Last updated 26 September 2023

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

La Grande Air Service, La Grande Oregon:
La Grande Air Inc, P.O.Box 2, La Grande OR
La Grande Air Service Inc, Airport, La Grande OR
La Grande Air Inc was an agricultural operator which conducted tanker operations in early 1960s as an associate of Hillcrest Aircraft Co, Le Grande OR (Jerry Wilson). The two businesses initially shared the same Le Grande Post Office Box number.
After Hillcrest Aircraft Co moved its main operating base to Lewiston Oregon, La Grande Air was reformed as La Grande Air Service as a FBO at La Grande Airport and in 1976 began fire bombing operations with a Douglas DC-7C under the management of William M. Cooper.
Other aircraft:

Boeing Stearman N1181N
Cessna 172 N3967F, N1781F; Cessna 182 N8833T, N42324; Cessna 206 N2192F

Douglas DC-7C
Purchased .76 ex Aero Union #15
Registered 12.76 to William M. Cooper, Union OR but operated by La Grande Air Service
Sold 5.79 to T&G Aviation, Chandler AZ as #115
Douglas DC-7B
Purchased 16.6.76 ex Aero Union as a spare airframe
Registered 6.76 to La Grande Air Service
Open storage at Chico 1976-80, stripped, derelict

N90802 at Chandler AZ October 1979 with T& G Aviation, soon after its purchase from La Grande Air Service.
Tanker number #115 has been removed from the tail, probably in anticipation of new number being allocated by USFS,
however #115 was retained in T&G service. A layer of retardant stains the underrsides.       Photo by Geoff Goodall

Lampson Flying Service, Lakeport California
Lampson Flying Service, Lampson Field, Lakeport CA
An agricultural business, operating from as early as 1954 with Boeing Stearmans.  By 1961 had tanked a Beech C-45G for fire bombing.
Other aircraft:
Boeing Stearman N62287, N62946
Piper J3C Cub N22902
Cessna 150H N7179S
Beech C-45G
Registered to Harold A.Hill,Sacramento CA from 6.59
Reg cancelled 5.62

Larrabee & Rabinette, Boise Idaho
Robert L. Larrabee, Boeing Field, Seattle Washington
Larrabee & Rabinette, Boise Idaho
Robert L. Larrabee purchased a Lockheed Harpoon N7086C which he had tanked circa 1960 at Boeing Field, Seattle with a fibreglass retardant tank.
By 1962 he was operating the Harpoon as Larrabee & Rabinette based at Boise Idaho.
In 1963 the Harpoon was leased to B&B Flying Service at Wenatchee WA.
Lockheed PV-2
Registered to R.L.Larrebee,Boeing Field 1961-1965
Sold .66 to Central Air Service as tanker #F43

Lockheed PV-2 N7086C tanker #D20 with Larrabee & Rabinette.      Charles M. Daniels collection via

Wesley Lewis, Pampa Texas
Wesley Lewis trading as Lewis Aircraft Service, 1922 North Falkiner, Pampa TX.
Dean J. Lewis trading as Red River Sprayers. Pampa TX
A pest spraying operation from the early 1950s, included because the tankers may have been used for fire attack.
The Texans were modified single-seaters with a chemical hopper.
Consolidated PB4Y-2
CofA issued 19.11.57
Sold .67 to George Stell,Phoenix AZ, as tanker #C31
SNJ-4 Texan
Sold .66 to Roy C.Word, Pampa TX,
resold c67 to D&D Aerial Spraying, Rantoul KS
SNJ-4 Texan
Sold .67 to D&D Aerial Spraying. Rantoul KS

John Lippett, Salmon Idaho
John P. Lippett, Salmon Idaho
John P. Lippett trading as Western Air Tankers, Marana Arizona

TBM Avenger
Purchased .63 ex Sonora Flying Service tanker #C53 Sold 8.68 to Idaho Aircraft Co, Boise ID
TBM Avenger
Purchased 10.63 ex Sonora Flying Service tanker #C46
Crashed 19.5.64 on takeoff Willcox-Cochise County AZ, pilot Dexter

Liston Aircraft, Klamath Falls Oregon
Les Liston trading as Liston Aircraft, P.O.Box 1068, Klamath Falls OR
By 1963 operated a PBY-6A Catalina water bomber N6455C, also two others in association with Farmers Air Service, Klamath Falls, sharing the same Post Office Box number.
A 1963 USFS tanker allocation listing shows Liston Aircraft as operators of all three Catalinas
During 1963 ownership of the two Farmers Air Services aircfraft was taken over by Liston Aircraft, but the fire operations continued to be undertaken in both company names for another year or so.
Les Liston and Fred Childers were killed in the crash of N6455C, after which Liston Aircraft was taken over by Butler Aircraft Co, Redmond Oregon.

Consolidated PBY-6A
Ownership transferred .63 ex Farmers Air Service
Sold 10.68 to Leo Demers, Madras OR as tanker #F33
Ownership transferred .63 ex Farmers Air Service
Sold .67 to Leo Demers, Madras OR as tanker #F11
Registered to Liston Aircraft by 1963
Crashed 4.10.65 near Klamath Falls, struck trees returning from fire drop, one engine u/s, 60 kt wind gusts

Liston Aircraft's PBY-6A N6458C tanker #E33.                                         Ron Olsen collection

Liston Aircraft's PBY-6A N6455C while stored with other US Navy disposals Catalinas prior to civil conversion.
  Ed Coates Collection

N6455C as tanker #F47 in service with Liston Aircraft

Loening Air, Boise Idaho
Michael T. Loening trading as Loening Air Inc, P.O.Box 4461, Boise ID
Michael T. Loening, Salmon ID
Michael T. Loening was son of the 1930s aircraft designer Grover Loening.
Mikchael set up Salmon Air Taxi, Salmon Idaho before establishing Loening Air at Boise Airport as a FBO and Cessna dealership. The business was sold to Boise Air Service in 1969.
Loening Air entered the air tanker business for several years from 1965
. Operations appear to have been spraying only, but may have included fire suppression. Early tanker operations reportedly were in conjunction with experienced fire bomber pilot Clayton Curtiss who based himself at Boise at that time.
Michael Loening was prominent in the US General Aviation scene, was an approved FAA Pilot Examiner and was elected President of the National Pilots Association during the 1970s.
He owned two P-51D Mustangs registered in his own name. The second N5482V was purchased as an air racer, which Mike Loening flew in races at Mojave and Reno under the banner of Chance Enterprises. He named the Mustang Chance III,later Boise Bitch later Miss Salmon River before it was wrecked in a forced landing during a race at Reno 26.9.71.

