Last edited 22 December 2021
US FIRE BOMBER OPERATORS : Part 7: R to S

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


A major player for over 20 years was Sis-Q Flying Service Inc of Montague later Santa Rosa in northern California.
Their DC-6B N111AN tanker #46 was on duty at Klamath Falls air attack base Oregon in September 1981.  
Photo by Geoff Goodall


Ralco Inc, Cheyenne Wyoming
Ralph S. Johnson trading as Master Equipment Company, Cheyenne WY, conducted aerial operations as RALCO Inc.
Ralph Johnson Flying Service, Cheyenne WY
Ralph S. Johnson, 907 Frontier Avenue, Cheyenne WY and 2114 Macdonald Avenue, Richmond CA
Aeronautical Services Corp, Cheyenne WY
RALCO bases at Cheyenne WY, Douglas AZ, Bainbridge GA, later Chandler AZ
Ralph Johnson was an elder statesman of the US aerial application industry. A highly experienced airline captain who was flying Boeing 40 biplane mail planes for United Airlines by 1930 before going on to Boeing 247s, DC-2s, DC-3s and post-war Constellations. During the 1950s he was a pioneer in heavy aircraft spraying, dusting and pest baiting using Fairchild C-82 Packets. A 1957 report described Ralph Johnson flying a C-82 alongside another C-82 and a C-122 spraying in Wyoming, with a US Dept of Agriculture Navion above directing the runs.
During 1957 RALCO Inc purchased 22 surplus US Navy PV-2 Harpoons and standardised on that type. RALCO specialised in wide acre pest control application with groups of tanker aircraft flying in low level formation, operating across the USA attacking grasshopper swarms, locusts, fire ant infestations, fruit fly in orchards and spruce budworm in forests. This work was severely curtailed in the late 1970s by strict US ecology protection laws.
When the US Forest Service commenced offering annual contracts to commercial operators of heavier tanker aircraft for forest fire bombing, Ralph Johnson had at least four of his PV-2 tankers modified for fire attack, later adding a C-54 for firebombing contracts.
He was also active in cropdusting, airliner sales and on the warbird scene.
Ralph's son Stephen J. Johnson, Richmond CA whose business was Vanpac Carriers, was also active in the warbird scene, owning a B-25 and P-51Ds.

Some examples of Ralph Johnson's varied aviation enterprises:
- 1959 Captain Ralph S. Johnson
flew Douglas C-74 Globemaster N8199H (ex USAF disposals) from Tucson AZ to Cuba 21.3.59
for Hamilton Aircraft, Tucson which had carried out the aircraft's civil certifiation. A planned sale to Castro's government fell through.

- TB-25N N86247 registered 1.62 to Ralph S.Johnson t/a Compass Aviation, Richmond CA. Flown as warbird painted as General James Doolittle's Tokyo raider 40-2344. Transferred to American Air Museum 12.69 (see next)

- Lockheed T-33A N123MJ registered by 1968 to
Ralph S.Johnson, Richmond CA. Transferred to American Air Museum 12.69 (see next)

- 1969 Partnership of Ralph Johnson and William Penn Patrick (Millionair businessman, founder of Holiday Magic cosmetics home marketing empire) to establish American Air Museum, Richmond CA. Patrick owned a P-51D Mustang N2872D and Canadair Sabre N275X. His Sabre flown by another pilot crashed on takeff from Sacramento CA 24.9.72 hitting an icecream parlour killing 22 and injuring 28, and Patrick himself was killed the following year when his Mustang crashed 9.6.73 at Clearlake CA.
American Air Museum collected aircraft at Oakland Airport CA including B-25 N86427 and former Eastern Airlines Douglas DC-7B N816D. A Boeing B-29 Fertile Myrtle (actually ex US Navy P2B-1S Bu84029) was acquired from US Navy disposals in 1969, ferried from storage at NAS Litchfield Park AZ to Tucson AZ by Johnson and Patrick. After inspection by Aero Services, they ferried it to Oakland in 11.69 where it was parked. After Patrick's death the aviation museum plan was abandoned. Ralph Johnson test flew the B-29 again on 27.4.78 but it was parked at Oakland until acquired in 1984 by Kermit Weeks.

- Known aircraft sales, all in the name of Master Equipemnt Co, Cheyenne WY:
Lockheed L.18 Lodestar N1833M purchased 21.2.53, sold 29.9.53 to Gulf Oil
DC-3 N73421 purchased 2.52
, sold 10.52 to Colombia
DC-3 N73422 purchased 2.52, sold 2.53 to Colombia
DC-3 N5900V purchased 5.54, sold 3.55 to Brazil
Convair 440 N9303 purchased 3.70, sold 3.72
Convair 440 N9305 purchased 3.70, sold 3.72
Convair 440 N9310 purchased 3.70, sold 4.71
Convair 440 N9314 purchased 3.70, sold 1.72 to Trinidad
Convair 440 N9318 purchased 3.70, sold 5.72
Convair 240 N1022C purchased 3.72, sold .72
Martin 404 N472M purchased 7.87 by Ralph S. Johnson, Cheynne WY, stored, tfd 14.3.94 to B.Johnson, Cheyenne WY. Donated to Save-A-Connie Inc

- 1979 Ralph S. Johnson, Stephen J.Johnson and Art E. Stagg negotiated the purchase of 15 to 20 Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) P-51D Mustangs including spare parts and damaged components. Shipped to Oakland ex Sourabaya 21.3.79 where they were marketed under Vanpac Carriers name as Mustang restoration kits.

- 1980s: Ralph S. Johnson was President of Quarry Products Inc, Richmond CA. This business took over ownership of the remaining RALCO PV-2 Harpoons, ferried most to Scheyville CA where they were parked while being advertised for sale.

- Ralph Johnson continued flying his PV-2s while aged in his 80s, finally retired from managing his businesses during the 1980s.
A 1983 USFS listing of tanker operators quotes RALCO contact as Kenneth J. Wilkinson, Castro Valley CA


Other aircraft:
Sikorsky R-6A N5283N (ex USAF 43-45476) owned during 1950s-60s, donated 10.63 to San Diego Junior College as instructional airframe
PA-23 Aztec 250 N4850P (1968-1970)
Callair A-9As N3262G, N3575G (1965-1971)

22 Lockheed PV-2 Harpoons were purchased on 12 August 1957 from US Navy disposals at NAS Litchfield Park AZ. All were ferried to Douglas-Bisbnee AZ where they were stored, being civil certificated and converted as required as pesticide spraying tankers or poison pellet bait spreading.  Other PV-2s were later acquired. Identified fire bomber tankers highlighted.
Douglas B-18
N48584
36-314
by 1954

no other details
Douglas B-18
N4611V
-
5.55-4.57

Purchased 26.5.55 ex J.H.Hubbs (freighter),
sold 4.57 to Mexico

Fairchild C-82A Packet
N4828V
44-23041
8.55-6.61

Purchased ex USAF disposals,
fitted with tank and spraying equipment 6.56; sold 6.61
Fairchild C-82A
N53228
44-23036
1.57-6.61

Purchased ex USAF disposals,
fitted with tank and spraying equipment 4.57; sold 6.61
Chase YC-122C
Avitruk
N68595
49-2885
11.56-1960s

Purchased 11.56 ex USAF disposals Davis Monthan AFB AZ,
Sold .57 to Roberts Aircraft Co, Boise ID as a sprayer
Repurchased c60 ex Roberts Aircraft Co
fate unknown, Registration cancelled 6.76
Chase YC-122C
N5904V
49-2886
11.56-1958

Purchased 11.56 ex USAF disposals Davis Monthan AFB AZ,
civil certification by Hamilton Aircraft at Tucson AZ, re-engined with Wright R-2600s, wingtip plates; sold c58 to Peru as OB-OAR
Lockheed PV-2
N6856C
Bu37190
3.57-1.80
C38
38
Registered 3.57 to Master Equipment Co.
Converted to fire tanker. Sold 22.1.80
Lockheed PV-2
N7248C
Bu37254
8.57-6.84

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
stored Douglas AZ, tanked 1.71 as a sprayer
sold 6.84 to James R. Harrell, Bainbridge GA
Lockheed PV-2 N7249C
Bu37171
8.57-4.87

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
stored Douglas AZ, tanked 11.72 as a sprayer
tfd 4.87 to Quarry Products for resale, sold 12.92 as a warbird
Lockheed PV-2D N7250C
Bu84061
8.57-11.86

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
stored Douglas AZ, tanked 3.66 as a granular spreader
sold 11.86 as a warbird
Lockheed PV-2D N7251C
Bu37550
8.57-7.87

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
stored Douglas AZ, tanked 1.58 as sprayer, sold 7.87
Lockheed PV-2 N7252C
Bu37269
8.57-5.63

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
stored Douglas AZ, tanked 2.62 as sprayer
damaged 18.3.62 undercarriage collapsed landing La Grange GA
crashed 7.5.63 while spraying, destroyed, Angola LA
Lockheed PV-2 N7253C
Bu37184
8.57-2.86

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
forced landing 26.6.79 gear-up while spraying, Humble City NM
sold 2.86
Lockheed PV-2 N7254C
Bu37219
8.57-10.65

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
ran off runway landing 11.10.65 Tupelo MS struck earth bank,
ferried to RALCO base Bainbridge GA, stripped for parts
Lockheed PV-2 N7255C
Bu37257
8.57-12.75

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
stored Douglas AZ; rear fuselage used to repair N6856C c74 at Douglas, remainder donated 12.75 to Pima County Air Museum, Tucson AZ, restored for display as "37257/181E/Navy Minneapolis”
Lockheed PV-2 N7256C
Bu37216
8.57-6.87

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
gear collapsed 24.6.77 landing Torrington WY grasshopper spraying
tfd 6.87 to Quarry Products for resale, sold 4.95 as a warbird
Lockheed PV-2 N7257C
Bu37270
8.57-1991

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
stored Douglas AZ, tanked 4.69 as sprayer & spreader;
retired at Chandler AZ by 1991, sold 2007 as warbird
Lockheed PV-2 N7258C
Bu37137
8.57-1964

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
stored Douglas AZ, tanked .58
sold .64 to Intermountain Aviation, Marana AZ
Lockheed PV-2 N7259C
Bu37246
8.57-1.58

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
civil certification 1.58, sold 1.58 to Mexico as XB-BUT
Lockheed PV-2 N7260C
Bu37454
8.57-5.69

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
stored Douglas AZ, tanked 1.59 for spraying,
undercarriage collapsed 28.3.65 landing Laurel MS while spraying
crashed destroyed landing 5.5.69 Sebring FL while spraying
Lockheed PV-2 N7261C
Bu37107
8.57-6.87

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
stored Douglas AZ, tanked 6.62 for spraying,
tfd 6.87 to Quarry Products for resale, sold 12.92 as a warbird
Lockheed PV-2 N7262C
Bu37524
8.57-6.87

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
tfd 6.87 to Quarry Products for resale, sold 4.95 as a warbird
Lockheed PV-2 N7263C
Bu37281
8.57-6.74

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
stored Douglas AZ, tanked 8.69,
crashed 12.6.74 near Winslow AZ while fire bombing
Lockheed PV-2 N7264C
Bu37386
8.57-...

