased 8.60 ex National Metals, Phoenix AZ
tanked 4.61 with spraybars installed for spraying
sold 7.75 to Vicki Meller CA as a warbird
TB-25N Mitchell
N9463Z
44-31004
8.60-2.74

purchased 8.60 ex National Metals, Phoenix AZ
donated 2.74 to USS Alabama Battleship Memorial,
lifted 2.74 from Dothan slung under CH-54 chopper
TB-25N Mitchell
N9552Z
43-35972
9.60-8.75

purchased 9.60 ex National Metals, Phoenix AZ
tanked 12.60 with spraybars installed for spraying
sold 8.75 to John Stokes TX as a warbird
VB-25N Mitchell
N9443Z
44-28765
9.61-10.75

purchased 9.61 ex Carma Manufacturing CA
sold 10.75 to John Stokes TX as a warbird
TB-25N Mitchell
N3525G
44-86694
6.62-1973

purchased 6.62 ex Wendler Air Ag, Dighton KS
fate unknown, struck-off USCR 22.6.73
Boeing B-17G/
PB-1G (USCG)
N9323R
Bu77254
7.62-10.62

purchased 17.7.62 ex Tropical Export & Trading FL
tanked 7.62 for spraying
sold 4.10.62 to Black Hills Aviation SD
Boeing ETB-17G
N3701G
44-8543
3.63-10.79

purchased 7.3.63 ex John B. Gregory FL
damaged 17.8.76 Cordele GA while fire ant baiting
sold 4.10.79 to W.D.Hospers TX as a warbird
Boeing B-17G/
PB-1G (USCG)
N4710C
Bu77246
4.63-8.76

purchased 16.4.63 ex Challenger Leasing FL
dest. by fire 5.8.76 in forced landing Rochelle GA
Boeing B-17G
N5017N
44-85740
12.66-2.78

purchased 12.66 ex Chris D Stoltzfus PA
sold 20.2.78 to W.E.Harrison OK as a warbird
Lockheed PV-2D
N83L
Bu37535
4.65-5.80

purchased 8.4.65 ex Rosenbalm Avtn tanker #29,
tipped on nose landing Kissimmee FL 29.6.67
retired at Dothan, parked 1977-1988
sold 5.80 to Michigan Aerial Applicators, not collected,
resold 1.4.83 to Globe Air AZ, remained at Dothan
(later restored as a warbird at Dothan 1988-1991 by Neil Rose, Vancouver WA and flown out 7.91)
Lockheed PV-2
N6857C
Bu37250
1.66-6.79

purchased 8.1.66 ex Rosenbalm Avtn spreader
Swathmaster spreader installed 4.66
sold 26.6.79 to Michigan Aerial Applicators
Lockheed PV-2
N6634D
Bu37523
1966-11.77

purchased .66 ex Skyways Inc, Cody fire tanker
sold 23.11.77 to Bert Popek, McAllen TX
Lockheed PV-2
N3247G
Bu37265
3.67-4.83

purchased 8.3.67 ex Henry Birmingham, Phoenix AZ spayer/spreader
retired at Dothan, parked 1977-1988
sold 1.4.83 to Globe Air AZ, remained at Dothan
(later to Neil Rose, dismantled at Dothan 1988, wings used to rebuild N83L, fuselage to Hirth Air Tankers for parts)
Lockheed PV-2
N7483C
Bu37202
3.67-6.79

purchased 8.3.67 ex Henry Birmingham, Phoenix AZ spayer/spreader
sold 25.6.79 to Michigan Aerial Applicators,
repossessed 21.3.80 by Hugh W. Wheeless,
resold 4.3.81 to Globe Air, Mesa AZ, del. by 7.81
Lockheed PV-2
N7670C
Bu37472
4.71-4.78

purchased 23.4.71 ex Airfleet Leasing, sprayer
sold 14.4.78 to Robert Yancey OR as sprayer
Lockheed PV-2
N7414C
Bu37462
4.71-6.79

purchased 23.4.71 ex Airfleet Leasing, spreader
sold 25.6.79 to Michigan Aerial Applicators
Martin 404
N40405
14105
3.73-7.77