Michael Loening was killed in an aircraft accident on 28 February 1977.
Other aircraft (during the tanker period):
Loening Air:         Cessna 182 N4952D, N4958D;  Cessna 185 N9862X, N2517Z; Cessna 206 N206L N5062U; Cessna 411 N7350U

Michael Loening: Cessna 185 N185ML, Cessna 205 N8233Z, P-51D Mustang N6173C (1963-64), N5482V (1967-71)

Grumman TBM

Purchased .65 ex Cisco Aircraft, Lancaster CA
Sold .65 to Idaho Aircraft Co, Boise ID
Grumman TBM N9586Z

Purchased .65 ex Cisco Aircraft, Lancaster CA
Sold c68 to Hillcrest Aircraft, Lewiston ID as tanker A9
Grumman TBM N9593C

Purchased .65 ex Frontier Airways, Visalia CA (Clayton Curtiss) as tanker #D5;
Sold c68 to Clayton Curtiss, Boise ID
PB4Y-2 Privateer

Purchased 2.65 ex Cisco Aircraft, Lancaster CA
Delivered Mojave-Boise 29.3.65 as sprayer
B-25 Mitchell

Purchased 6.65 ex Idaho Aircraft Co, Boise ID.
Sold 4.67 to Cal-Nat Airways, Grass Valley CA

Lynch Air Tankers, Billings Montana
Lynch Air Tankers Inc, Logan International Airport, Billings MT
John Dennis "Denny" Lynch
Company President Denny Lynch founded the tanker business in 1965 with a single Douglas A-26 Invader purchased already tanked.
His father and an uncle had operated air taxi and ambulance charter at Billings as Lynch Flying Service after WWII with a fleet of Cessna Bobcats. Denny and his brother Tom reorganised the business renamed Lynch Flying Service as a major FBO and air charter organisation at Billings Airport. During 1960 Denny took on side work flying Curtiss C-46 Comandos for Johnson Flying Services at nearby Missoula MT, mostly carrying smoke jumper teams. That led to his endorsement on JFS B-25 Mitchell fire bombers, and Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon fire-ant insecticide spraying in Georgia for Ralph Johnson (RALCO). Finding this type of flying far more satisfying than the FBO business, Denny formed Lynch Air Tankers, while Tom became President of Lynch Flying Service.

Denny Lynch's other brother Pat was Chief Engineer of Lynch Air Tankers, carrying out the civil certification of their second A-26 which Denny ferried from Tucson in 1968 in stock military configuration. More A-26 Invaders were acquired and the tankers were later modified as "Lynch STOL 26" with wing fences and other airframe changes designed by Denny.The A-26 was a successful choice, Lynch Air Tankers gaining annual contracts from USFS, State government departments and commercial timber companies. 
In 1978 three A-26s were purchased for spare parts from warbird dealer and Confederate Air Force backer John Stokes of San Marcos Texas. The three were stored at Louisville, Georgia where Denny and Pat made one, N74833 operational for Denny to ferry to Billings
Also during 1978 Denny acquired a damaged B-26K Counter Invader C-GXTG which had been abandoned on its belly at Macon Georga the previous year after a severe heavy landing had rammed the undercarriage legs up into the wing structure. It was still in USAF Vietnam era camouflage and was being test flown prior to delivery to a Canadian buyer. Pat and a team of engineers spent over a month working on the B-26K in the open weather at Macon, using parts from the other two Louisville A-26s which they moved to Macon by road.With hand-painted registration N4988N, Denny flew the B-26K to Billings later that year.  Any initial thoughts of using it as a tanker were dashed by officialdom, so it became his personal restoration project over the next 20 years with occasional flights.

Denny Lych in October 1981.   Photo by Geoff Goodall
Lynch Air Tankers was solely an A-26 operator during its 30 years, but Denny Lynch did consider larger types. Before the 1968 summer season he submitted a detailed proposal to USFS for tanking a DC-6 airliner to carry 2,800 gallons of retardant. It had been trialled in Alaska by Don Gilbert, but his local USFS office was unconvinced and rejected the Lynch proposal on cost grounds.
In 1972 Lynch submitted a proposal for USAF disposals Boeing KC-97Ls tanked to carry 4,000 gallons of retardant. Again USFS rejected it citing operating costs and its need for longer runways would limit the attack bases it could use. Only a few years later a joint Hemet Valley/Hawkins & Powers proposal for KC-97Ls was funded by USFS for a trial over several summers.

Denny Lynch was active with the Confederate Air Force, flying their aircraft including the B-29 Superfortress. He carried out periodic engine runs of the Lockheed EC-121T Warning Star instructional airframe held by the Helena Montana Vocational Tech. During 1989 Lynch's A-26s starred in the Steven Speilberg movie Always, with Denny standing in for actor Richard Dreyfuss in flying scenes. The filming took place at the tanker strip at Libby Montana.

The unplanned end for Lynch Air Tankers came in 1991 when no USFS contracts were offered. It was an early step in the USFS shift in preferenece for turbine aircaft on ecological grounds, but it was a deep personal blow for Denny Lynch. He had been expecting loyalty and compromises after thirty years of flying each summer for the Forest Service.  He purchased a Douglas C-54 N9013V and established Lynch Air Cargo at Billings, but steady work was elusive and the C-54 was later sold to Australia where it became VH-PAF.
Denny Lynch died in Billings 30 December 2005 at the age of 70.