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
stored Douglas AZ, tanked 4.60 for spraying,
fate unknown, not active by 1990
Lockheed PV-2 N7265C
Bu37396
8.57-1.86

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
stored Douglas AZ, tanked .66 for spraying, sold 1.86 as a warbird
Lockheed PV-2 N7266C
Bu37225
8.57-5.67

Purchased 12.8.57 ex USN disposals Litchfield Park AZ,
stored Douglas AZ, sold 5.67
Lockheed PV-2 N7080C
Bu37499
12.63-11.89
C30
C39

39
Purchased 12.63 ex Howard Aero as an executive transport,
tanked 5.65 with 1200 gallon tank as sprayer,
later modified as a fire bomber. Sold 11.89 to Hirth Air Tankers WY
Lockheed PV-2 N86491
Bu37530
.62-10.73

Purchased .62 ex Trade-Ayer Inc, Linden NJ sales stock
crashed 10.10.73 La Grange GA
Lockheed PV-2 N86492
Bu37507
10.62-4.87

Purchased 10.62 ex R.A.Gallagher, Tucson AZ sales stock
tanked 8.63 for spraying
tfd 4.87 to Quarry Products for resale, sold 4.95 as a warbird
Lockheed PV-2D
N86493
Bu84060
10.62-6.85

Purchased 10.62 ex R.A.Gallagher, Tucson AZ sales stock
tanked 4.64 for spraying. Sold 6.85 as warbird
Lockheed PV-2
Howard Super Harpoon
N1448
Bu37512
9.73-10.76

Executive model. Purchased ex Astro Airways, Pine Bluff AR.
Not tanked, sold 10.76
Lockheed PV-2
N7086C
Bu37444
.77-c84
43
112
Purchased .77 ex John Hammersley Walker MO as tanker #F43
original belly tank replaced by a new metal retardant tank
damaged 2.5.80 undercarriage collapsed landing, Philipsburg PA
leased 81-83 to T&G Inc, Chandler AZ as tanker #112
sold c84 to David C.Tallichet/Military Aircraft Restoration Corp CA
Curtiss C-46
N74173
44-78651
c67-10.69

Purchased c67 ex Zantop. sold 10.69
Curtiss C-46
N611Z
43-47350
8.68-10.73

Purchased 6.8.68 ex Zantop. sold 10.73.
Ferried 23.10.73 Bainbridge GA to Lakeland FLto new owner, water in fuel, power failure on arrival, wheels-up landing Lakeland FL
Douglas A-26
N3152G
44-34726
.63-3.65

Purchased c63 Aeronautical Services Corp, Cheyenne WY
Tfd 5.64 RALCO Inc, Cheyenne WY
not tanked, stored Tucson AZ in military configuration.
Sold 25.3.65 to Greg Board/ Aero Associates, Tucson AZ,
CofA 6.65, illegal export .65 ferried to Portuguese Air Force
Douglas A-26
 N9422Z
44-34328
8.63-3.65

Purchased 14.8.63 Aeronautical Services Corp, Cheyenne WY
Tfd 15.5.64 RALCO Inc, Cheyenne WY
not tanked, stored Tucson AZ in military configuration.
Sold 25.3.65 to Greg Board/ Aero Associates, Tucson AZ,
illegal export .65 ferried to Portuguese Air Force
Douglas A-26
N5426E
44-34146
.63-4.68

Purchased .63 Aeronautical Services Corp, Cheyenne WY
not tanked, parked Marana AZ in USAF markings 63-67
sold 23.4.68 to Don Goodman, Missoula MT, became tanker #56
Douglas C-54Q
N99212
Bu56504
12.74-9.82
113
Purchased 12.74 ex US Navy disposals RALCO,
dep. Davis Monthan AFB AZ storage 19.12.74 ferry to Douglas AZ,
stored Douglas USN markings until WAIG belly tank installed.
Sold 1.9.82 to J.G.Rogers, St Helens OR


Chase YC-122C N5904V with underwing spraybars while operated by RALCO


RALCO Lockheed PV-2 N6856C tanker #C38 at Loma Rica CA in September 1968.       Photo by Barney B. Deatrick


N6856C still going strong, at Chandler AZ in July 1981.                                         Photo by John Chapman


Lockheed PV-2 N7263C at RALCO's Douglas AZ base in May 1973, outside the former wartime Army Airfield hangar.
N7263C does not have wing spraybars but has just been washed down after an aerial application mission.
All RALCO PV-2s originally wore this standard scheme of white roof and tailplane, with red trim.
This view shows the crew door and APU power plug.          Photo: Peter R. Keating collection


RALCO PV-2 fire tanker N7080C tanker #C30 was also at Douglas AZ in May 1973.        Peter R. Keating collection


N7080C with different tanker #C39 looking as good as new at Chandler AZ in August 1989Photo by Geoff Goodall


A line of RALCO PV-2s fitted with belly spreading gear starting engines.           Photo: Ralph S. Johnson


PV-2 N7086C dropping fire retardant                                                                    Photo: Ralph S,.ohnson


The impressive high performance Howard Super Harpoon N1448 which Ralph Johnson flew as RALCO company transport.
Photo by Peter R. Keating


PV-2 N7248C at RALCO's Bainbridge GA base October 1981 was fitted for fire ant dustingPhoto by Geoff Goodall


Also at Bainbridge GA October 1981 was RALCO PV-2D N7250C with belly spreader gear.    Photo by Geoff Goodall


Stripped hulk of RALCO PV-2 N7254C at Bainbridge GA in October 1981.                       Photo by Geoff Goodall


N7257C was with a group of RALCO PV-2 sprayers at Chandler AZ in November 1981    Photo by Geoff Goodall


RALCO PV-2 sprayer N7251C at Chandler AZ November 1981,                        Photo by Geoff Goodall


RALCO's sole C-54 N99212 tanker #113 at Chandler AZ in November 1981.                 Photo by Geoff Goodall


Ranchers Inc, Boise Idaho
Robert E. Savaria and James Warner, trading as Ranchers Inc, 5010 Franlin Road, Boise ID
Bob Savaria of Fresno CA was a former wartime USAAF pilot who acquired Northrop P-61B Black Widow N30020, which had been previously been used for high altitude survey work. In early 1963 CAL-IDA Aviation Co, Boise ID, which may have been an associate company, installed a 1,600 US gallons (16,800 lbs weight) capacity retardant delivery system: comprisinfg two 600 gallon tanks and the main dropping tank 1,000 gallons.
This aircraft was deployed to the Fresno California Division of Forestry air attack base at Frenso-Hammer Field for the 1963 summer wild fire season. Savaria was killed and the aircraft destroyed when it struck a mountain ridge during their fifth attack mission of the day against a fire in the Sequoia National Forest near Porterville CA in August 1963.
Northrop P-61B
Black Widow
N30020
42-34919
4.63-8.63
E53
Registered 22.2.63 CAL-IDA Aviation Corp, Boise Id
Purchased 1.4.63 Ranchers Inc, Boise ID
Crashed 23.8.63 near Porterville CA, Bob Savaria killed


P-61B Black Widow N30020 tanker #E53 at Fresno CA in 1963.                         napoleon130.tripod.com 

Rector Air Service, Chino California
Leonard R. Rector trading as Rector Air Service, Pacific Palisades CA
Only one aircaft has been identified, Grumman TBM N9548Z which was contracted to USFS in 1963 based at Chino CA


Grumman TBM
N9548Z
Bu91598
by 1962-1966
E76
Rector Air Service by 1962
tfd to Leonard R.Rector, Pacific Palisades CA by 1966
Sold to Hemet Valley Flying Service by 1969


Rector Air Service Grumman TBM N9548Z at Long Beach CA diring 1964.   Photo by Eddie Coates

Red Dodge Inc, Anchorage AK - see Earl Dodge

Reeder Flying Service, Twin Falls Idaho
Reeder Flying Service Inc, City-County Airport, Twin Falls ID
Charles T. Reeder. 576 Buchanan Street, Twin Falls ID (1969)
Reeder Air, Twin Falls ID
Charles T. Reeder started Reeder Flying Service at Twin falls in 1941 as a flying school aircraft charter. It later branched into aerial agriculture.
Reeder Flying Service became a significant aerial fire fighting operator from the late 1950s, operating air tankers and flying smoke jumpers also providing air transport capability to forestry areas. Family member John T. Reeder was a manager of sections of the business. RFS Grumman TBMs were equipped for spraying or firebombing and five were deployed to
Canadian forest pest spraying 1969-1972.

From the beginning of its forestry contract work Reeder Flying Service had a large fleet of Bell 47 type helicopters which were replaced during 1970s-80s with turbine Jet Rangers, Long Rangers, Bell 212s and AS350 Ecureuils. 
By 1980 the forestry side of the company was renamed Reeder Air and fire bombing contracts with USFS were solely with helicopters.
Reeder Flying Service DC-3 N154R crashed on takeoff McGrath Alaska 3 Julky 1970 with 25 smoke jumpers on board, 1 pilot and 4 pax killed.