purchased 2.3.73 ex Charlotte Aircraft, sprayer
ferried to Dothan, broken up for spares
Martin 404
N40418
14124
4.73-1976

purchased 15.2.73 ex Charlotte Aircraft, sprayer ferried to Dothan, stored Macon GA by 6.74 to 76
sold to Marvin Janzen, stored Madera CA 77-83
Martin 404
N40443
14228
4.73-1976

purchased 20.1.73 ex Charlotte Aircraft, sprayer
ferried to Dothan, stored Macon GA by 6.74-76
sold to Marvin Janzen, stored Madera CA 77-83
Martin 404
N40445
14230
4.73-1976

purchased 20.1.73 ex Charlotte Aircraft, sprayer
ferried to Dothan, stored Macon GA by 6.74-76
sold to Marvin Janzen, stored Madera CA 77-83





Wheelless Airport, Dothan AL in 1973 showing Dothan Aviation B-17s, B-25s, PV-2s and Martin 404s.
Photo by Virgil Fenn




Lockheed PV-2s at Wheeless Field, Dothan AL in March 1974.                                  Photo by Rod Adam




B-17G N4710C at Wheelless Field in March 1974.                                     Photo by Rod Adam




B-25 N9443Z at Wheelless in April 1975. The B-25s had been retired for many years and their former USAF
markings could be seen through the faded paintwork




The only reminder of Dothan Aviation at Wheelless Field by November 1981 were two Lockheed  PV-2s
N3428G & N83L in poor condition on the far side of the airfield.                      Photo by Geoff Goodall




Former Dothan Aviation Martin 404 N40445 still in Piedmont Airlines scheme, stored at Madera CA in 1977.
Six Martins were parked at Madera for conversion to sprayers or spreaders.            Photo by Geoff Goodall




Douglas County Aviation, Chandler Arizona
Douglas County Aviation Inc, 22000 South Price Road, Chandler AZ
Associate company of T & G Aviation Inc at the same address.  T & G Aviation had been created in 1975 as a partnership between two experienced fire bombing pilots Sergio Tomassoni and  William "Woody" Grantham. T & G Aviation standardised on Douglas DC-7s to carry out fire bombing and wide-area spraying for pests and ocean oil-slick dispersant.

Douglas County Aviation was headed by Woody Grantham. The company name referred to the Nevada county in which his former base Minden NV was located.
In 1981 when Aerial Applicators at Salt Lake City UT offered two DC-7s for sale, they were acquired for T & G Aviation but purchased in the name of Douglas County Aviation. One N90804 was a fire tanker and immediatey taken over by T & G Aviation in that role. The other was a spare aircraft which had never been tanked: it was ferried to Chandler AZ and leased out as a transport for several years, before returning to Chandler by 1986 to be stored with T & G's other DC-7 spare airframes.
For several years from 1983, T & G Aviation's annual USFS fire bombing contracts quoted Douglas County Aviation as the operator.
See T & G Aviation, Chandler AZ



Douglas DC-7C
N90804
45116
7.81
  28
purchased 7.81 ex Aerial Applicators,
Salt Lake City UT #28
operated by T & G Aviation as tanker #28, later sprayer
ownership tfd 6.94 to T & G Aviation Inc
Douglas DC-7B
N4889C
45353
7.81
  (29)
purchased 7.81 ex Aerial Applicators, SLC UT
never tanked, although assigned tanker #29;
leased .82-84 to other operators as a transport and became involved in drug smuggling;
stored Chandler AZ 1986 onwards
ownership tfd 6.94 to T & G Aviation Inc





Douglas County Aviation DC-7B N90804 #28 was based at Klamath Falls Air Tanker base in Oregon during
September 1981 as part of the T&G Aviation contract.
                                         Photo by Geoff Goodall




DC-7B N4889C at Chandler AZ in November 1981 after being ferried from Salt Lake City storage.
It retains its former Delta Airlines paint scheme and window curtains.      Photo by Geoff Goodall



Gene Ellan, Chester, California
Listed in 1963 USFS fire bomber allocations : Navy N3N biplane N45032 tanker #E63 based at Chester CA.


