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

Military disposals Douglas C-54s were still in widespread service as air tankers during the early 1990s.
ARDCO Inc's N82FA "Tanker 153" was at the Ramona, California fire attack base in November 1993.

ARDCO C-54 N460WA"Tanker 151" was on the refuelling pad at the Hemet CA attack base in November 1990.

Fire bomber hospitality. The ARDCO crew on C-54 Tanker 151 invited me on board.

ARDCO C-54 N9015Q "Tanker 152" at the Fox Field Attack Base, Lancaster CA in November 1990.

ARDCO C-54 N406WA "Tanker 119" at the company's maintenance base Tucson-Ryan Field AZ in November 1991.

Aero Union Corp, Chico CA operated the largest fleet of C-54 tankers. N2742G "Tanker 15" at Chico November 1990.

Aero Union C-54 N11712 "Tanker 02" at Chico in October 1992.

Aero Union C-54 N62342 on standby at the Fox Field attack base at Lancaster CA in November 1990.

Hemet Valley Flying Service DC-4 N90203 "Tanker 166" at Hemet-Ryan Field, California in November 1990

TBM Inc C-54 N8502R "Tanker 65" at home base Tulare-Sequoia Field, California on a foggy morning in October 1992.

TBM Inc Douglas DC-6 N90739 'Tanker 68" seen at the Wenatchee, Washington attack base in October 1991.

An imposing line of DC-6 tankers at Chandler-Gila River, Arizona in November 1991. They had been acquired by T&G Inc
that year from Macavia International Corp at Santa Rosa CA (previously Sis-Q Flying Service) and ferried to Chandler.
Macavia had ceased operations after its plans to upgrade to turbine tankers using HS.748s struck expensive delays.

Macavia International had been progressively repainting its former Sis-Q DC-6/C-118 tankers. N666SQ "Tanker 47".

DC-6 N90MA "Tanker 21" retained its Sis-Q paint scheme but with Macavia name and motif on the nose.
From 1948 this DC-6 had flown the Sydney-SFO-Vancouver route as VH-BPH with British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines.

Douglas DC-7 N6353C "Tanker 66" with Butler Aircraft Co was stationed at Pocatello, Idaho in October 1992.

Butler Aircraft Co DC-7 N401US "Tanker 62"was based at Medford, Oregon October 1992 fitted with a temporary
replacement rudder borrowed from company DC-7 "Tanker 67".

And here's Butler's DC-7 N6318C at home base Redmond, Oregon in October 1992 less rudder.

T&G Inc DC-7C N90802 "Tanker 115"at Chandler-Gila River AZ in November 1991.

The last operator of Douglas A-26 Invader fire bombers was Lynch Air Tankers at Billings, Montana.
Four were back at Billings in October 1991 at the end of the summer deployments.

The Lynch Invaders were designated "Lynch STOL 26"after modifications to their wings.  

Ralph Schlaefli's SLAFCO still operated Consolidated PBY-5 Catalinas as water bombers. Three were at Moses Lake,
Washington in October 1991, in the foreground N2763A, a PBY-5A modified as a Steward-Davis Super Catalina.

Canadian company The Flying Fireman Ltd had leased C-GFFC "Tanker 776" to US operators including SLAFCO.
It was a Canadian Vickers-built PBV-1A delivered to USAAF as an OA-10A before along long civil career.

Retired US Navy Grumman S-2 Trackers were used in large numbers as tankers on contract to California Division of Forestry.
N442DF "Tanker 70"seen at the Ramona attack base in November 1992 had been converted from an early model TS-2A.

N406DF "Tanker 73" at Hemet, California in November 1990 was converted from a S-2G.

These retired Japanese Self Defence Force Grumman S2F-1 Trackers were at Hemet CA in November 1990 being stripped
for airframe parts to maintain the CDF fleet of tanker Trackers.

Former USAF Cessna O-2As were used by California Department of Foresty to direct tanker drops from above the fire.
N469DF was the "Fire Boss" aircraft at the Ramona CA attack base in November 1992.

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