Other aircraft:
- Agricultural:
Travelair 4000: N6288, N9984
Vultee BT-13 N53319
Boeing Stearman: N58982, N58983, N58985, N58991
Piper PA-25 Pawnee: N6619Z
Callair A9: N9668Z, N3608G
Grumman G164 Ag Cat: N4653, N4757, N48471, N48496, N8549H, N9736
Cessna 188 Agwagon: N8091V, N9866V
- Transport
Cessna T-50 Bobcat N64132
Noorduyn Norseman N66799 (to Reeder Flying Service ex USFS, sold 10.59 to CF-LZO)
Douglas DC-3 N154R (to Reeder Flying Service c61 ex USFS, crashed on takeoff McGrath AK 3.7.70)
Beech C-45G N9430Z (by 1962, sold 5.74)
Beech E18S N825YC (6.66 to 11.71 smoke jumper modifications)
Pilatus Porter N13201
North American SNJ Texan: N3255G (7.59 to 64)
- General Aviation

Beech S35 Bonanza N8922U
Bell 47s    N73239, N73218, N73972, N73978, N73995, N7878S, N8415E, N8401E, N8444E
Cessnas: 150 N7120F,N8800S; 172 N1665F, N8363X, N3670L, N758TV; 175 N7694M; 177 N2308Y; 180 N9133C, N68668; 182 N1815X, N2326R, N1915X, N2070X, N52743,  N71595; 185 N5895T; 206 N5050F, N2531X; 210 N761QP;
Piper J3C Cub N6418H, N88409, N26817; PA-12 Super Cruiser N3452M;
Piper PA-18 Super Cub: N8687D. N1619A, N2976P, N9111D, N2978Z, N7165B



Grumman TBM
Avenger
N4168A
Bu91565
1957-5.75
D8
58
crashed 29.5.75 on takeoff Millinocket ME during seasonal Canadian forest pest spraying
Grumman TBM N4169A
Bu85849
10.75-3.81
63
58
9
purchased 15.10.57 by Reeder ex US Navy at NAS Norfolk VA
retired at Twin Falls 21.6.69, parked in open,
sold 3.81 to Gary M. Wolverton, Kimberly ID for onsale as warbird
Grumman TBM N4170A
Bu91453
1957-3.81
D10

sold 3.81 to Gary M. Wolverton, Kimberly ID for onsale as warbird
Grumman TBM N4171A
Bu91521
1957-1977
D11
sold c77 to Louis Deterding, Havre MT for rest. as warbird
Grumman TBM N73642
Bu69329
by1963-3.81
D23
sold 3.81 to Gary M. Wolverton, Kimberly ID for onsale as warbird
Grumman TBM N9429Z
Bu91714
by1962-3.81
D12
E51
57
sold 3.81 to Gary M. Wolverton, Kimberly ID for onsale as warbird
Grumman TBM N9547Z
Bu85957
c1965-3.81
E80
purchased c65 ex Aero Crop Service,Tolleson AZ as tanker #E80,
sold 3.81 to Gary M. Wolverton, Kimberly ID for onsale as warbird
Grumman TBM N7030C
Bu53454
c1965-3.81
D13
purchased c65 ex Idaho Air Tankers, Boise ID as tanker #D13.
sold 3.81 to Gary M. Wolverton, Kimberly ID for onsale as warbird
Grumman TBM N7075C
Bu53785
c1965-c78
55
purchased c65 ex Marsh Aviation Co AZ as tanker #23
sold c78 to Dwight Reimer, Shafter CA for rest. as warbird
Grumman TBM N7076C
Bu53726
c1965-3.81
56
purchased c65 ex Marsh Aviation Co AZ as tanker #24
sold 3.81 to Gary M. Wolverton, Kimberly ID for onsale as warbird
Grumman TBM
N9548Z
Bu91598
c1970-8.73
E76
purchased c70 ex Hemet Valley Flying Service CA as tanker #E76
crashed 18.8.73 forced landing gear-up near Columbia CA,
lifted out with wings folded by chopper .73.
wreck sold .76 to Ralph M. Ponte, Grass Valley CA, rest. as warbird
Douglas A-26
Invader
N9402Z
43-22653
2.66-2.81
D26
purchased 19.2.66 ex Idaho Air Tankers, Boise ID
sold 2.81 to Air Spray Ltd, Red Deer ALTA Canada as C-GPTW
Douglas A-26 N9403Z
44-35810
4.71-1.81
D27
purchased 1.4.71 ex Clifton H. Troxell, Arden NV
sold 1.81 to Air Spray Ltd, Red Deer ALTA Canada as C-GPUC
Douglas A-26 N91354
41-39468
5.71-8.74
D28
purchased 1.5.71 ex Thompson Flying Service, Salt Lake City UT
crashed 1.8.74 Twin Falls, runway collision with Beech 23 N2592W, cockpit area burnt out,
tanker pilot died,
hulk on Twin Falls Airport dump 80s
Douglas A-26 N4805E
44-34121
c1972-c1974
-
purchased c72 ex Koch Industries Inc, Hutchison KS
tanked at Twin Falls by Reeder Flying Services but not operated
sold c74 to Lynch Air Tankers, Billings MT as tanker #58





Noorduyn Norseman N66799 fitted with spraybars in USFS service, before it was transferred to Reeder Flying Service.
Photo by William T. Larkins




Reeder Flying Service Grumman TBM N4171A tanker #11 at Twin Falls 1972                  Photo by Jay Sherlock




Reeder Flying Service Grumman TBM N7076C tanker #56 at Twin Falls 1972.             Photo by Jay Sherlock




N4169A heads a line of retired Reeder Grumman TBM tankers at Twin Falls in July 1977.        nbavengers.com




N4169A was still in the junk area at Twin Falls Airport in Ocober 1992.                         Photo by Geoff Goodall




Reeder Flying Service Douglas A-26 N9402Z at Twin Falls in May 1973.            Photo by Jay Sherlock




Reeder Douglas A-26 N9403Z tanker #D27 at Twin Falls Idaho.                  napoleon130.tripod.com   
             



A-26 N91354 tanker #D28 at Twin Falls ID after the runway collision on 1 August 1974.     napoleon130.tripod.com


Richardson's Airway, Yakima, Washington - see Aero Spray Inc, Vancouver, Washington


Riverside Aircaft Co, Riverside California
Riverside Aircraft Co, 4156 10th Street, Riverside CA

Founded by William Morrow and Henry Barron as an aerial agricultural business, which expanded into fire tanker operations. Ceased operations by 1966
Ag aircraft included Boeing Stearman N1205N


Grumman TBM
N9083Z
Bu53492
by1962-7.66
E63
sold 15.7.66 to Aero Union Corp CA as tanker #E28
Grumman TBM N7239C
Bu91450
by1963-1966
E64
sold .66 to Aero Union Corp CA
Grumman TBM N5260V
Bu91726
1958-1966
E65
sold .66 to Aero Union Corp CA
Lockheed PV-2
N6857C
Bu37250
10.59-4.65

purchased 10.59 ex Max Biegert AZ
sold 23.4.65 to Rosenbalm Aviation Oregon as a bait spreader




Roberts Aircraft Co, Reno NV, later Boise Idaho
Roberts Aircraft Co, Reno NV
Roberts Aircraft Co, PO Box 2800 Boise ID

Roberts Aircraft Co, PO Box 877, Scottsdale AZ
Roberts Aircraft Co, Lovelock NV


Agricultural business founded in 1939 by W. Lynn Roberts which used heavy aircraft for wide acre spraying operations. From 1951 held USFS contracts to spray USFS spruce budworm insecticide across forests in Oregon, Idaho and other states. The Douglas B-18 N66267 was modified for fire bombing as well as spraying.
Roberts Aircraft Co held the FAA type certificate for the civil conversion of the Chase YC-122 Avitruc.
During the 1960s the business, now managed by Lynn's two sons Ken and Jim Roberts, acquired Bell 47 and Hiller helicopters and from the end of that decade became a specialist rotary wing contractor, purchasing newer types like Hughes 500, Aerospatale Alouettes and Lamas, with a new base Colorado Springs CO. Today the business has helicopters on world-wide contracts. Walter Lynn Roberts died 11 December 1981 aged 70.

Agricultural:
Boeing Stearman: N48651, N63480, N56763, N62671
Vultee BT-13 N56158, N66707
Other aircraft:
AT-6B Texan NC61069 (1946-48), Beech D17S N33H



Douglas B-18A
N66267
38-593
by1951-1976
D18
retired at Phoenix-Litchfield AZ, open storage 1968-76,
donated 3.76 to Pima County Air Museum, moved by road 5.9.76
Douglas A-20G
N5069N
43-21658
4.56-c1965

purchased 18.4.56 ex Trade-Ayer Co. Operated as a sprayer
fate unknown, no longer operated by 1965
Douglas A-20G
N67921
43-22210
4.56-7.59

purchased 27.4.56 ex Thorne Engineering. Operated as a sprayer
Sold 8.7.59 to Ray Wilcox, Boise ID
Chase YC-122
N68595
49-2885
.57-c1960

purchased .57 ex Ralph Johnson/RALCO; operated as sprayer
sold c60 back to Ralph Johnson/RALCO, Cheyenne WY





B-18A N66267 at Reno NV in July 1952.                                                          Photo by William T. Larkins




B-18A N66267 at Boise ID later in the 1950s with spraybars under the wings and air tanker number D18 on the rudder.
Photo: Dick Philips Collection





N66267 at Pima Air and Space Museum, Tucson August 1989 with Roberts Aircraft name etched into the fuselage skin.
The B-18 has since been restored to military standard and is displayed indoors.                Photo by Geoff Goodall




Douglas A-20G Havoc N67921 with underwing spraybars at Morristown NJ while mosquito spraying. Photo by Robert O'Dell


Rogers Air Service, Chester California
Experimented in 1958 with one North American SNJ-4 Texan modified to a single seater with a retardant tank. The company operated it over two summer fire seasons before selling the Texan to P&B Aviation at Red Bluff CA.


SNJ-4 Texan
N9589C
Bu09836
1958-1960
8
sold .60 to P&B Aviation, Red Bluff CA as tanker #8


Rogue Flying Service, Medford Oregon
Rogue Flying Service inc, Medford Municiple Airport, Medford OR
Aerial agriculture company which was named for the river which flows through Medford, rather than its business style.  Commenced fire bombing operations around 1960 under chief pilot H.E. "Danny" Connor.
During 1963 the company's fire bombing and agricultural operations were taken over by Aero Ag Inc on the same airport.
Danny Connor left to fly tankers with Hemet Valley Flying Service and was later killed in the crash of their C119 N13742 tanker #88 on 8 July 1981.