Douglas A-26 Invader
ex Central Oregon Airial Co as #F77
sold at auction 9.92 to Bob Pond as a warbird
A-26 Invader N4818E
ex Rock Island Oil, storage unconverted Tucson AZ
Ferried Tucson-Billings .68 by Denny Lynch for civil certification and tanking;
retired Billings .90, stored, sold 6.08 as warbird
A-26 Invader N3427G
Purchased 6.73 ex Kem-Air, Worland WY #A28,
Crashed 8.8.76 nr Grand Junction CO during fire attack, in canyon at 9,700 feet elevation
A-26 Invader N4060A
Purchased 6.73 ex Kem-Air, Worland WY ex storage at Ainsworth NE.
Crashed 5.3.83 Hubbardds Fork KY during fire attack
A-26 Invader N4805E
ex Reeder Flying Service ID as tanker
Sold at auction 9.92 to Jerry Slater, Seattle WA
A-26 Invader N3426G
ex Evergreen Air, Missoula MT as tanker #17
Sold at auction 9.92 to Air Spray, ALTA as a tanker
A-26 Invader N74833
Purchased .78 ex John Stokes,San Marcos TX stored unconv at Louisville GA. Made airworthy and ferried to Billings, registered 4.5.79 to Lynch Air Tankers.
Held as spare Billings, stripped for parts.
Made airworthy 1989 by Lynch Air Tankers in USAF markings, advertised for sale
Sold 3.90 to Evergreen Heritage Collection
A-26 Invader N5589A
Purchased .78 ex John Stokes,San Marcos TX stored dism. damaged San Marcos from forced landing in trees Dublin GA .73; by road to Billings;
Held dismantled Billings for parts
Sold at auction 9.9.92 to Pacific Coast Air Museum CA
On Mark B-26K Counter Invader N4988N
Purchased ex Arnie Carnegie Alberta, damaged at Macon GA from a heavy landing;
Rebuilt at Macon by Lynch Air Tankers, ferried to Billings for long-term restoration in military configuration.
Sold 2010 to A-26 Legacy Foundation TX

Lynch Air Tankers' first Douglas A-26 N9452Z tanker #A24. at Billings MT September 1968       Photo by Neil Aird

Douglas A-26 N4060A tanker #01 at home base Billings MT in October 1981.              Photo by Geoff Goodall

A-26 N4818E tanker #59 at Billings October 1981.                                              Photo by Geoff Goodall

A-26 N4805E tanker #58 at Billings in October 1992.                                        Photo by Geoff Goodall

Line of Lynch Air Tankers A-26s at Billings in October 1991.                     Photo by Geoff Goodall

One of the Lynch spare airframes was N74833, seen at Billings in October 1981.   Photo by Geoff Goodall

N74833 at Billings August 1989 after the Lynch maintenance team restored it as a warbird.   Photo by Geoff Goodall

Denny Lynch's On Mark B-26K Counter Invader N4988N at Billings in October 1981, in faded USAF camouflage with
previous Canadian registration, waiting for a rebuild
.                                     Photo by Geoff Goodall

 Restored N4988N at Billings in August 1989 after its had been flying with replica ordinance under the wings.
Photo by Geoff Goodall

L. C. McCurley, Corning California
L. C. & Grace E. McCurley trading as McCurley's Aero Agriculture, Corning CA
L.C. "Mac" McCurley established a 1950s agricultural business which became an early tanker operator.
During 1958 at least three Beech AT-11 Kansans were purchased for fire bombing. They were fitted with plywood liquid tanks inside the bomb bay area and bomb bay doors removed.
The 1963 USFS tanker allocations list shows L.C.McCurley Ukiah CA: Navy N3N N45177 tanker #E9 based Ukiah CA
After selling their aerial ag business, "Mac" McCurley and his wife Grace managed Corning Airport for many years.
Navy N3N

by 63
Registration cancelled by 1966
Beech AT-11

Purchased 1.58
Sold 9.58 to Aero Atlas, Red Bluff CA as tanker #28
Beech AT-11
to N68Q
fire tanker
Sold by 61 to Aero Atlas, Red Bluff CA as tanker #24
Beech AT-11
to N79Q
Purchased 1.58 unconverted, rereg N79Q 3.58
Civil conv completed 6.58
Sold 9.58 to Aero Atlas, Red Bluff CA as tanker #25

McCurley's Aero Agriculture's Navy N3N N45177 tanker #9 showing modifications including a more powerful radial engine,
wheel spats and enclosed cockpit

Macavia International Corp, Santa Rosa California
Macavia International Corp, corporate HQ Central Point Oregon
Macavia International Ltd, London Great Britain
Macavia International, Chateau Talaud, Provence France
Macavia International Corporation was a new company formed to take over the operation and assets of Sis-Q Flying Service, Santa Rosa CA which its founder Bud Davis had placed up for sale during 1984 because of his ill health. The Sis-Q DC-6 fleet ownership was changed to Macavia in May 1985.
President was Alex H. Major.

Macavia's plan was to replace the DC-6 fleet with turbine powered aircraft and expand to offer fire bombing services to overseas countries year round.
To the surprise of many in the tanker industry, Macair selected the Hawker Siddeley HS.748 airliner
to be its first turbine type. This entailed modification of a prototype and flight testing to be carried out in Britain and certification by British airworthiness regulators who had no prior experience with air tanker aircraft. Cost overruns, technical issues and bureaucratic delays resulted in the prototype HS.748 tanker never being delivered to USA.
Meanwhile Macavia had continued operating the Sis-Q DC-6 tanker fleet based at Santa Rosa CA and had commenced repainting them in an attractive new Macavia scheme. Director of Maintenance Darrell Floate, formerly with Sis-Q, had earlier tanked Rosenbalm Aviation's first DC-6s in 1972.

In January 1988 Macavia International Corp and Major Aviation Corp merged under the name MAMAC Aviation Corporation. Tanker operations at Santa Rosa continued under the name Macavia International.  For the 1990 summer season, no USFS contracts were awarded, grounding the DC-6 fleet at Santa Rose. It was the death blow for Macavia. The entire DC-6 inventory was sold the following year to Sergio Tomassoni of T&G Inc at Chandler AZ, reportedly to finance the purchase of Lockheed C-130A tankers, however Macavia did not resume operations.
Douglas DC-6
Transferred 5.85 ex Sis-Q Flying Service
Sold 2.91 to T&G Inc, Chandler AZ
Douglas DC-6 N90MA
5.85-2.91 21
Douglas DC-6 N666SQ
5.85-2.91 47
Douglas DC-6B N111AN
5.85-2.91 46
Douglas DC-6B N444SQ
5.85-2.91 44
Douglas DC-6B N555SQ
5.85-2.91 45
Douglas DC-6B N888SQ
5.85-2.91 48
Douglas DC-6B N999SQ
5.85-2.91 51
Douglas C-118B N777SQ
5.85-11.79 (50)
Tfd 5.85 ex Sis-Q as spare airframe
Parked Santa Rosa in US Navy paintwork
Sold 11.79 to Misty Air
Sold 2.98 to Pacific Coast Air Museum, Santa Rosa CA
broken-up for scrap c95
Purchased .87 ex Air Martime C-GEPI
Registered 5.87 G-BNJK Macavia International Ltd
Modification by Cranfield Aeronautical Services with removable 2000 gallon belly tank and installation of a large cargo door. 
Test flown and water dropping trials. Not delivered.

