A selection of my photographs of fire attack air tankers seen on USA visits during the 1990s

 As the decade began, a number of US fire bomber operators were introducing Lockheed C-130A Hercules and P-3A Orions from
military surplus disposals, to comply with the US Forest Service preference for turbine powered air tankers.

Hawkins & Powers Aviation at Greybull, Wyoming acquired twelve C-130As and began modified the first three as tankers
in partnership with Hemet Valley Air Service in California. Here's N131HP "Tanker 131" at Greybull in October 1992.

Hawkins & Powers Aviation C-130A N133HP at Hemet-Ryan Field, California in November 1990 during tanker conversion
It was to become Tanker #133 but the stunning civilian paint scheme was only partly applied.

Hemet Valley Flying Service pioneered the civilian C-130A air tankers in 1988 and leased several to the French Government
Securite Civile.  N135FF "Tanker 82" was seen at Hemet CA November 1990, just returned home from France.

  Aero Firefighting Service Co N138FF "Tanker 88"at Hemet CA in March 1995 was operated in conjunction with HVFS.

Hemet Valley Flying Service C-130A N131FF at Hemet CA November 1990 as "Tanker 81" in its former USAF camouflage.

HVFS also operated N132FF "Tanker 83" in its former USAF paintwork. Seen at Hemet CA in March 1995

TBM Inc C-130A N473TM "Tanker 63" on a foggy morning at home base Tulare-Sequoia Field, California in October 1992.

Butler Aircraft Co C-130A N531BA "Tanker 67"was at its home base Redmond, Oregon in October 1992.

Aero Union Corp at Chico in northern California introduced their highly modified Lockheed P-3A Orion tankers which they
named "Aerostars".  One of the first was N925AU "Tanker 25" seen at Chico in October 1992.

P-3A N921AU "Tanker 21"at Chico in October 1992 was put into service still in basic US Navy paintwork.

Aero Union Corporation at Chico CA also rebuilt a fleet of ex former US Navy SP-2H Neptunes as "Firestar" tankers.
N718AU "Tanker 18" was at Chico in November 1990.

Aero Union SP-2H Firestar N716AU "Tanker 16"seen at Chico CA in October 1992.

Black Hills Aviation at Alamogordo, New Mexico operated a fleet of Neptune tankers with the MAD tail boom removed.  
SP-2E N96264 "Tanker 12" at Alamogordo November 1992, back home after deployments during the 1992 fire season.

Black Hills Aviation SP-2H N4235T "Tanker 09"at Alamogordo NM in November 1992.

Black Hills Aviation SP-2H N4235N "Tanker 10" was based at the Wenatchee WA attack base in October 1991.

Hawkins and Powers Aviation SP-2H N139HP "Tanker 139" at home base Greybull Wyoming in October 1992.

Hawkins & Powers Aviation SP-2H N140HP "Tanker 140" with tail boom removed, Greybull October 1992.

Hawkins & Powers Aviation Boeing KC-97L N1365N "Tanker 84" at Greybull in October 1992.

N1365N's previous US Air Force markings were visible from its days at USAF KC-97L 52-2698.

Hawkins & Powers Aviation continued to operate their five Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateers throughout the 1990s.
Former US Coast Guard PB4Y-2G N7620C "Tanker 123"at Greybull in October 1992 shows where the rear SAR
observation blisters had been removed during conversion to tankers during the 1960s.

Hawkins & Powers Aviation had retired their fleet of former RCAF Fairchild C-119G Flying Boxcars.
N8093 "Tanker 140" seen retired at Greybull in October 1991 was one of the last kept in service for a variety of tasks.

At Hemet California, Hemet Valley Flying Service had also retired their four earlier model C-119C Flying Boxcars.
N13743 "Tanker 81" was out to grass in November 1990.

C-119C N13744 "Tanker 86" retired at Hemet in November 1990 with a cheeky Taylorcraft parked under its wing for shade.

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