Erickson Air Crane, Medford Oregon
Erickson Helicopters Inc was founded in 1971 at Medford OR by Jack Erickson, President of Erickson Lumber Company. The USFS became a major customer for heavy helicopter support and logging. Erickson Air Crane developed a specialised civil conversion of military-surplus Sikorsky S-64 Skycranes incorporating over 1,300 modifications and acquiring the Type Certficate. Among the new tasks for these large choppers was installing a large 2,650 gallon rectangular liquid tank for fire water bombing, with a long hose to replenish the tank from any nearby lake or other water source.
Erickson Air Crane built up a world-wide market for their fire bombing Skycranes. The Australian Government has contracted Erickson's S-64s for the past 20 summers, the aircraft often being ferried in from contracts in Greece and Malaysia.
 
Aero Spacelines Boeing 377MG Mini Guppy N422AU was purchased from Aero Union Corp in May 1989 to transport Erickson helicopters between jobs. Aero Union founder Dick Foy left AU to join Erickson to manage the Mini Guppy operation and by 1998 was CEO of Erickson Air Crane. As a parts source for the unique Mini Guppy, an ex USAF KC-97L 52-895/N1365D was purchased and ferried into Medford on 8 November 1989. It remains parked at Medford today, used as a function centre.

The Erickson Air Crane Inc organisation was sold in 2007 and renamed Erickson Inc with HQ at Portland, Oregon. Other helicopter companies were taken over, including Evergreen Helicopters in 2013. During 2016 Erickson Inc filed for Chapter 11 Bankrupcy.

Jack Erickson had been acquiring a private collection of ex US Navy aircraft which were originally housed at the company hangar at Medford Airport. He established the Tillamook Air Museum which opened in 2000 in the historic US Navy airship hangar at the former NAS Tillamook Oregon where his aircraft collection was put on display. The Mini Guppy N422AU made its last flight from Medford to Tillamook and parked outside with Tillamook Air Museum on one side, Erickson Air Crane on the other.
Jack Erickson established a permanent home for his collection when the purpose-built Erickson Aircraft Collection facility was opened on 22 August 2014 where the aircraft are displayed and flown.

In 2012 Jack Erickson purchased the assets of Butler Aircraft Co, Redmond OR and formed Erickson Aero Tanker at Madras OR, commencing fire bomber operations with the former Butler DC-7 tankers and quickly adding jet tankers.



Erickson Air Crane Sikorsky S-64 fire bomber N179AC "Elvis" has been regularly deployed to Australia


Evergreen Airlines, Marana, Arizona
Founded in 1970 by Delford "Del" M. Smith as Evergreen Aviation, McMinnville OR. Specialised in fixed and rotary wing operations for the US Department of Defense and CIA, of which little is recorded because of its necessarily clandestine nature.  In 1974 Evergreen took over Intermountain Aviation Inc, Marana AZ, which had also conducted similar sensitive military support work from a its base on a former military airfield at Marana AZ. A turboprop and jet charter fleet up to Boeing 747s operated from Marana as Evergreen International Airlines. By 1988 the Evergreen group had 2,300 employees.

In November 1975 Evergreen purchased Johnson Flying Services/Johnson International Airlines, Missoula MT which had been a major US Forest Service contractor since the 1930s. Missoula operations contined for a short time under the name Evergreen Air of Montana, before consolidating at Marana AZ as Evergreen Helicopters Inc.  The takeover of Johnson Flying Service included their USFS contracts, which added fire bombing to Evergreen's extensive range of services. The Lockheed Neptune was chosen as the best aircraft type the available and recent US Navy disposals aircraft were acquired and ferried to Marana for conversion to air tankers.  In 2002 as part of a Next Generation Tanker proposal, Evergreen modified two Boeing 747s as Evergreen Supertankers.

Financial pressures resulted in Evergreen selling the Marana airfield facility in 2011 and in 2013 the Evergreen Helicopters division was sold to Erickson Inc. Finally in December 2013 Evergreen International Airlines ceased operations,listing $400M in debts.
Del Smith died at his Oregon home 7 November 2014, aged 84.