Leased 1987-90 to Securite Civile, France
Retired Chateauroux, France 91, stored later scrapped

DC-6 N80MA Macavia tanker #20 between fire attack missions at Billings MT in August 1989. This early model DC-6
had been delivered new to Australia for British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines in 1948.         Photo by Geoff Goodall

N80MA landing at Billings August 1989 while working a wildfire in the Little Bighorn Mountains.    Photo by Geoff Goodall

N90MA was a sister ship to N80MA, both starting life with BCPA in Australia during 1948.    Photo by Geoff Goodall

N666SQ tanker #47 wearing Macavia's new scheme. Only two DC-6s had been repainted before the company folded.
Photo by Geoff Goodall

C-118B N777SQ was a spares ship held at Macavia's home base Santa Rosa where it is seen in November 1990.
Photo by Geoff Goodall

Macavia HS.748 tanker G-BNJK being demonstrated at the 1989 Paris Air Show.     

The Macavia DC-6 fleet lined up at Chandler AZ November 1991 after the company shut down and sold the DC-6s to
T&G Aviation. Most  were ferried from Santa Rosa to Chandler, where they were on-sold.     Photo by Geoff Goodall

Major Air Corp, Tucson Arizona

At least one B-25 Mitchell operated as a fire attack tanker

B-25 Mitchell
Purchased 4.62 ex Sprung Avtn, Tucson as a tanker
Sold .68 for movie "Catch 22"

Major Air Corp B-25 N3507G tanker #C05 at Ryan Field near Tucson AZ in April 1967.       Photo by Rene Francillon

Maricopa Dust & Spray, Maricopa Arizona
Aerial agricultural business founded by O.H.Hine operating a variety of single-engined ag aircraft. Three B-25 Mitchells were purchased from USAF disposals in 1958, probably for wide-acre spraying work but at least one was converted to a fire tanker.
Much later in 1972 a Douglas DC-7B
was registered to the company, which by then seems to have been owned by fire bombing pioneers Sergio Tomassoni and George Stell operating as Air Tankers Inc.
Other aircraft:
Callair A-5 N2946G. N6045C, N9961C, N9983C
Snow S-2A N9424R
PA-25 Pawnee N6979Z
Cessna 310C N3309H
TB-25N Mitchell

Purchased ex USAF 6.58, sold 9.59
TB-25N Mitchell

Purchased ex USAF 6.58, sold 1.59
TB-25K Mitchell

Purchased ex USAF 6.58, conv. 5.61 to fire tanker with 1,280 gallon tank; sold .61 to Sonora Flying Service
Douglas DC-7B

Purchased 11.72 ex Flyaway Inc
Sold 7.73 to Air Tankers Inc, Maricopa AZ

Marsh Aviation Co, Falcon Field, Mesa Arizona
Marsh Aviation Co, Litchfield Park Airport AZ
Marsh Aviation of Yuma, Yuma AZ
Marsh Aviation of Marana, Marana AZ

A large Arizona aerial agricultural business founded before WWII by William O. "Bill" Marsh, Phoenix AZ. Immediately after the war in 1946 William Marsh purchased a disposals P-38L Lighting NC63300 for his personal use. Marsh Aviation was based at Phoenix but associate companies were formed at Yuma and Marana. Bill Marshall was a leading figure in the US aerial agricullture industry.
Many different types of aircraft were owned as dusters and sprayers including early model Stearman C3s. Modifications and improvements to ag aircraft included military disposals Vultee BT-13 trainers being rebuilt as single seat spray planes.
The engineering side of the business grew and in the early 1970s the company moved to newly-built premises at Falcon Field, Mesa AZ. Here Marsh Aviation Co concentrated on designing and marketing modifications to General Aviation aircraft and military contracts. A speciality was conversion to Garrett AiResearc turboprop power plants, from single seat Thrush Commander and Ag Cat aircraft to Grumman Tracker and HU-16 Albatross. Marsh Aviation is well known for its contract to rebuild California Department of Forestry Grumman S-2 Tracker air tankers as Marsh S-2F3AT Turbo Trackers. The prototype conversion first flew at Mesa 26 July 1991.

Although Marsh Aviation was primarily an agricultural dusting and spraying business before the transition to aero engineering, it took part in the early days of fire bombing. First trials were with this Boeing 247D N3977C with a liquid tank attached under the belly. It is seen here earlier as a sprayer with spray bars fitted along the trailing edge of the wing, "MARSH" painted on the fuselage sides and sprayer number "22" on the fin.

Boeing 247D N3977C spraying insecticide on forests in July 1955 at Big Summit airstrip Oregon.
Photo by R.B.Pope/USFS 

Marsh Aviation agricultural aircraft:
Stearman C3: N659K, N670K
Navy N3N:  N44707, N44720, N44738, N44713, N44757, N44837, N44815, N44936, N44951, N44980, N45024, N45027, N45052, N45063, N45064, 
N45065, N45068, N45070, N45094, N45162, N45261, N45269, N45300, N45199, N45249, N45012, N45280, N9841Z,
Boeing Stearman:  N1345M, N51965, N53025, N53033, N54899, N56383, N56805, N64385, N64386, 68162, N75623, N53131
Vultee BT-13: N62436, N61337
Fairchild PT-19: N37178
PA-25 Pawnee:  N6182Z, N6183Z, N6427Z, N7029Z, N7085Z, N4587Y, N4597Y. M4977Y, N8551L, N3085Y
Snow 600 series: N1634S, N1679S, N8506V, N4006K, N5678X, N3652F, N45492
Cessna 180: N7821A;
Cessna 188: N8112A, N9781V, N9825V
Other aircraft:
SNJ-5 Texan N3735G
Piper J5 Cub N38498
PA-28 Cherokee N5071W
Cessna 150 N6264R,  Cessna 172 N5011A
Bell 47 N6755D
As part of the Turbo Tracker program, Marsh Aviation imported a number of retired Japanese Navy S2F-1s which were stored at Falcon Field:
N327MA, N736MA, N746MA, N729MA, N5830H, N5830D, N665MA, N724MA, N737MA, N740MA, N743MA.
Douglas A-24B
  by 1954-1955

Sold by 1956 to Portland Mosquito Control, Oregon
Boeing 247D
  by 1955-1960
Tank under belly for fire bombing.
Sold .60 to Precipitation Control Co, Taft CA
Grumman TBM
Sold c65 to Reeder Flying Service, Twin Falls ID
Grumman TBM
CofA 3.5.57 as tanker. Sold c65 to Reeder Flying Svce
Grumman HU-16E
USCG 7227
Arrived Mesa .95 ex DMAFB for Garrett turboprop conversion.
Registered 4.99 to Marsh Aviation International,
however the conversion was abandoned.