Agricultural aircraft: Boeing Stearmans N5158N, N1055N, both sold to Aero Ag in 1963
Other aircraft:  Cessna 172 N8319X, Cessna 175 N7940T


Lockheed PV-2
N7459C
Bu37230
by1961-4.63
F30
Registered 1961 to H.E.Connor, tfd .62 to Rogue Flying Service
sold 1.4.63 to Aero Ag Inc, Medford OR
Boeing B-17G/
PB-1W
N5233V
Bu77231
1.62-4.63
F71
Purchased 3.1.62 ex Aero Union Corp, still in US Navy marks
civil conversion as fire tanker completed at Medford 7.62
sold 1.4.63 to Aero Ag Inc, Medford OR





US Navy surplus Boeing PB-1W as tanker #F71 at Medford OR in September 1962.         Photo by W.T.Larkins



Rosenbalm Aviation, Medford Oregon
Rosenbalm Aviation Inc, PO Box 1524, Medford OR
During 1961 spraying and tanker business Medford Air Service was reformed
by its President William E. Rosenbalm as Rosenbalm Aviation Inc.
The new company concentrated on heavy aircraft fire bombing and forestry support work and expanded to become a major USFS contractor, building up a significant maintenance organisation at Medford Airport.
In 1969 the US Forest Service contracted Rosenbalm Aviation to rebuild a Lockheed SP-2E Neptune as a fire attack tanker and N126Z was delivered to Medford. On completion of the work, flight trials were carried out by Rosenbalm before the Neptune was returned to the USFS for evaluation. Rosenbalm then carried out tanker modifications on three ex Royal Canadian Air Force P-2H Neptunes 1971-72 for Canadian operator The Flying Fireman Ltd.

In the early 1970s Rosenbalm standardised its tanker fleet with ex-airline Douglas DC-6s, the first few of which were tanked in the company workshops at Medford.  Wanting work outside fire season for his DC-6s, Bill Rosenbalm established an air freight division and FAA issued Rosenbalm Aviation with a Commercial Operator Certificate on 24 November 1971. The air freight "side-line" rapidly grew, Curtiss C-46s were purchased to supplement the DC-6s, and a separate freight base opened at Detroit-Willow Run.
During 1975 Rosenbalm Aviation ceased its air tanker operations in favour of the air freight side of the business. The tanker DC-6s were sold to Sis-Q Flying Service at nearby Santa Rosa CA and the freighter DC-6s continued until replaced by a fleet of ex-airline Douglas DC-8s which had cargo doors installed at Medford.

DC-6B freighters: N6586C, N90782, N515EA, N90782
VC-118As: N96039, N96040
Kaman HH-43 Husky: N2846J, N2847J, N2848J, N2849J, N2850J, N2852J, N2853J, N2854J. N2855J, N2956J
All purchased ex military disposals c1964 and all sold in 1970 to Command Helicopters, Medford Oregon.

Beech C18S
N6414C
41-1144
3.61-12.61

purchased 3.3.61 ex Ralph Rensink, Lewiston ID: ag mods
sold 6.12.61 to Clayton Curtiss
Beech C18S
N6419C
43-35583
10.62-4.64

registered 19.10.62 to Rosenbalm Aviation: ag mods
crashed 29.4.64 Beaufort SC while dropping dry chemicals
Lockheed PV-2
N83L
Bu37535
1961-4.65
29
tfd from Medford Air Service as tanker #29
sold 8.4.65 to Dothan Aviation AL
Lockheed PV-2
N6857C
Bu37250
4.65-1.66

purchased 23.4.65 ex Riverside Aircraft Co CA
modified 9.65 for spreading dry pest bait
sold 1.66 to Dothan Aviation AL
Douglas A-26
N3428G
44-35523
c1961-1974
F29
purchased ex Aero Atlas Inc, Red Bluff CA, stored USAF markings
sold 1974 to Bill Dempsay/Central Air Service as tanker #108
Douglas A-26
N5544V
44-35552
c1961-c1973
F11
12
registered to Rosenbalm by 1963
sold c1973 to Bill Dempsay/Central Air Service as tanker #104
Douglas A-26
N7954C
44-35724
c1961-c1965
F83
purchased ex J.E.Gardner
sold c1965 to Flick Aviation,La Grande OR as tanker #F83
Douglas A-26
N4819E
44-34609
1963-1969
F57
leased ex John Hamacher, San Francisco CA
1200 gallon retardant tank installed at Medford
sold c1969 to Donair, Phoenix AZ as tanker #C36
Douglas A-26
N7719C
43-22392
c1965-8.66
F26
purchased c1965 ex Aero Atlas Inc, Red Bluff CA as tanker #F26
ran off runway landing, wrecked, La Grande OR 18.8.66
Douglas A-26
N74874
44-34508
c1966-1974
F74
purchased c1966 ex Kreitzberg Avtn, Salem OR as tanker #F74
sold 1974 to Bill Dempsay/Central Air Service as tanker #107
Douglas A-26
N7954C
44-35724
c1971-c1973
F83
repurchased c1971 ex Flick Aviation,La Grande OR as tanker #F83
sold c1973 to Bill Dempsay/Central Air Service as tanker #106
Consolidated PB4Y-2
N3191G
Bu59754
1962-c1965
F85
registered to Rosenbalm Aviation by 1962
sold c1965 to Flick Aviation,La Grande OR as tanker #F85
Consolidated PB4Y-2 N6884C
Bu59701
10.65-8.70
F84
reengined with R-1830s inner, R-2600s outers
sold 8.70 to Hawkins & Powers Aviation WY as tanker #B27
Consolidated PB4Y-2
N3191G
Bu59754
3.68-7.70
F85 repurchased 4.3.68 ex Flick Aviation,La Grande OR as tanker #F85
ditched and sank 27.7.70 Diamond Lake, Oregon
Consolidated PBY-6A
N6453C
Bu64041
1961-1962

purchased ex Ace Demers, Salem OR
sold c62 to Sonora Flying Service, Columbia CA
Douglas DC-6
N37515
c/n 43004
2.72-1.74
82
purchased 2.72 ex Florida Aircraft Leasing (ex United Airlines)
converted to Rosenbalm's first DC-6 tanker at Medford .72,
sold 28.1.74 to Sis-Q Flying Service, Santa Rosa CA, to tanker #47
Douglas DC-6B
N37565
c/n 43562
5.72-1.74
84
purchased 5.72 ex Frank Amaral (ex United Airlines)
sold 3.75 to Sis-Q Flying Service, Santa Rosa CA, to tanker #48
Douglas DC-6B
N37585
c/n 45137
5.72-3.75

purchased 5.72 ex Frank Amaral (ex United Airlines)
noted at Medford 6.72 as a tanker
sold 3.75 to Sis-Q Flying Service, Santa Rosa CA, to tanker #45
Douglas DC-6B
N515TP
c/n 45320
c1973-3.75

purchased c73 ex Concare Aircraft Leasing
sold 3.75 to Sis-Q Flying Service, Santa Rosa CA, to tanker #44
Douglas DC-6B
N515TY
c/n 44175
11.73-3.78

purchased 11.73 ex Bellomy Lawson Aviation, Miami FL
sold 3.78 to Trans Continental Airlines, Detroit as a freighter
Douglas DC-6B N111AN
c/n 44087
6.73-3.75
46
purchased 6.73 ex Concare Aircraft Leasing
leased .73 to Conair, Canada for 1973 forest spraying season
sold 3.75 to Sis-Q Flying Service, Santa Rosa CA, to tanker #46
Douglas DC-6B
N111AQ
c/n 44871
1973-7.78

leased c73 ex Concare Aircraft Leasing
leased .73 to Conair, Canada for 1973 forest spraying season
purchased 4.75, used as freighter, broken-up Willow Run 7.78





Rosenbalm Aviation's Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon N83L.                                               Photo by Milo Peltzer




Douglas A-26 N7954C tanker #83 at Rosenbalm's home base Medford OR in July 1962.            Photo by Ron Olsen




A-26 N3428G at Medford July 1972 in Rosenbalm's later standardised red and white paint cheme.   Photo by Ron Olsen
 



Rosenbalm A-26 N5544V tops up at the Troutdale Oregon tanker base in March 1973.             Photo by Ron Olsen




N74874 tanker #74 heads a line of Rosenbalm Douglas A-26s at Medford in November 1973.      Photo by Ron Olsen




PB4Y-2 Privateer N6884C at Medford in November 1970.                                    Photo by Ron Olsen




PB4Y-2 Privateer N3191G at Medford December 1968 in the new paint scheme.            Photo by Ron Olsen




A magazine picture of Rosenbalm's DC-6 N37565 tanker #84 in action.




US Forest Service prototype Neptune tanker N126Z at Medford August 1971 on completion of its tanker conversion
by Rosenbalm Aviation, parked on the retardant-stained ramp.                              Photo by Ron Olsen




Lee Roser, Phoenix Arizona
Lee K. Roser, Phoenix AZ: on 1963 USFS fire tanker contractor list.



B-25J Mitchell
N3337G
44-86891
12.59-2.65
C37
Puchased 12.59 ex Max Biegert, Phoenix AZ
1170 gallon retardant tank installed 6.60
sold 2.65 to Aero Industries,Addison TX



Jim Routh/ Routh Aircraft Inc, Long Beach California
James N. Routh, 3314 Ladoga Terrace, Long Beach CA  (1962)
James N. Routh, 2850 E Wardlow Road, Long Beach CA  (1966)
James N. Routh, 1701 S 6th Avenue, Tucson AZ (1966-1969)
Jim Routh was a pioneer heavy air tanker operator from the mid 1950s.
During August 1957 a Jim Routh PBY-6A Catalina was used in USFS fire bombing tests at Orange County Airport, Santa Ana California.
Some Routh aircraft were registered under the name Multiple Management Corp, Long Beach CA.
The 1963 USFS tanker contracts list: Routh Aircraft Grumman TBMs deployed at Paso Robles CA, Ramona CA, Long Beach CA and Winslow AZ.