Del Smith, like his fellow Oregon aviation entrepreneur Jack Erickson, had acquired a collection of historic aircraft. His son Captain Michael King Smith ensured their continued display by establishing the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum at McMinnville OR.

Fire tanker operations were conducted by Evergreen Helicopters Inc, Marana AZ:

Boeing B-17G
N809Z to
N207EV

44-83785
3.75-2013
   71
   22
tfd 1.3.75 ex Intermountain Aviation, tanker #B71
restored to military configuration at Marana 89-90,
flew as USAAF "483785/K Shady Lady",
displayed Evergreen museum, McMinnville OR
sold 8.15 to Collings Foundation, rest. to airworthy
Dougas A-26
N3426G
44-35497
11.75-1977
  A17
tfd 11.75 ex Johnson Flying Service tanker #A17
sold .77 to Lynch Air Tankers MT
SP-2E Neptune
N202EV
Bu1341502
1977-2013
  141
retired at Marana AZ by 1990-2004
moved .05 to Evergreen museum, McMinnville OR
SP-2E Neptune
N203EV
Bu128382
1977-2010
  142
stored Marana in US Navy markings until 84
converted to tanker in 1984
retired at Marana by 2000-2009
sold 10.10 to Neptune Aviation Services, ferried to Alamogordo NM as #142 "Rebel Rousers II"
SP-2E Neptune
N204EV
Bu128378
1977-2013
   -
stored Marana in USN mkgs, stripped, derelict
SP-2E Neptune
N205EV
Bu128366
1977-2013
   -
stored Marana in USN mkgs, stripped, derelict
SP-2E Neptune
N206EV
Bu131482 
1977-2005
  145
retired at Marana AZ by 1985-2006,
struck-off USCR 30.6.05
EP-2E Neptune
N208EV
Bu124904
10.84-2013
   -
ex USFS evaluation Neptune N126Z tanker #H1,
retired and stored at Marana by 1980
purchased 29.10.84 by Evergreen Helicopters
rereg 10.85 as N208EV but stored for parts
struck-off USCR 18.6.13
Douglas C-54
N90203
45-481
1984
  166
Leased from Ken Spiva CA for 84 season





Evergreen founder Del Smith




Boeing B-17G N207EV tanker #22 at Marana AZ in November 1981. The windows are a reminder of its
covert ops days with previous owner Intermountain Aviation.                         Photo by Geoff Goodall




Evergreen's Tanker #22 in action




Neptunes N202EV #141 and N206EV #145 at Marana AZ in Novemebr 1981.       Photo by Geoff Goodall




The US Forest Service had this EP-2E Nepune tanked in 1970 by Rosenbalm Aviation in Oregon for evaluation.
After retirement by USFS in 1979 it was stored with USFS DC-3s at Marana, where it is seen in November 1981.
It was purchased by Evergreen in 1984, allocated N208EV, but stripped for parts.     Photo by Geoff Goodall




Ewing Aviation Co, San Ramon, California
In 1963 Ewing Aviation Co had a Sepulveda residential address in Los Angeles, changing by 1966 to rural San Ramon near San Francisco.
Tanker operations seem to have ceased by 1964, but two years later Ewing Aviation Co purchased a Boeing B-17 N6694C, a highly modified aircraft with cockpit moved aft 4 feet and the nose removed to allow aircraft engines to be air tested in the nose position. There was a partnership with Arnold Kolb's Black Hills Aviation at Spearfish SD to rebuild this hybrid into a B-17 fire tanker. By June 1967 it had been ferried to Spearfish with a rounded ferrying cap fitted on the nose, and left parked until the enture forward fuselage was grafted on N6694C. It changed ownership to Ewing-Kolb Aircraft Inc, Spearfish SD in August 1969 as the rebuild was being carried out, then in July 1970 to Arnold Kolb dba Black Hills Aviation in July 1970, entering service as Black Hills tanker #C12.