Former Japanese Navy Grumman S2F-1 Trackers in storage at the Marsh Aviation hangar at Mesa AZ, October 1987.
Front aircraft is N724MA ex JMSDF 136724.
                            Photo by Geoff Goodall

 California Department of Forestry Marsh S-2F3AT Turbo Tracker N444DF makes a test drop at Hemet CA in April 2009.
Photo by Neil Aird

Medford Air Service, Medford Oregon
Medford Air Service, P.O. Box 208, Medford OR
Agricultural spraying business established by 1947 at Medford OR. During the 1950s operated at least two Grumman Wildcats with underwing tanks as sprayers. The comany's engineering section did outside work including civil conversions of military suplus Beech C-45s.
By late 1950s the company was owned by William E. Rosenbalm and was involved in fire bombing operations.
In 1961 the business was reformed under new name Rosenbalm Aviation Inc, Medford (see later)
Other aircraft:
Aeronca 7AC   N1571E
Piper J3C Cub N98771

Grumman FM-2

CofA 14.4.57 as sprayer
Sold c62 to Ron Zerbel, Nyassa OR
Grumman FM-2

Sold c62 to Ron Zerbel, Nyassa OR
Lockheed PV-2
Purchased 12.50 ex E.D.Weiner, CA
Tfd .61 to Rosenbalm Aviation

Two views of Medford Air Service Grumman Wildcats at Medford 1958 with underwing spray tanks.
Photos: Ron Olsen collection

Medford Air Service Lockheed Harpoon N83L photographed circa 1961 by Milo Peltzer

Frank Michaud, Hobergs California
Frank Michaud Junior was an ag operator who flew Navy N3N biplanes on USFS fire bombing contracts in teh early 1960s.
1963 USFS tanker allocation list shows Frank Michaud assigned to the Hobergs forestry base with N3N N44972.
Navy N3N
by 1963

Minden Air, Minden Airport Nevada
Minden Air Corporation, Gardnerville NV
A family business founded in 1990 by Leonard Parker and Janet Sheppardson to operate Lockheed Neptunes as air tankers. The first two aircraft SP-2Hs N299MA and N355MA were purchased from US Navy disposals at Davis Monthan AFB AZ and had civil certification inspections in a contractor's yard on the base boundary, then flown out. They each had a 2,450 gallon retardant tank system installed.
In 2014 when their final Neptune tanker N4692A was damaged in a landing accident, it was not repaired. The company had purchased two BAe146 jet airliners to replace Neptunes, which were being phased out by USFS. Their first BAe146 Fireliner air tanker conversion had made its first flight on 9 June 2013 at Minden but was to fail the Interagency Tanker Board drop tests because of inadequate distribution. The cost of engineering modifications while the company had no operational tankers earning income forced Minden Air into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2016.
SP-2H Neptune
Registered 4.91 Minden Air Corp.
Crashed 3.10.03 during fire attack near Redlands CA
SP-2H Neptune
Registered 4.95 Minden Air Corp
First test flight 4.95 after civil conversion DMAFB
Damaged emergency landing 3.6.12 with left gear retracted at Minden NV. Written off. No injuries
SP-2H Neptune
by 2001-6.14
Leased by 2001 from AquaAir, Alamagordo NM as #48
Purchased 2.07 by Minden Air
nose gear collapsed landing Fresno CA 16.6.14,
written off, no injuries
SP-2H Neptune
Stored DMAFB contractor yard, original USN markings
Registration cancelled 10.05
SP-2H Neptune
Purchased 6.06 ex Neptune Avtn Services stored in DMAFB contractor yard, original USN markings;
Remained in storage. Registration cancelled 6.13
SP-2H Neptune
Purchased 6.06 ex Neptune Avtn Services stored in DMAFB contractor yard, original USN markings;
Remained in storage. Registration cancelled 8.13
SP-2H Neptune N717AU
Purchased 6.06 ex Neptune Avtn Services stored in DMAFB contractor yard, original USN markings;
Remained in storage. Registration cancelled 4.13
SP-2H Neptune
Purchased 6.06 ex Neptune Avtn Services stored in DMAFB contractor yard, original USN markings;
Remained in storage. Registration cancelled 8.13
P2V-5 Neptune

FABrasileira P-15 7002
Held in store

Minden Air's first Neptune N299MA tanker #99 at Avra Valley AZ April 1995.             Photo by John Chapman

N4692A tanker #48 at Boise ID August 2010.                                          Photo by Martijn Koetsier

Paul Mantz Air Services, Burbank California
Paul Mantz Air Services, Lockheed Air Terminal, Burbank CA
Paul Mant was a pe-WWII Hollywood movie stunt pilot and air racer, who became widely known for his many varied aviation ventures, often publiised with movie stars and entertainment celebrities of the day.
Born Albert Paul Mantz on 2 August 1903 in California, he took his first flying lessons at age 16.
During WWII he enlisted in the US Army and served in the Motion Picture Unit. When postwar military aircraft disposals commenced, the flamboyant Mantz made a bulk purchase on 19 February 1946 of 475 bombers and fighters stored at Seary Field, Stillwater Oklahoma for $55,000. He kept 12 for himself and sold the remainder, mostly for scrap metal, "at a handsome profit".
Paul Mantz Air Services at Burbank flew a variety of aircraft from P-51C Mustangs to DC-3s. As well as his flying memorable scenes in many big movies, his B-25 Mitchells and A-26 Invaders fitted with modified camera noses flew around the world making "Cinerama" feature films of natural wonders. Cameras were also extended below the aircraft through the operating bomb bay doors.