OA-10A Catalina
N1942M
44-33972
by1954-1955

purchased by 1954 ex Aero Corp, Atlanta GA
sold .55 to Queen Charlotte Airways Canada as CF-IIW
PBY-6A Catalina
N6986C
Bu64045
1957-6.61
C9
purchased .57 ex Mexican Navy
crashed 25.6.61 after takeoff while fire fighting, Winslow AZ
PBY-6A Catalina
N9546C
Bu46649
7.57-9.58

registered 5.7.57 to James N.Routhex US NAvy disposals
probably the Routh PBY which crashed during fire attack on 8.9.58 near San Louis Obispo CA due wing structural failure
registration cancelled 6.65
PBY-5A Catalina N68746
Bu48296
c1957-5.66

sold 5.66 to Austin Airways Canada as CF-AAD, passenger seating
PBY-6A Catalina N7082C
Bu64097
1.59-4.64
E94
purchased 1.59
sold 4.64 to Protection Civile, France as F-ZBAW fire tanker
PBY-6A Catalina N2887D
Bu2887D
7.63-c1966
E93
purchased 2.7.63 ex B.B.Burson CA as tanker #E93
fate unknown, registration cancelled 4.71
Boeing B-17G
N3678G
44-8990
11.60-10.62
C15
purchased 7.11.60 ex Aero Enterprises Inc, Elkhart IN
tanker completed 5.62, two 1,000 gallon tanks, aircraft erroneously painted as "N3578G";
destroyed 11.10.62 during fire attack near Fallon NV
Grumman TBM
N7161C
Bu86064
by1963-c1964
C97
E97
sold c1964 to Hemet Valley Flying Service CA as tanker #E97
Grumman TBM N9679C
Bu69293
by1963-7.64
C96
E96
sold 29.7.64 to Hemet Valley Flying Service CA as tanker #E96
Grumman TBM N9860C
Bu86118
by1963-7.64
E95
sold 29.7.64 to Hemet Valley Flying Service CA as tanker #E95







Boeing B-17G N3678G, erroneously painted as N3578G, on station at Winslow AZ July 1960.       Photo by Ted Miley






Routh Aircraft Grumman TBM N9679C at Paso Robles CA in August 1964.              Photo by William T. Larkins



Robert P. Schlaefli/ SLAFO Inc, Port Orchard Washington
Robert P. Schlaefli t/a Flying Super Catalina, later SLAFCO Inc.
Bob Schlaefli
was a widely-known Catalina air tanker pilot and operator. His PO Box addresses in the US Civil Aircraft Register included Port Orchard WA, Fairbanks AK, Moses Lake WA, Ephrata WA. Schaefli held USFS air tanker contracts under his own name and SLAFO Inc.
His first tanker was a B-25 Mitchell, one of a number contracted by the State of Alaska for forestry fire and river seeding operations in 1960s after the USFS dropped the type because of wing structural failures during retardant drops. 
Bob Schlaefli flew his Catalina N9505C for the 1979 Speilberg movie "Always" standing in for actor John Goodman, including the memorable opening scene. Schlaefli continued flying fire attack aged into his 70s and SLAFCO ceased operations following the 1993 season.

A two-day closing down clearance auction for SLAFCO inc and associated company Aires Aire Ltd was held 18-19 October 2002 at Ephrata WA and Moses Lake Airport WA: the inventory included three complete Catalinas and the B-23, plus wrecks of Catalina and B-25s and a massive holding of spare engines, parts and maintenance equipment. During the auction Bob Schlaefli was so angered by the low prices being accepted that he interrupted the auction and attempted to negate some sales. He died on 24 February 2003 aged 80.





TB-25N Mitchell
N3476G
44-28932
9.65-1980
6
purchased 9.65 ex Red Dodge Anchorage as tanker #6
retired, parked at Fairbanks by 1976-1980,
restoration as a warbird completed 4.85 at Kissimmee FL for Collings Foundation
UC-67 Dragon
N800N
39-27
c1974-10.81

purchased ex University of Chicago
not used: left retired parked 1969-82 at St Louis-Lambert Field MO
sold 10.81 to Florida Aircraft Leasing
UC-67 Dragon
N777LW
39-63
c1972-10.02

purchased ex Bruce McCreary Co, Grass Valley CA
used as crew transport, original six seat executive cabin,
retired, parked Moses Lake WA 1999-2002,
sold at auction 10.02 to Carmacks Commercial Corp, Anchorage AK
PBY-5A Catalina
(Super Cat)
N9505C
Bu34027
1970-10.02
53
purchased ex Intercapital Inc, Las Vegas NV
modified to
Steward-Davis Super Cat, Wright R-2600s
retired, parked Moses Lake WA 1999-2002,
sold at auction 10.02 to Comanche Air Inc, Winthrop WA as warbird

PBY-5A Catalina
(Super Cat)
N31235
Bu48426
c1971-10.02
80
98
purchased ex Alaska Airlines: Steward-Davis Super Cat
sold at auction 10.02 to Carmacks Commercial Corp, Anchorage AK
PBY-6A Catalina
(Super Cat)
N9825Z
Bu64017
c1973-2.00
158
purchased ex Florida Forestry Board
modified to Steward-Davis Super Cat fitted with PBY-5 tail unit,
retired, parked with faded paintwork Moses Lake WA 1990-2000,
sold 22.2.00 to Frederick C. Peterson, Olympia WA as a warbird
PBY-6A Catalina
(Super Cat)
N2886D
Bu64034
c1975-7.85
49
purchased ex Sis-Q Flying Service as S-D Super Cat tanker #E49
-emergency water landing Sproat Lake BC 13.8.79 due engine fire which was extinguished by fire bombing helicopter
crashed 29.7.85 during lake water pickup Northport WA, sank
salvaged, wreck included in closing down auction 10.02
PBY-5A Catalina
(Super Cat)
N2763A
Bu21232
7.82-10.02
-
purchased 7.82 ex Gerald Todd, Santa Cruz CA as S-D Super Cat
parked Moses Lake WA 1982-2002, not tanked
sold at auction 10.02 to PBY Memorial Inc, Seattle WA
OA-10A Catalina
C-GFFC
44-33972
1991-10.02
-
purchased .91 ex Awood Air Ltd, Sidney BC as tanker #776
parked Moses Lake WA 1991-2002,
sold at auction 10.02 to Buffalo Airways, Hay River Canada







Bob Schaefli's B-25 N3476G tanker 6 retired at Fairbanks Alaska in September 1979.
The vintage fire wagon
nose art had been applied by the previous operator Red Dodge.  Photo by Geoff Goodall






SLAFCO Super Catalina N9505C tanker #53 in June 1979.                                   Geoff Goodall collection






Catalina C-GFFC at Moses Lake WA in October 1991, with previous Canadian tanker #776.   Photo by Geoff Goodall






Catalina N9825Z in storage at Moses Lake WA October 1991 with weather- faded paintwork.  Photo by Geoff Goodall






Bob Schaefli's Douglas B-23 Dragon N777LW at Moses Lake WA October 1991Photo by Geoff Goodall





SV Flying Service, Etna California, later Montague California
Scotts Valley Flying Service Inc, Etna CA, later Montague CA
SV Flying Service Inc, PO Box 281 Montague CA
Aerial agricultural business established by Robert "Bud" Davis at Etna in Scotts Valley, Siskiyou County, CaliforniaBegan fire tanker operations in 1959 with a Beech AT-11 Kansan N79Q purchased already tanked by a previous operator. However its small capacity 400 gallon tank proved unsatisfactory and two Grumman F7F Tigercats were acquired in a deal with George Kreitzberg. The F7Fs had their underwing spray tanks removed and were fitted with 800 gallon belly retardant tanks. SV Flying Service moved its base to Montague CA where the two Tigercats were based.
During 1963, Bud Davis reorganised as a tanker only business renamed Sis-Q Flying Service, Montague CA.





Beech AT-11
N79Q
43-10435
7.59-c1962
E25
E33

purchased 24.7.59 ex Aero Atlas, Red Bluff CA as tanker #E25
fate unknown, probably an accident
(last annual inspection report submitted to FAA 5.61)

Grumman F7F
N7195C
Bu80532
7.60-1963
E32
purchased 2.7.60 ex Kreitzberg Aviation, Salem OR as a sprayer
800 gallon belly tank system installed 5.60
tfd .63 to Sis Q Flying Service Inc, Montague CA
Grumman F7F
N6177C
Bu80397
1960-1963
E31
purchased 1960 ex Kreitzberg Aviation, Salem OR
tfd .63 to Sis Q Flying Service Inc, Montague CA







SV Flying Service Beech AT-11 N79Q tanker #33 at Montague CA circa 1961.
Photo by Cathey Allen via Dan Dineen collection, via aerialvisuals.ca






Seeley Flying Service, Newcastle Wyoming
Thomas A. Seeley trading as Seeley Flying Service, PO Box 246 Newcastle WY (1963-66)
Seeley Flying Service, Casper Air Terminal, Casper WY (1969)
General aviation and aerial agricultural business which operated 3 Grumman TBM fire tankers.
Other aircraft: Lockheed 12A N17373 & N17379,
Cessna 206 N3804U
Agricultural: PA-18 Super Cub N5040Y, PA-25 Pawnee N77602,





Grumman TBM
N7027C
Bu53915
by1963-1.64

purchased ex Chris D. Stoltzfus & Associates PA as sprayer
sold 24.1.64 to Air Tankers Inc, Newcastle WY
Grumman TBM N10361
Bu53768
c1965-c1969
B18
purchased ex US Forestry Service as a tanker, stored 58-64,
sold c69 to Air Tankers Inc, Newcastle WY as tanker #B18
Grumman TBM N17930
Bu69531
c1964-c1969
B19
purchased ex US Forestry Service as a tanker
sold c69 to Air Tankers Inc, Newcastle WY as tanker #B19




Lee Sherwood, Willows California
Legrande C. Sherwood, 547 S.Plumas Street, Willows CA
Lee Sherwood was a 1940s agricultural operator who became involved in fire bombing during the 1956 Willows Air Attack Squadron trials.
He was still being contracted by the USFS as late as 1963 with two Navy N3Ns biplane tankers based at Gravelly Valley, California.
Only two of his tankers have been identified.
Agricultural aircraft: Navy N3N N45014, N45015, N45304;  Boeing Stearman N57044; Vultee BT-13 N62791





Navy N3N
N45163
2885
c1955-1972
E4
based 1963 at USFS airfield Gravelly Valley CA
Navy N3N
N45089

c1955-4.64
E15
crashed 20.4.64 Willows CA





Sierra Aviation, Porterville California


An early 1960s Grumman TBM Avenger tanker business which operated in association with WEN Inc, Porterville CA





Grumman TBM
N7226C
Bu85938
c1960-10.63
E44
leased from WEN Inc. Sold by WEN 10.63 as tanker
Grumman TBM
N6823C
Bu85636
c1960-1963
E45
sold .63 to WEN Inc
Grumman TBM
N9711Z
RCN 53697
1962-1963
E46
purchased .62 ex Royal Canadian Navy. Sold .63 to WEN Inc





Sis-Q Flying Service, Montague, later Santa Rosa Califonia
Sis-Q Flying Service Inc was founded at Siskiyou County Airport, Montague CA in 1963 by Robert A. "Bud" Davis, who remained company President for the next 23 years during which Sis-Q was a key tanker operator for the US Forest Service. He moved the company base to Santa Rosa during 1966 and introduced heavy tankers with a fleet of Douglas DC-6s. In 1985 Bud Davis sold the business with all its assets to new-start Macavia International.