Grumman TBM
N9598C
Bu53740
9.60

purchased 9.60 ex US Dept of Interior: had been based in Alaska as sprayer with underwing T-33 drop tanks
crashed 28.9.60 while fire bombing El Prieto Canyon near La Canada CA
Grumman TBM
N9187Z
Bu53818
by 1963
  E89
sold .63 to Columbia Flying Service CA #E89
Boeing B-17G
N66573
42-102715
11.61-7.64
  E85
purchased 20.11.61 ex Fairchild Aerial Surveys
sold 15.7.64 to Black Hills Aviation SD #A10
Boeing JB-17G
N6694C
44-85813
12.66-8.69
   -
purchased 1.12.66 ex Curtiss Wright Corp CT
(test flying of aero engines in nose position)
tfd 15.8.69 to Ewing-Kolb Aircraft, Spearfish SD
rebuilt Spearfish SD with a B-17 forward fuselage
sold 30.7.70 to Black Hills Aviation, Spearfish SD





Ewing Aviation B-17G N66573 #E85 at Porterville CA in September 1962.     Photo by William T. Larkings




Another view of N66573, taken at Van Nuys CA on 23 June 1963.                       Photo by Barney Deatrick


Farmers Aero Ag, Fresno, California
Reported to have commenced fire tanker operations at Fresno in 1964 with a B-17 and Northrop Reporter. 
The sole tanker Northrop F-15A Reporter was Aero Enterprises' N9768Z based at Fresno in 1964, which did have "Farmers Aero Ag" painted on its nose in small script for a short time. Appears to have been an association with Aero Enterprises/King Baker, Fresno CA



Farmers Air Service, Klamath Falls, Oregon
Farmers Air Service Inc, Post Office Box 1068, Klamath Falls OR
Agricultural operation in business by 1949.
Three PBY-6A Catalinas were acquired from US Navy disposals in late 1950s and tanked, possibly initially for agricultural spraying.
By 1963 Farmers Air Service was operating the three Catalinas as fire tankers in conjunction with Liston Aircraft Inc, Klamath Falls with the same PO Box address. The 1963 USFS fire bomber allocations shows the three Catalinas with operator Liston Aircraft.
In early 1964 the Catalinas were transferred to Liston Aircraft.

Farmers Air Service other aircraft:
Vultee BT-13A N66920
Boeing Stearman: N53399, N58680, N56773, N1418M, N4769V
Piper  PA-18 Super Cub; N4882A, N2996B, N3859Z, N4362A

PBY-6A Catalina
N6455C
Bu64049
by 1962-1964
  F47
tfd .64 to Liston Aircraft, Klamath Falls OR
PBY-6A Catalina N6458C
Bu46644
by 1962-1964
  F46
  E33
tfd .64 to Liston Aircraft, Klamath Falls OR
PBY-6A Catalina N6459C
Bu46653
by 1962-1964
  F11
tfd .64 to Liston Aircraft, Klamath Falls OR




Fastway Air, Long Beach, California
Fastway Air Inc, 3365 Lakewood Blvd, Long Beach CA
Founded in 1959 by Edgar A. Neely.  An associate company was Fast Way Air Service at the same address.
Appears to have commenced using a B-7 for cargo and transport work, but during 1960 Neely had both B-17s tanked as fire tankers
The 1963 USFS tanker allocations list shows Fastway Air's two B-17s based at Chino CA.
A Fastway B-17 Captain was Larry Hill, who flew a corporate Howard 500 outside fire seasons.

Boeing TB-17G
43-38635
N3702G
7.60-4.67
  61
  E61
noted at Long Beach 10.59, 4.60 USAF markings,
purchased 21.7.60 ex Chas Fischer, Los Angeles
conv. to fire tanker during 1960
sold 25.4.67 to TBM Inc, Sequoia CA
Boeing VB-17G
44-83546
N3703G
9.59-4.67
  75
  E78
purchased 11.9.59 ex National Metals Co AZ
conv. to fire tanker 7.60 with two 900 gallon tanks
sold 25.4.67 to TBM Inc, Sequoia CA





Fastway Air Boeing B-17G N3702G tanker #E61.                                         Photo by William T. Larkins




N3703G was originally given this attactive paint job, which after modification to an air tanker, it retained for
the first few fire seasons with tanker #75 added to the tail.       Photo: Long Beach 1959 by Harry S. Gann