With partner, fellow movie pilot Frank G. Tallman, Mantz operated during the 1950-60s as:
Paul Mantz Air Services, Grand Central Air Terminal, Glendale CA, later Burbank CA, later Orange County CA
Tallmantz Aviation, Orange County CA
Movieland of the Air, Orange County CA
Weath-Air Inc, Orange County CA (rain making cloud seeding)

During 1954 Paul Mantz Air Services gained a US Government contract to conduct trials using heavy aircraft for controlled retardant drops on wildfires. Mantz used his Grumman TBM-1C N9394H Avenger fitted with two plywood tanks each with a weather ballon filled with slurry retardant. When the bomb bay doors were opened the balloons split and dropped their contents. After testing and calibration, this aircraft is credited with making the first operational water drop on 1 August 1954 on a fire at Jamison near Lake Elsinor. Media reports credit the first drops to Willows Flying Service with its Stearman and Navy N3N biplane squadron but that was the 1955 summer.
This led to Mantz deciding to operate air tankers commercially using Grumman TBMs and B-25 Mitchells
. The B-25s were introduced in 1958 in an arrangement with Les Bowman Engineering Co which did the tanker conversions but the aircraft were operated by Paul Mantz Air Services. Fire bombing contracts were negotiated in Venezuala for several summers, involving long ferry flights from California.
Following a series of B-25 structural failures during retardant drops, the USFS ceased using the type in 1962, effectively ending Paul Mantz's fire bombing enterprises.
Paul Mantz was killed 8 July 1965 while filming the final scene of the movie Flight of the Phoenix when the improvised aircraft constructed from parts of the crashed Fairchild C-82 broke up in flight.

Grumman TBM-1C


Previously used by Mantz as Weath-Air Inc rainmaking
In 1954 Mantz flew it on first trials of TBM type on fire bombing trials, first operational drop 1 August 1954
Operated as fire bomber 1955-1958 seasons
Crashed c1958 during fire attack out of Porterville CA
reg cancelled 1.59
TB-25D Mitchell

Purchased 10.57 ex Les Bowman Engineering Co
based Caracas Venezuala 1961 fire bombing contract
fate unknown, reg cancelled 25.6.70
TB-25J Mitchell
Leased from Les Bowman Engineering Co
ferried 3.60 to Caracas Venezuala fire bombing contract
sold 2.62 to Zack Monroe/CISCO, Burbank as a tanker
TB-25N Mitchell
Purchased 7.59 "Les Bowman & Paul Mantz, Santa Ana"
ferried 3.60 to Caracas Venezuala fire bombing contract
Sold 5.60 to Venezualan Government
TB-25N Mitchell
Purchased 5.60 "Les Bowman & Paul Mantz Air Service, Santa Ana", tanked 8.60 with 1,000 gallon tank;
ferried .61 to Caracas Venezuala fire bombing contract
sold 2.62 to Zack Monroe/CISCO, Burbank as a tanker
TB-25N Mitchell

Purchased 5.60 "Les Bowman & Paul Mantz, Santa Ana"
National Metals Inc, Tucson AZ,
CofA issued 19.9.61 - unconfirmed if was tanked
Tfd 11.61 Tallmantz Aviation, Orange County
radar and avionics test gear installed 3.62, then extensive movie flying. Sold 3.71
TB-25N  Mitchell

Purchased 7.50 "Les Bowman & Paul Mantz Air Services, Santa Ana" ex National Metals Inc, Tucson AZ
chemical tank installed
Tfd 11.60 to Les Bowman, Los Angeles CA
sold 2.62 to Zack Monroe/CISCO, Burbank as a tanker

Paul Mantz Air Services Grumman TBM-1C N9394H at Orange County CA in 1958.              Photo by J.D.Davis

B-25 N5256V tanker #81 with Paul Mantz Air Services.                      Photo by Dusty Carter

Retired Paul Mantz Air Service B-25 N9455Z tanker #82 parked at Grass Valley CA in 1963.   Photo by William T. Larkins

Zack C. Monroe, Lancaster California - see CISCO Aircraft

Moseley Aviation, Phoenix Arizona
Moseley Aviation Inc, P.O.Box Tolleson AZ (1963-1970)
Moseley Aviation, Moseley Aviation Field, Indian School Road & 91st Road, Phoenix AZ
Ernest E. Moseley, 4345 West Cherry Lynn Road, Glendale AZ

A long established aviation business in the Phoenix AZ area founded by Ernest E. Moseley. Company operations included aerial agriculture and sales of military disposals aircraft from US Navy storage at nearby NAS Litchfield Park. In 1962 a Douglas A-26 was acquired for conversion to fire tanker, followed by another A-26. Plans to expand the air tanker role seem to have been dashed by the loss of family member James A. Moseley when his A-26 was destroyed during a fire attack in June 1964.
Moseley Aviation continued with various ventures, including purchasing a Convair 440 airliner N94436 in May 1975 in Ernest Moseley's name, on-selling it the following year. During 1982 Moseley Aviation purchased six Kaman HH-43F Huskie helicopters and a Grumman OV-1A Mohawk, purposes unknown.

A visit to Moseley Aviation Field, Indian School Road, Phoenix in November 1969 noted the following:
F4U Corsairs (all US Navy surplus): Bu97142, 97264, 97302, 97330, 97349, 97359, 97369, 97390
SNJ-5B Texan Bu91044; Spartan Cruiser N20200, also Weatherly cropdusters.

A 1983 company reorganisation resulted in a revised Moseley Aviation Inc based at Litchfield Park AZ providing aerial cropspraying, later changing to electronics manufacturing business.

Other aircraft (during 1960s fire tanker period):
Snow 600 N1630S
Cessna 310B N5428A
Howard DGA N22424
Grumman F8F Bearcat N9885C

SNJ-5 Texans N7438C, N9168Z

Douglas A-26
Purchased 8.62 ex L.B.Smith Aircafft, Miami FL
crashed 28.6.64 during fire attack Roosevelt AZ
Douglas A-26

Purchased 10.63 ex Idaho Air Tankers, Boise ID
Accident 20.6.70 no details
Sold 1.71 Donair Sales Inc, Phoenix AZ

The way things were... Mosely Aviation Field near Phoenix AZ November 1969. US Navy surplus F4U-4 Corsairs left over
from a Bob Bean sales deal line the fence, Texans and Weatherley cropsprayers in the backgound.  Photo by Gordon Reid

Multiple Management Corporation, Long Beach CA - see Jim Routh

Edgar A. Neely, Los Angeles California - see Fastway Air Service

Neptune Aviation Services, Missoula Montana
Neptune Inc, Missoula Airport, Missoula MT
Neptune Aviation Services Inc, Missoula Airport Montana

A new air tanker business established in 1993 at Missoula MT by well known local businesswoman Marta Amelia Timmons, who owned a Missoula FBO and air charter company Thunderbird Aviation, later Northstar Jet. Her intention was to take over Black Hills Aviation at Alamogorodo NM which was being advertised for sale as an operational concern. The sale included all Black Hills' assets including their Neptune aircraft and spares stock, hangar maintenance organisation at Alamogordo Airport, plus existing USFS contracts. The newly formed Missoula company was named Neptune Inc and the purchase of Black Hills Aviation was successfully negotiated. 
The Alamogordo maintenance base was retained with its stock of stored Neptunes still in US Navy markings but operational Neptune tankers moved to a newly-built hangar and admin offices at Missoula Airport
. Neptune Inc soon changed name to Neptune Aviation Services Inc.
The quality of the company's heavy airframe maintenance organisation was highlighted when its engineering modification program succeeded in lifting a ban on tanker Neptunes.
However the USFS wanted more modern jet equipment, so Neptune Aviation Services invested in purchasing and tanking BAe.146 airliners with 3,000 gallon retardant delivery systems. They began entering service from 2010. The Neptune tanker fleet was retired at Missoula in a ceremony held on 30 September 2017, after which the company donated and delivered each Neptune to civic groups as air tanker memorials.