Bud Davis grew up on a ranch in northern California but after his return from WW2 military flying, became frustrated by ranch life. He established an aerial agricultural business Scotts Valley Flying Service/ SV Flying Service at nearby Etna in Scotts Valley, Siskiyou County, California: see SV Flying Service
During 1961 SV Flying Service moved its base to Siskiyou County Airport, Montague CA. It appears to have been asociated with an early biplane fire bombing business Siskiyou Airways,
Siskiyou County Airport, Montague which operated Navy N3N tankers: SV Flying Service may have taken over that company's fire bombing infrastructure and assets at Montague.
During 1963 Bud Davis with partner Fred Arnberg reorganised under a new name Sis-Q Flying Service Inc, Siskiyou County Airport, Montague CA. The initial Grumman F7F fleet grew as additional examples were acquired and tanked. During 1967 Sis-Q moved base from Montague to Santa Rosa CA and Grumman TBMs and a Catalina were introduced before standardising on Douglas DC-6 tankers.

In 1974 Sis-Q was one of the established Californian tanker contractors selected by the California Department of Forestry to carry out tanker conversions  on ex US Navy Grumman TS-2A trackers to be supplied by CDF. Several additional TS-2As were supplied as a parts source. On completion of the conversions, Sis-Q were contracted to operate the first generation of Tracker tankers nicknamed "Yellow Peril" because of their standard CDF yellow paint scheme. The Trackers remained owned by CDF.

During the 1980s Bud Davis held ongoing negotiations to sell Sis-Q Flying Service as an operational business. Finally is 1985 it was announced that the company and all its assets had been sold to Macavia International Corp,Central Point Oregon, a newcomer to the air tanker business. Macavia took over the existing tanker contracts and kept the DC-6s operation at the Santa Rosa Airport base. See Macavia International


Other aircraft:
Agricultural: Boeing Stearman N4825V
Cessna singles: 150 N3213J, N8034S; 182 N3269U, N91614, N5593R; 206 N9319R, N56HT
Cessna twins:    310A N4897B, 337 N2138X
Piper PA22 TriPacer N3719Z
Fairchild F-27F N768RL operated by 1979-1980 on a Government contract





Grumman F7F-3 Tigercat
N6177C
Bu80397
1963-8.74
E31
transferred .63 ex SV Flying Service, Montague CA tanker E31
crashed 31.8.74 Ukiah CA during fire attack
Grumman F7F-3 N7195C
Bu80532
1963-8.79
E32
E40
transferred .63 ex SV Flying Service, Montague CA tanker E32
sold 8.79 to Gary Flanders, Oakland CA for rest. as warbird
Grumman F7F-3 N6179C
Bu80494
1963-9.74
E23
transferred ex Fred J. Arnberg, Yreka CA as tanker #E23
crashed 26.9.74 after takeoff Rohnerville CA, pilot Richard Miller k
Grumman F7F-3 N6178C
Bu80483
1968-6.85
E43
purchased .68 ex Cal-Nat Airways as tanker #E43
landing accident 21.5.75 Santa Rosa CA, repaired
tfd 6.85 to Macavia International Corp, stored for sale as warbird
Grumman F7F-3 N7626C
Bu80404
1969-6.85
E42
purchased .69 ex Cal-Nat Airways as tanker #E42
tfd 6.85 to Macavia International Corp, stored for sale as warbird
Grumman F7F-3 N7627C
Bu80410
1969-6.85
-
purchased .69 ex Cal-Nat Airways as wreck for parts
tfd 6.85 to Macavia International Corp as stored wreck
Grumman F7F-3 N7628C
Bu80412
1969-6.85
-
purchased .69 ex Cal-Nat Airways as wreck for parts
tfd 6.85 to Macavia International Corp as stored wreck
Grumman F7F-3 N7629C
Bu80374
1968-10.81
E41

purchased .68 ex Cal-Nat Airways as tanker #E41
retardant tank and systems removed at Santa Rosa 10.81
sold 10.81 to US Marines Corps Museum, MCAS Quantico VA
Grumman TBM-3S
N68663
RCN 53334
9.66-12.74
E28
E25
purchased 9.66 ex Klamath Aircraft, Oregon: del. to Montague 9.66
sold 9.12.74 to Forest Protection Ltd, Canada as a tanker C-GLEG
Grumman TBM-3S
N9711Z
RCN 53697
8.67-12.74
E33
purchased 9.8.67 ex P&B Aviation, Red Bluff CA as tanker #E46
sold 12.74 to Evergreen Air Service, Canada as a tanker C-GLEH
Grumman TBM-3 N9318Z
Bu91113
8.67-9.67
E29
purchased 9.8.67 ex P&B Aviation, Red Bluff CA as tanker #E29
crashed 13.9.67 near Hollister CA during fire attack
Grumman TBM-3 N1369N
Bu85715
1970-12.74
E36
E27
purchased .70 ex TBM Inc, Tulare CA as tanker #E35
sold 12.74 to Evergreen Air Service, Canada as a tanker C-GLEF
Grumman TBM-3 N7961C
Bu69323
1970-12.74
E92
E24
purchased .70 ex Daro Inc as tanker #E92
sold 12.74 to Evergreen Air Service, Canada as a tanker C-GLEJ
Grumman TBM-3 N9078Z
Bu53307
4.71-12.74
E26
purchased 1.4.71 ex Daro Inc as tanker #E98
sold 9.12.74 to Forest Protection Ltd, Canada as a tanker C-GLEI
Grumman TBM-3E
N6825C
Bu85883
1970 only
E37
leased for 1970 season from Hemet Valley Flying Service #E37
PBY-6A
Super Cat

N2886D
Bu64034
1968-c1975
E49
purchased c68 ex B.B.Burson, Columbia CA as tanker #E49
flew to Chile .70 for a fire bombing season
nose gear collapsed on takeoff Santa Rosa 25.6.71
struck trees during fire attack, landed safely Chester CA 27.8.71
sold c75 to SLAFCO, Port Orchard WA as tanker #E49
Douglas DC-6B
N111AN
c/n 44087
3.75-6.85
46
purchased 3.75 ex Rosenbalm Aviation, Medford OR
tfd 6.85 to Macavia International Corp as tanker #46
Douglas DC-6B N333SQ
c/n 44898
4.76-5.80
54
purchased 4/76 ex Aero  Union Corp CA as N37574 tanker #16
sold 5.80 to Securite Civile, France as tanker F-WXOH, F-ZBAC
Douglas DC-6B N444SQ
c/n 45320
3.75-6.85
44
purchased 3.75 ex Rosenbalm Aviation, Medford OR as N515TP
tfd 6.85 to Macavia International Corp as tanker #44
Douglas DC-6B N555SQ
c/n 45137
3.75-6.85
45
purchased 3.75 ex Rosenbalm Aviation, Medford OR as N37585
tfd 6.85 to Macavia International Corp as tanker #45
Douglas DC-6 N666SQ
c/n 43004
1.74-6.85
47
purchased 3.75 ex Rosenbalm Aviation, Medford OR as N37515
tfd 6.85 to Macavia International Corp as tanker #47
Douglas DC-6A N777SQ (1
c/n 44071
8.75-11.79
50
purchased 1.8.75 ex dealer Onyx Aviation as N48286
N777SQ leased 12.77 to PJ & CB Inc, Miami, returned 4.78;
sold 8.11.79 to Flying Fireman/Misty Air as N12347

Douglas DC-6B N888SQ
c/n 43562
3.75-6.85
48
purchased 3.75 ex Rosenbalm Aviation as N37565 tanker #84
tfd 6.85 to Macavia International Corp as tanker #44
Douglas DC-6B N999SQ
c/n 43274
1.76-6.85
51
purchased 1.76 ex dealer Seminole Aviation as N515AE
tfd 6.85 to Macavia International Corp as tanker #51
Douglas DC-6 N80MA
c/n 43127
5.81-6.85
20
purchased 13.5.81 ex Aerial Applicators, SLC as tanker #20
tfd 6.85 to Macavia International Corp as tanker #20
Douglas DC-6 N90MA
c/n 43128
5.81-6.85
21
purchased 13.5.81 ex Aerial Applicators, SLC as tanker #21
tfd 6.85 to Macavia International Corp as tanker #21
Douglas C-118B
N777SQ (2
c/n 43697
1.82-6.85
-
purchased 1.82 ex TBM Inc, Tulare CA as N1383X
ferried to Santa Rosa, rereg N777SQ 9.82, stored US Navy mkgs;
tfd 6.85 to Macavia International Corp as complete aircraft stored
Douglas DC-6B N843TA
c/n 45514
1982-c1984
(40)
purchased c82 ex dealer Atlas Aircraft Corp
on 1983 USFS lists as tanker #40 in reserve
believed not tanked, resold to another dealer by 85
Douglas DC-6B N862TA
c/n 44057
1982-c1984 (41)
purchased c82 ex dealer Atlas Aircraft Corp
on 1983 USFS lists as tanker #41 in reserve
believed not tanked, resold to another dealer by 85
Douglas DC-6B N6583C
c/n 45219
2.82-4.82
-
purchased 2.82 ex Aero Union, Chico CA
sold 4.82 Securite Civile, France as tanker F-ZBBU
Douglas DC-6B
N62129
c/n 44696
11.75-7.77
-
purchased .75 ex Filipinas Orient, retired at Manila for five years
departed Manila 12.11.75 on ferry to USA
severe corrosion found in airframe,
Registration cancelled 13.7.77
ferried to Litchfield AZ, broken up for parts, fuselage there 9.79
Douglas DC-6
N54CA
c/n 44428
1979-80
-
purchased 1979 ex Bird Air, retired at Singapore-Seletar five years,
planned ferry to USA for parts, but aircraft condition too poor,
stripped for parts and broken up for scrap at Seletar 1980 
Douglas C-54
N67034
43-17252
1984-1985
150
Leased 1984-85 ex Central Air Services