N3703G now #E78 in a more utilitarian scheme at Long Beach CA 18 January 1965. The fuselage windows
date from post-war USAF role as an ETB-17G used for electronics research        Photo by Barrney Deatrick





Firefly Inc, Portland, Oregon
President and Chief Pilot in 1966 was Clarence Hanna. Based at Troutdale Airport near Portland.
Between 1963-1972 owned three Steward Davis Super Catalinas upgraded with Wright R-2600 engines and many other changes.
The first two N609FF & N610FF were purchased in Canada in 1963 and Firefly contracted Fairey Aviation Ltd at Victoria BC to modify both to Super Catalinas with retardant tank and fittings for fire bombing or spraying.
N609FF was first to arrive in Oregon, delivered from Victoria in November 1963 by Clarence Hanna. It was not used on fires by Firefly Inc but leased during the summer of 1964 to Cal-Nat Airways in California as a land-based fire tanker.

The second aircraft N610FF had having its Super Catalinamodification program by Fairey Aviation at the same time, but Firefly instructed that its completion be delayed until N609FF was earning income. N610FF was used for spruce bud worm spraying in Alaska under the guise of test flights to evaluate the tanking system. However N610FF's tank and plumbing were soon removed because Firefly had been approached by Barringer Research offering long-term leases for both Super Catalinas for worldwide mineral magnetometer survey work. N610FF was handed over in 1964 and N609FF followed at the end of that year's fire bombing season.
The third aircraft N608FF was also leased for magnetometer mineral survey.

PBV-1A Canso
S-D Super Catalina
N609FF
RCAF 11060
1.63-1964
 E40
purchased 1.63 ex CF-NJD, delivered 11.63
leased .64 to Cal-Nat Airways as tanker #E40
leased .65-72 to Barringer Research/Terra Surveys for African mineral survey;
N609FF ferried Jahannesburg-Australia 6.72,
to VH-EXG 8.72 Terra Surveys

Fire Flyers Inc, Reno, Nevada
Grumman TBM
N9434Z
Bu86090
1965-1966
  E52
purchased ex Sonora Air Service NV #E52
sold .66 to Sis-Q Flying Service CA #E52

Firetankers Inc, Casper, Wyoming
Grumman TBM
N9596C
Bu69361
12.72-1.74

purchased 27.12.72 ex Air Tankers Inc, Casper WY
sold 1.74 to Norfolk Aerial Spraying as C-GEOG
Grumman TBM
N17930
Bu69531
1.73-1.74
  B19
purchased 12.72 ex Air Tankers Inc, Casper WY
sold 1.74 to Norfolk Aerial Spraying as C-GOBK

Flick Aviation, La Grande, Oregon
Flick Aviation Inc, 1306 North Street, La Grande OR
PB4Y-2 Privateer
N3191G
Bu59754
1965-3.68
  F85
purchased c65 ex Rosenbalm Avtn OR #F85
sold 4.3.68 to Rosenbalm Avtn OR #F85
Douglas A-26
N7954C
44-35724
1965-1970
  F83
purchased c65 ex Rosenbalm Avtn OR #F83
sold .70 to Rosenbalm Avtn OR #F83

P. F. Flickinger, Baynard, New Mexico

Grumman TBM
N7219C
Bu86280
c1968-c1972
  C50
purchased ex Thurman Yates, Gila NM #C50
sold to Maples Aviation, Vichy MO as a warbird





Grumman TBM-3E N7219C tanker #C50 at Mesa AZ in November 1969,              Photo by Gordon Reid


Flight Enterprises, Prescott, Arizona
Flight Enterprises Inc, Municiple Airport, Prescott AZ
Air tanker business operated by Ralph Martin, Carson Shade, and Robert A. Gallagher, conducting fire bombing and aerial spraying.
Bob Gallagher is reported to have acquired at least two PB4Y-2 Privateers from the Honduras Air Force, where they had been used as transports.
A Flight Enterprises company principal from 1960 was Carson Shade. An associated business was Aero Mechanics Inc, Prescott AZ
The 1963 USFS fire tanker allocations lists Flight Enterprises Inc contracted for Privateer N3739G and Invaders N4820E & N8629E.