Marta Simmons built up Neptune Aviation Services from 30 employees to over 200. She passed away at Missoula on 10 October 2020.

P2V-7 Neptune
RCAF 24110
Purchased 9.93 ex Black Hills Aviation tanker #11
crashed 3.6.12 Caliente NV during fire attack
SP-2E Neptune
Purchased 9.93 ex Black Hills Aviation tanker #05
Retired 9.17 in Neptune fleet retirement
delivered 6.8.18 to Glendive MT air tanker memorial
SP-2E Neptune
9.93-9.17 06
Purchased 9.93 ex Black Hills Aviation tanker #06
Retired 9.17 in Neptune fleet retirement
delivered 9.9.18 to Klamath Falls OR air tanker memorial
SP-2E Neptune N96264
9.93-2012 12
Purchased 9.93 ex Black Hills Aviation tanker #12
Retired 2012 at Missoula, stored
National Museum of Forest Service History, Missoula .19
SP-2H Neptune N4235N
9.93-9.17 10
Purchased 9.93 ex Black Hills Aviation tanker #10
Retired 2012 at Missoula, stored
Air tanker memorial, Missoula Airport MT unveiled 6.17
SP-2H Neptune N4235T
9.93-9.08 09
Purchased 9.93 ex Black Hills Aviation tanker #09
crashed 1.9.08 after takeoff Reno-Stead NV
SP-2H Neptune N918AP
9.93-7.94 04
Purchased 9.93 ex Black Hills Aviation tanker #04
crashed 26.7.94 near Missoula MT during fire attack
SP-2E Neptune
Purchased 9.93 ex Black Hills Aviation, spare airframe
Stored stripped of parts,US Navy markings, Alamogordo
Rebuild as air tanker commenced .95 at Alamogordo
Entered service 2000 as tanker #113
, later to #44
Damaged emergency landing Broomfield CO 26.6.10, repaired
Retired 9.17 in Neptune fleet retirement
Stored Alamogordo 2018
SP-2E Neptune N410NA
Purchased 10.10 from Evergreen, Marana AZ as retired tanker N206EV #145 stored Marana since 1985;
Rebuilt by Neptune Avtn Services
Entered service 2.11 as tanker #14
Damaged emergency landing Pocatello ID 5.8.17,
repaired, ferried to Alamogordo NM where stored 2018
SP-2E Neptune N1386K
Purchased 9.93 ex Black Hills Aviation, spare airframe
Stored stripped of parts,US Navy markings, Alamogordo
Rebuild as air tanker .95 at Alamogordo, CofA 26.5.95
Entered service 96 as tanker #07,
Reregistered 6.06 N807NA, tanker #07
Retired 9.17 in Neptune fleet retirement
Delivered 8.8.18 to Estrella Warbirds Museum,
Paso Robles CA
SP-2H Neptune
Purchased 2.06 ex Hawkins & Powers Aviation N140HP tanker #140
Entered Neptune Aviation service 6.06 as N445NA
tanker #45

Retired 9.17 in Neptune fleet retirement
5.9.18 to Yankee Air Museum, Willow Run MI
SP-2H Neptune
Purchased 2.06 ex Hawkins & Powers Aviation N139HP tanker #139
Entered Neptune Aviation service 6.06 as N443NA
tanker #43

Retired 9.17 in Neptune fleet retirement
Delivered 7.9.18 to San Diego Air and Space Museum

SP-2E Neptune N442NA
purchased 4.00 ex Aero Union, spare airframe stored at Chico CA N712AU in US Navy markings;
ferried to Missoula, stored before rebuild as tanker
Registered 12.07 N442NA Neptune Aviation Services
crashed 25.4.09 Stockton Pass UT on travel flight
SP-2E Neptune N13852
Purchased 9.93 ex Black Hills Aviation, spare airframe
Stored stripped of parts,US Navy markings, Alamogordo
registration cancelled 9.11.10.
SP-2H Neptune N13859
Purchased 9.93 ex Black Hills Aviation, spare airframe
Stored stripped of parts,US Navy markings, Alamogordo
restoration as warbird commenced by 2005, nose and tail gun turrets installed but project discontinued,
remained in storage Alamogordo 2017.
registration cancelled 18.12.14
SP-2E Neptune N203EV
Purchased 10.10 from Evergreen, Marana AZ as retired tanker N203EV #142 stored Marana since 1985;
ferried to Alamogordo NM, stored painted all white,
name Rebel Rousers II, stripped for parts, later
restored for display,
Air tanker memorial, Alamogordo Airport unveiled .17
SP-2E Neptune N88484
purchased c98 in storage DMAFB contractor yard
stripped for parts at Davis Monthan AFB AZ
SP-2H Neptune
purchased 4.00 ex Aero Union, spare airframe stored in contractor's yard DMAFB in US Navy markings;
remained in storage Davis Monthan AFB AZ
sold 6.06 to Minden Air Corp NV for parts.
SP-2H Neptune N714AU
4.00-1.33 -
purchased 4.00 ex Aero Union, spare airframe stored Chico CA in US Navy markings;
ferried to Missoula MT, stored
sold 1.13 to Richard P. Nash, Missoula MT
SP-2H Neptune
purchased 4.00 ex Aero Union, spare airframe stored in contractor's yard DMAFB in US Navy markings;
remained in storage Davis Monthan AFB AZ
sold 6.06 to Minden Air Corp NV for parts.
SP-2H Neptune
purchased 4.00 ex Aero Union, spare airframe stored in contractor's yard DMAFB in US Navy markings;
remained in storage Davis Monthan AFB AZ
sold 6.06 to Minden Air Corp NV for parts.
SP-2H Neptune
4.00-6.06 -
purchased 4.00 ex Aero Union, spare airframe stored in contractor's yard DMAFB in US Navy markings;
remained in storage Davis Monthan AFB AZ
sold 6.06 to Minden Air Corp NV for parts.
SP-2H Neptune N122HP
purchased 24.8.06 at Hawkins & Powers Aviation closing down auction at Greybull WY, spare airframe stored at Greybull in US Navy markings;
assumed stripped for parts
SP-2H Neptune
purchased 24.8.06 at Hawkins & Powers Aviation closing down auction at Greybull WY, spare airframe stored at Greybull in US Navy markings;
assumed stripped for parts
SP-2H Neptune
purchased 24.8.06 at Hawkins & Powers Aviation closing down auction at Greybull WY, spare airframe stored at Greybull in US Navy markings;
Registered 1.07 as N2216S Neptune Aviation Services
assumed remained at Greybull stripped for parts
SP-2H Neptune N2218E
purchased 24.8.06 at Hawkins & Powers Aviation closing down auction at Greybull WY, spare airframe stored at Greybull in US Navy markings;
assumed remained at Greybull stripped for parts
SP-2H Neptune
purchased 24.8.06 at Hawkins & Powers Aviation closing down auction at Greybull WY, spare airframe stored at Greybull in US Navy markings;
assumed remained at Greybull stripped for parts
SP-2H Neptune
Purchased 5.98 ex Aviation Classics, Reno NV,
ferried to Missoula MT in US Navy markings, stored.
sold 1.13 to Richard P. Nash, Missoula MT
SP-2H Neptune
Purchased 1.99 in original US Navy markings
ferried to Missoula MT, stored
Registered 6.99 Neptune Aviation Services
sold 1.13 to Richard P. Nash, Missoula MT
SP-2H Neptune
Purchased 6.01 ex University of Nevada
ferried to Missoula MT, stored
sold 1.13 to Richard P. Nash, Missoula MT