Sis-Q Flying Service Grumman F7F Tigercat N6177C tanker E31 at Montague CA September 1968Photo by Ron Olsen






Grumman F7F N7629C tanker #E41 at Willows CA September 1968.  Photo by Ron Olsen






F7F N6178C tanker #E43 stripped for overhaul at Santa Rosa CA in July 1974 with a F7F fuselage in the background.
Photo by Dave Welch







Sis-Q Grumman TBM-3 N7961C having its retardant tank filled at Ukiah CA in August 1966.     Photo by Steve Kraus






Former Royal Canadian Navy Avenger AS.3 N66863 at Hollister CA September 1970 in Sis-Q's new standard TBM
scheme
of bare metal fuselage, red cowling, white tailplane and red lettering.                Photo by Gordon Reid






TBM N7961C with changed tanker #E24 at home base Santa Rosa CA in September 1970.    Photo by Gordon Reid






Sis-Q Flying Service Grumman TBM N9711Z tanker #E33.                     Photo by William T. Larkins






Sis-Q PBY-6A Catalina N2886D tanker E49 arrives at Santa Rosa CA August 1975.         Photo by Paul Veenboer






One of the first Grumman S-2A Trackers operated by Sis-Q on contract to the Californian Dept of Forestry was N453DF.
The Trackers allocated to Sis-Q were painted lime green. Photographed at Ukiah CA in August 1975.






Sis-Q Tracker N447DF #93 at the Hollister CA attack base in September 1977.                Photo by Geoff Goodall






N444DF #79 at Sis-Q's home base Santa Rosa in September 1981.                          Photo by Geoff Goodall






Sis-Q "spares ship" Tracker N410DF at Santa Rosa September 1981, showing its US Navy identity TS-2A 136640.
Photo by Geoff Goodall






Sis-Q Douglas DC-6B N111AN tanker #46 at Medford Oregon in September 1975.          Photo by Paul Veenboer






Sis-Q DC-6 N37515 tanker #47 at the Pendleton Oregon attack base in September 1975.    Photo by Paul Veenboer






Sis-Q Douglas DC-6A N777SQ at the Porterville CA air attack base September 1977.           Photo by Geoff Goodall






DC-6B N111AN on duty at the Klamath Falls, Oregon air attack base in September 1981.   Photo by Geoff Goodall






DC-6B N444SQ at Sis-Q home base Santa Rosa CA in September 1981.                       Photo by Geoff Goodall





Skyways Inc, Cody Wyoming


Skyways Inc, PO Box 587, Cody WY
Agricultural operator with at least one agricultural Beech 18, operated a PV-2 Harpoon on fire bombing work in the early 1960s





Lockheed PV-2
N6634D
Bu37523
c1962-1965

purchased ex dealer Trade-Ayer Inc, Linden NJ
sold c65 to Dothan Aviation, Dothan AL as a sprayer
Beech C18S
N8055H
44-47121
by1963-








Sonora Aviation, Tucson Arizona, later Carson City Nevada
Sonora Flying Service, Columbia CA, later  Carson City NV
Sonora Aviation Inc, 6518 E Cooper Street, Tucson AZ  (1966)
Sonora Aviation Inc, 2600 Airport Road, Carson City NV (1966-69)
Sonora Flying Service Inc, Columbia CA       (1959-1970)
Sonora Flying Service Inc, Silver City NM     (1961-1963)
Sonora Flying Service Inc, Carson City NV   (1966-1970)
These two air tanker companies with similar names appear to have merged operations and moved to Carson City NV during the mid 1960s.
Sonora Flying Service Inc was formed at Columbia CA circa 1958 by
Mel Coeur.
1963 USFS tanker contractor lists shows Sonora Aviation: Grumman TBMs N6447C (#C47), N6894C (#C55) and N9433Z (#C56) assigned to Alamogordo NM and Silver City NM.



Sonora Aviation other aircraft: Mooney M20s N2673W, N3478X; PA-23 Aztec 250 N6055Y



            Owner as shown on US Civil Aircraft Register: SFS = Sonora Flying Service, SA = Sonoroa Aviation


Grumman FM-2 Wildcat N29B
SFS Bu74763 4.59-c61

purchased 14.4.59 by Mel Coeur trading as Sonora Flying Service
as a sprayer with large tanks under the wings;
fate unknown, last FAA annual inspection report 10.60

Beech AT-11
N57197 SFS 42-37227 by1963-c65
sold c65 to Carl Lutt, San Francisco CA
TB-25N Mitchell N9115Z
SFS 44-29366 1.60-10.64
48
purchased .59 ex USAF disposals, Davis Monthan AFB
registered 4.1.60 Sonora FS, 1000 gallon tank installed 5.60
sold 10.64 to Sam Rawland, Missouri
TB-25K Mitchell
N9623C
SFS
44-30692
.61-9.65
C..
purchased .61 ex Maricopa Dust & Spray
1,280 gallon retardant tank installed 5.61, sold 9.65 to dealer,
to trade school Mexico City as instructional airframe
PBY-6A Catalina
N6453C
SFS Bu64041 1961-62
E54
purchased ex Ace Demers as a sprayer
sold .62 to B.B.Burson Associates, Columbia CA as tanker #E54
PBY-6A Catalina
N6454C
SFS Bu64106 by1963-65

purchased ex Ace Demers as a sprayer
sold c65 to William Deangelis, Las Vegas NV
PBY-6A Catalina
N6456C
SFS Bu63996 by1962-67
E38
purchased ex Ace Demers as a sprayer
sold c67 to Jack Urich, Long Beach CA
PBY-6A Catalina
N6457C
SFS Bu64071 by1962-63
E9
purchased ex Ace Demers as a sprayer
sold .63 to Calypso Air Charters, Miami FL
Grumman TBM-3E
N7226C
SFS Bu85938 5.58-60
E61
purchased 5.58 Mel Couer trading as Sonora FS ex Selk Co CA
400 gallon retardant tank installed
sold .60 to Wen Inc, Portervilel CA as tanker #E44
Grumman TBM-3E
N9433Z
SFS
Bu91586 1958-c70
C56
transferred c64 to Sonora Aviation, Carson City NV as #C56
damaged landing gear-up Carson City NV 27.5.67
sold c1970 to Capitol Aire, Carson City as tanker #47
Grumman TBM-3E
N6821C
SFS c/n 6342 1.61-62

registered 4.1.61 Sonora FS, Columbia CA
fate unknown, probably the Sonora FS TBM which crashed 3.9.61 when struck a ridge during fire attack near Forbestown CA
registration cancelled 4.4.62
Grumman TBM-3
N9428Z
SFS Bu86026 by1961-6.61

crashed 16.6.61 Greenwood NM during fire attack
Grumman TBM-3U
N3968A SFS Bu53692 .62-10.63
C46
purchased .62 ex Cochise County Airport AZ as tanker #C46
sold 3.10.63 to John P. Lippett, Salmon ID as tanker #C46
Grumman TBM-3E
N6826C SFS Bu86244 .62-1963
C53
purchased .62 ex Cochise County Airport AZ as tanker #C53
sold .63 to John P. Lippett, Salmon ID as tanker #C53
Grumman TBM-3S
N6894C
SFS
RCN 53626
by1963-9.66 C55
transferred 4.5.64 to Sonora Aviation, Carson City NV as #C55
crashed 6.9.66 on takeoff Elko NV during fire attack
Grumman TBM-3
N9434Z SFS
Bu86090 .63-c65
E52
purchased ex Howard Haradon CA as tanker #E52
sold c65 to Fire Flyers Inc, Reno NV
Grumman TBM-3E
N6447C
SA
Bu53575
by1962-c70
C47
forced landing gear-up Beowawe NV 18.9.64
sold c1970 to
Capitol Aire, Carson City as tanker #47
Grumman TBM-3S
N6894C
SA RCN 53626
5.64-9.66
C55
purchased 4.5.64 ex Sonora Flying Service as tanker #C55
crashed 6.9.66 on takeoff Elko NV during fire attack
Grumman TBM-3E
N7226C
SA Bu85938
11.64-4.70
44
purchased 11.64 ex Whirly Birds Inc, Porterville CA
sold 4.70 to Capitol Aire, Carson City as tanker #44
Grumman TBM-3E
N7960C
SA Bu53209
1965-2.70
D92
purchased .65 ex Norman M. Poteet,Tucson AZ
sold 2.70 to Barry Cooper, Lake Jackson TX
Grumman TBM-3E
N9591C
SA Bu53829
1965-1970
59
purchased .65 ex Pete Fountain, Moscow ID
sold .70 to Norfolk Aerial Spraying, Canada as CF-AYG








Former Sonora Flying Service B-25 tanker N9623C at Mexico City in April 1970 as a trade school instructional airframe.
The fire tanker number "C.." can be seen on the rudder.                 Photo by Rene Biber






Sonora Aviation Grumman TBM N7226C at Carson City Nevada in September 1968.             Photo by Ron Olsen






Sonora Aviation Grumman TBMs at Carson City NV during the 1960s.                Photo by William T. Larkins






Sonora Flying Service TBM N6894C shows the long glasshouse of the Canadian Avenger AS.3M anti-submarine model.