A clandestine venture by the principals of Aero Associates Inc, Tucson AZ to illegally deliver twenty A-26 Invaders in military configuration to the Portuguese Air Force for use against uprisings in their African colonies was stopped mid-delivery in 1966 by the US Government. This resulted in the remaining A-26s parked at Tucson in weathered USAF markings being offered for sale. Eight were acquired by Flight Enterprises Inc but only two flown to Prescott. The others were stripped for parts,and left parked at Tucson.
Flight Enterprises had ceased operations by 1973. The company's Prescott Airport facilities and approvals appear to have been taken over by Aero Flite Inc which moved base from Cody WY to Prescott.
Other aircraft:
Kaman HUK-1 N5144

PB4Y-2 Privateer
N3739G
Bu59819
1960-1965
  C30
converted to fire tanker at Prescott c60
retired Prescott by 65
sold .65 to Sergio Tomassoni/SS&T  #C30
PB4Y-2 Privateer N1911H
Bu59792
3.69-9.69
  C31
registered 13.3.69 Flight Enterprises Inc
leased 69 to Avery Aviation, Greybull WY
crashed 3.9.69 during retardant drop on fire on Duncom Mountain, Bighorn National Forest WY
Grumman TBM
N9319Z
Bu53444
6.61

registered 5.6.61 Flight Enterprises Inc
crashed 15.6.61 firebombing near Payson AZ
Douglas DC-3
N404D
2107
4.62-c1964
 
purchased 9.4.62 ex Mohawk Airlines
probably used for spraying (unconf)
sold c64 to Intermountain Airways
Douglas A-26/
Monarch 26
N4820E (1
44-35217
by 1963-3.73
  C29
purchased ex Rock Island Oil & Refining Co KS
sold 1.3.73 to Air Spray, Canada as CF-FIM
Douglas A-26 N8629E
41-39572
3.63-6.68
  C31
purchased 15.3.63 ex Rock Island Oil & Refining
crashed 22.6.68 emergency landing Show Low AZ due engine fire while firebombing
Douglas A-26 N91355
44-35676
1967

purchased .67 ex Aero Associates Inc, Tucson AZ
reported crashed c67 firebombing Cibicue AZ
Douglas A-26 N91317
41-39398
1967-5.71

purchased .67 ex Aero Associates Inc, Tucson AZ
sold 5.71 to Conair Aviation as CF-DFC
Douglas A-26 N91351
44-35901
1967-1973
   -
purchased .67 ex Aero Associates Inc, Tucson AZ
no civil conversion
remained stored Tucson in USAF markings
Douglas A-26 N91352
44-35385
1967-1973    -
purchased .67 ex Aero Associates Inc, Tucson AZ
no civil conversion
remained stored Tucson in USAF markings
Douglas A-26 N91353
44-35635
1967-1973
   -
purchased .67 ex Aero Associates Inc, Tucson AZ
no civil conversion
remained stored Tucson in USAF markings
Douglas A-26 N91357
41-39422
1967-1973
   -
purchased .67 ex Aero Associates Inc, Tucson AZ
no civil conversion
remained stored Tucson in USAF markings
Douglas A-26 N91358
41-39483
1967-1973
   -
purchased .67 ex Aero Associates Inc, Tucson AZ
no civil conversion
remained stored Tucson in USAF markings
Douglas A-26 N91359
43-22559
1967-1973
   -
purchased .67 ex Aero Associates Inc, Tucson AZ
no civil conversion
remained stored Tucson in USAF markings





Invader N91317 at Prescott AZ in November 1969, bomb bay doors open.            Photo by Gordon Reid




One of Flight Enterprises spare A-26s at Tucson was N91351, seen there in 1977 by then with a parts dealer
Photo by Geoff Goodall


Flying Fireman Inc, Spanaway, Washington
Formed as a US affiliate of the Canadian Catalina operation Flying Fireman Ltd, Victoria BC
President of the Canadian company was Richard L. Rude, and the Washington company quoted as Bud Rude.
The US operation commenced in 1978 with a DC-3 for a brief time and in 1986 a PBY-6A Super Catalina (engines changed to Wright R-2600 Cyclines) was transferred from the Canadian fleet.
The Catalina was operated in an arrangement with Awood Air, Spanaway from 1988 for some years.

A 2003 report on Flying Fireman Inc quoted that N85U, based at Deer Park Airport WA was contracted to
the State of Washington Department of Natural Resources until the end of October that year. By mid August IT had flown over 100 hours on fire attack duties,   dropping foam, not retardant, along the edges of the fire area. The Catalina carries a 50 gallon tank of foam concentrate which is mixed with water scooped from the nearest suitable lake into the aircraft's 1,500 gallon tank.

Other aircraft:
- DC-3 N21748 (2106) purchased .78, sold 11.6.79 to Carribbean Aero Services
- Fairchild F-27F N222DG (31) purchased c82 ex Pacific Alaska Airways, sold 29.8.83 to Misty Air, Seattle WA
- DH.114 Riley Heron N414SA (14056) purchased c81, sold 25.4.83 to Misty Air, Seattle WA. Returned 27.10.83 ex Misty Air,
sold 7.8.85 to Free Flite Inc, Tulsa OK

Douglas DC-6A
N777SQ
44071
11.79
  50
purchased/lsd 8.11.79 ex Sis-Q Flying Service CA tanker #50
sold/lsd 2.80 to Misty Air, Seattle WA
at Miami 7.2.80, Paine WA 12.2.80
reported stolen Miami .80, impounded Bimini .80 with illegal drug residue; reregistered 4.80 N12347 Misty Air,
sold 8.80 Intak Alaska
PBY-6A Catalina Super Catalina
N85U
Bu64041
3.86-2015
  85
tfd 14.3.86 ex Flying Fireman Ltd ex C-GFFI #9
leased .15 to movie prodution company, painted in US Navy makings for filming in Florida,
ran aground 19.8.16 on sandbar Orange Beach FL,
broke up when lifted by maritime salvage crane





Flying Fireman Inc's PBY-6A Super Catalina N85U in action


Don Goodman, Missoula, Montana
Donald A. Goodman, 2618 S Ave W, Missoula MT
Don Goodman learnt to fly at McCall ID pre-war and was an accomplished snow skier. During WWII he served with the US Army's10th Mountain Division. He moved to Missoula MT in 1950 where he flew transports and tankers for Johnson Flying Service. He is credited with many improvements to aircraft ski design.
He started his own fire tanker business at Missoula with a Grumman TBM Avenger, which he towed with wings folded through the streets of Missoula to his house for winter maintenance.
Goodman was contracted to USFS with TBM N7157C for the 1963 fire season. No tanker number was quoted

Don Goodman was killed on 16 July 1976 while piloting his A-26 Invader attacking the Battlement Creek fire in mountains near Grand Valley, Colorado. Thew fire blew up unexpectedly and the A-26 struck a hullside  and was destroyed. He was 58 years of age and had gone back to flying his tanker after a run of problems with hired pilots. Three ground fire fighters also died and a fourth badly burnt. A memorial to the tragedy was later unveiled at nearby Parachute CO, featuring a propeller blade salvaged from the A-26 wreck.

An additional tanker Invader was delivered after Goodman's death so probably was not used prior to being resold in Alaska within a year.

Grumman TBM
N7157C
Bu86020
2.61
  A22
  63  
purchased 1.2.61
gear retracted during landing roll Cour d'Alene ID 14.8.67
sold 1.76 to Forest Protection Ltd, New Brunswick as C-GFPL
Douglas A-26
N5426E
44-34146
4.68-7.76
  56
purchased 23.4.68 ex storage Marana AZ
tanked for fire bombing at Missoula
forced landing 10.7.73 off-airport Idaho Falls ID
destroyed 16.7.76 struck hill during fire bombing,
Grand Valley CO. Pilot Don Goodman killed
Douglas A-26
N8026E
44-35323
1977
  (55)
purchased .77 ex Bill Dempsay #55
probably not operated as a tanker
sold .77 to Lester Risley, Alaska for river sanding



Don Goodman's Douglas A-26 Invader N5426E parked on a cluttered ramp at Missoula MT.
Photo: http://napoleon130.tripod.com/id388.html





Back to the Warbirds Directory