Sonora Flying Service TBM N6826C                                                                        Photo via aerialvisuals.ca






N6447C was registered to Sonora Aviation but this picture shows her painted as Sonora Flying Service



Ken Spiva, Wildcat Airways, Stockton CA
Kenneth D. Spiva, Elk Grove CA (1963)  Stockton CA (1969-1988), Tracey CA (1974), Lovelock NV (1977), Acampo CA (1980-1985),
Tucson AZ (1981-84), Lodi CA (1982-88), Cave Junction OR (1995-2010)



Ken Spiva was an agricultural pilot who flew crop dusters and sprayers, while also crewing heavy air tankers. His maintenance qualifications brought him contract work on air tanker aircraft at Hemet Valley Flying Service's Stockton CA maintenance base, including the tanker modification of HVFS Boeing KC-97L at Stockton CA during the 1980s.
He saw an opportunity to operate his own air tankers when he successfully bid for a Grumman FM-2 Wildcat N68843 at the 1972 Red Jensen closing-down auction at Tonopah NV. He made the Wildcat airworthy, ferried it to Stockton CA where he restored it in US Navy wartime markings before trading it to to US Navy Aviation Museum in exchange for a retired Douglas C-54 stored at Davis Monthan AFB AZ. A second C-54 was purchased and both tanked by Hemet Valley Flying Service.  Operating under the business name
Wildcat Airways, Lodi CA, Spiva leased both C-54s to various tanker companies.

A 1983 USFS listing for air tanker contractors included K.Spiva, N. Sowles Road, Acampo CA (C-54s tankers #165 & #166)

Similar aircraft trades to military museums resulted in his acquiring two former US Navy Douglas C-117D transports which he civilianised for resale:
- C-117D N8502X ex USMC 39064
collected by Spiva at DMAFB 20.9.80. Civil registered 9.2.81, stored at Pima Air Museum,
sold 2.4.82 to Clyde Foreman, Rockport TX

- C-117D N8502Z ex USMC 12419 collected by Spiva at DMAFB 20.9.80. Civil registered 9.2.81, sold to undisclosed buyer, reg cancelled 12.84

During the 1970s Ken Spiva owned aerial agricultural business San Joaquin Air, 7521 Pepper Tree Drive, Stockton CA flying Cessna 188s. He sold that business in 1981 to finance his tanker work but by 1987 still maintained his agricultural pilot licence.
While based at Stockton, Spiva carried out extensive maintenance and modification of warbirds, such as P-51D Mustang N5452V in 1976.
Aircraft owned by Spiva incude:
Cessna UC-78 Bobcat N59333 (1963-65),
Boeing Stearman N62906  (1969-72)
Travelair 4000 N1339  (1967-72)





Spiva provided and operated aircraft for sky diving schools at Davis CA and Lodi CA:
Douglas DC-3 N101KC purchased 3.87 for lease to parachute schools
DHC-6 Twin Otter N64150 purchased 12.88 for leasing out.

During 1987 at Stockton he was selling a stock of B-17 and F7F spares engines and parts he had acquired from air tanker companies.
By 1995 Ken Spiva had set up a warbirds maintenance busiiness at a hangar at Cave Junction Airport, Oregon. His own aircraft were based here:
DC-3 N101KC, Howard DGA-15P N100KS, SNJ-6 Texan N9809C and an unidentified Beech 18 under restoration.
Ken Spiva died 16 June 2010 at Cave Junction OR.





Douglas C-54
N8502R
USMC 90411
7.80-2.87
165
collected 31.7.80 by K.Spiva at Davis-Monthan AFB AZ
registered 29.8.80 K.Spiva, Tucson AZ
leased 81-83 to WAIG Inc, Tucson AZ as tanker #165
at Tucson 2.81 USMC paintwork, tanked by WAIG Inc with WAIG design tank;
leased 85-86 to Hemet Valley Air Service, Hemet CA as tanker #165
sold 9.2.87 to TBM Inc, Redmond OR
Douglas C-54
N90203
45-481
8.83-10.85
166
purchased 8.83 ex North Star Sales & Leasing as part of a US District Court settlement of a legal case against North Star;
N90203 at Stockton CA by 9.82, tanked by Hemet Valley FS
leased 1984 season to Evergreen, Marana AZ as tanker #166
leased 1985 season to Hemet Valley Flying Service as tanker #166
sold 7.10.85 to
Hemet Valley Flying Service as tanker #166








San Joaquin Air Stearman sprayer N62906 at Lodi CA March 1971. "Ken Spiva" was painted on the rudder.              
Photo by William T. Larkins







Douglas C-54 N8502R at Tucson AZ, November 1981 while leased to WAIG Inc and fitted with the WAIG 8 door tank.
Square paintwork around the circular windows inherited from its former US Marines days.     Photo by Geoff Goodall






C-54 N90203 at Hemet CA in November 1990 after sale to Hemet Valley Flying Service.       Photo by Geoff Goodall



Sprung Aviation, Tucson AZ


Established in 1959 by Fred R. Sprung, a wartime pilot who had become deputy chief of the Tucson Fire Dept. He flew his own B-25 tanker.





TB-25N Mitchell
N3507G
44-86843
8.59-4.62
C05
purchased 14.8.59 ex Ace Smelting Co, Phoenix AZ
1,000 gallon tank installation completed 7.60,
sold 4.62 to Major Air Corp, Tucson AZ as tanker #C05
TB-25N Mitchell
N9452Z
44-30649
8.64-8.65

purchased 8.60 ex Executive Management, Tucson
stored in original USAF markings
sold 8.65 to Don Underwood, Phoenix AZ






George Stell, Phoenix AZ
George H. Stell,11623 N 21 Avenue, Phoenix AZ


George Stell was an early air tanker operator with two PV-2 Harpoons, later an A-26 Invader.
In 1968 he and fellow tanker pilot Sergio Tomassoni formed a partnership SS&T Aerial Contractors Inc, Phoenix to purchase and operate a heavy tanker, acquiring Consolidated PB4Y-2 N7237C as a fire bomber and also for spraying.


Stell was remembered for his ideas for large fire bombers and lobbying USFS to support his ambitious plans. He and Denny Lynch of Lynch Air Tankersmade a detailed feasability study to tank the only remaining airworthy Boeing B-29 Fertile Mytle, retired by NASA after Edwards AFB tests, which was parked at Oakland CA.
George Stell also put down a deposit on an ex-USAF Douglas C-133B Cargomaster during the type's disposal from Davis Monthan AFB AZ to hold the C-133 while he negotiated with USFS to finance a prototype heavy tanker conversion. When his enthusiasm was not shared, the C-133 was resold to Cargomaster Corp at Anchorage Alaska.

George Stell and his copilot son Greg Stell were killed in the PB4Y-2 Privateer on 27 June 1974 when they struck a smoke covered mountain ridge while fire bombing at Stafford AZ.
Refer: Sergio Tomassoni/ T&G Inc


Other aircraft:
Stinson L-5 Sentinel N50244
T-6G Texan N7613C





Lockheed PV-2
N7670C
Bu37472
11.63-4.72

purchased 4.11.63, operated as a sprayer
sold 10.67 to Airfleet Leasing Inc, Gainsville FL, probably leased back to Stell;
Sold 4.72 to Dothan Aviation AL
Lockheed PV-2
N7414C
Bu37462
1.66-4.71

purchased  31.1.66 ex Corsair Air Services, Miami FL,
tanked 3.66, operated as a sprayer
sold 10.67 to Airfleet Leasing Inc, Gainsville FL, probably leased back to Stell;
wing damaged by fire 26.3.88 during refuelling at Macon GA while spraying fire ants,
Sold 23.4.71 to Dothan Aviation AL
Douglas A-26
N9996Z
44-35661
6.66-8.72
C11
purchased ex Donaire Inc, Ohioenx as tanker C11
sold to Canada 8.72 as tanker, became CF-CBK
Consolidated
PBY4-2
Privateer
N3739G
Bu59819
.65-75
C30
purchased ex Flight Enterprises, Prescott AZ as a tanker
tfd c75 to Sergio Tomassoni trading as T&G Inc
Consolidated PB4Y-2
N7237C
FAH 792,
Bu59763
.67-6.74
C31
C50
purchased .67 GH Stell ex Wesley Lewis, Pampa TX as a sprayer
modified by Stell as a fire bomber, fitted with a B-24D nose section found in a Tucson Airport parts yard;
transferred c71 to SS&T Aerial Contractors Inc, Phoenix AZ
destroyed 27.6.74, struck trees on mountain during fire attack Safford AZ








George Stell's Douglas A-26 N9996Z #C11 at Tucson AZ in February 1972.                       Photo by Paul Veenboer






George Stell's PB4Y-2 Privateer N7237C at Deer Valley AZ November 1969 rigged for spraying. It retains the modified
cargo nose and rudder markings from its Honduras
air force days.                         Photo by Gordon Reid






Marana AZ 1971, now fire tanker #C50, the rudder still in its former FAH markings.  The cargo nose has been
replaced by a far more aerodynamic B-24D glasshouse nose section.                          
  






Libby AZ May 1973, now operated as a fire tanker #C50 by SS&T Aerial Contractors.        Photo by Paul Veenboer






SS&T's other Privateer N3739G tanker #C30 at Tucson AZ in May 1973.                     Photo by Paul Veenboer




Stencel Aero Engineering, Asheville North Carolina


Other aircraft: SNJ-5 Texan N3676F (by63-68), P-51D Mustang N6523D (2.62-9.62)





Grumman TBM
N7410C
Bu53522
by63-c1972

damaged 18.4.67 when pilot's parachute deployed during practice load drop, landed safely Arden NC;
sold by 1977 to John Stokes, San Marcos TX for rest. as warbird
SNJ-5 Texan
N3676F
Bu51882
by63-c1968

sold c68 to Milton Cooper, Prospect KY
Douglas A-26
N2852G
44-35493
c1976-c1976

purchased ex Arthur W.McDonnell, Lancaster CA ex fog dispersal
leased by 1980 when impounded New Orleans on a drug run,
sold c1976 to John Stokes, San Marcos TX for rest. as warbird








Stencel Aero Engineering's Grumman TBM N7410C withdrawn from service at Asheville NC in October 1974.
Photo by C.Reahard via aerialvisuals.ca





SS&T Aerial Contractors Inc, Phoenix Arizona - see George Stell and T&G Aviation





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