Neptune Aviation Services SP-2E Neptune N9855F at Redmond OR August 2013.          Photo by Lieuwe Hofstra

Nevadair, Tonopah Nevada - see Charlie T. "Red" Jensen

North Star Aviation, Fairbanks Alaska
North Star Aviation Corp, P.O.Box 3108, Fairbanks AK
North Star Industries, P.O. Box 3108 Fairbanks AK
Both business had Robert H. "Bob" Schacht as President. He conducted river sanding operations and supported forest and land management agencies before commencing fire bombing with a B-25 Mitchell. The type had been banned from fire bombing by the USFS but Alaskan B-25 operations continued for another 10 years.A Fairchild (Chase) YC-122C Avitruc was leased for a year but lost when power loss forced a diversion to Golovin AK and crash in a lagoon while carrying a load of cement from Galena AK to a DEW Line construction site, 2 crew killed.

B-25 Mitchell

Purchased 12.66
tank installed 8.67 for river sanding or fire retardant drop
sold 4.69 to Colco Aviation, Fairbanks as a tanker
Fairchild YC-122C

Leased 4.67 ex Mobile Aircraft, Mobile AL
Crashed 7.9.68 in lagoon Golovin AK

YC-122C Avitruc N122R at Fairbanks AK 10 June 1968 with loading ramp extended.     Phtop by Ken Stoltzfus

B-25D N88972 retired at Fairbanks AK September 1979 still with faded "North Star Aviation" under the cockpit.   
Photo by Geoff Goodall

Ostaire Flying Service, Ukiah California
The 1963 USFS air tanker allocation list shows Ostaire Flying Service assigned to Ukiah CA fire attack base with Navy N3N N45057 tanker #E20.

Navy N3N

P & B Aviation, Red Bluff California
P & B Aviation Inc, P.O.Box 647 Red Bluff CA

Commenced fire tanker operations at Bidwell Field, Red Bluff circa 1960 with single-seater North American Texan tankers. When USFS ceased contracting Texan type light tankers after the 1961 summer season, P & B Aviation continued with Beech AT-11 Kansas and Grumman TBMs.
Operations seem to have ceased in 1967.

Probably connected with Aero Atlas Inc, Red Bluff CA.

SNJ-4 Texan
Purchased .60 ex Rogers Air Service, Chester CA as single-seater tanker #6.
Sold c62
AT-6B Texan

Purchased 7.61 as single-seater tanker
Crashed 3.9.61 Forbestown CA during fire attack
Beech AT-11
Purchased 7.61 ex Aero Atlas as tanker #28
undercarriage collapsed landing Red Bluff CA 26.9.61
Sold 7.63 to Graubart Aviation, Valparaiso IN
Beech AT-11
Purchased .61 ex Aero Atlas as tanker #24
Sold .63 to Graubart Aviation, Valparaiso IN
Beech AT-11

Purchased 2.62
fate unknown, struck-off USCR 6.70

TBM-3 Avenger
Sold 8.67 to Sis-Q Flying Service, Santa Rosa CA
TBM-3 Avenger N9596C
by63-64 E19
Purchased c61 ex Butler Aircraft, Redmond OR #E19
sold .64 to Aero Union, Chico CA as tanker #E19
TBM-3 Avenger N9711Z
Purchased .63 ex Wen Inc, Porterville CA tanker #E46
struck trees during fire attack Coalinga CA 17.7.67 but landed safely.
Sold 8.67 to Sis-Q Flying Service, Santa Rosa CA

Modified single-seat SNJ-4 Texan N9589C working as a cropduster at Bakersfield CA in July 1963 following sale by
P&B Aviation, but still wearing their tanker number #8
.                                           Photo by William T. Larkins

Grumman TBM N8596C tanker #E19 at Red Bluff CA.                     Photo by William T. Larkins

TBM N9711Z at Hollister CA September 1967, just weeks after P& B Aviation sold it to Sis-Q Flying Service

Pacific Flight Service, Angwin California
Pacific Flight Service Inc, P.O.Box 387, Angwin CA
Owned at least two Douglas A-26s during the early 1960s, one of which N3427G was listed in the aerial fire fighting category in the FAA US Civil Aircraft Register. Another N2852G was operated with fog dispersal spay bars under the wings for several years prior to being sold to Arthur "Wally" McDonnell of Lancaster CA who used it to continue the same work.

Douglas A-26

Sold c65 to Kem-Air, Worland WY as tanker #B27
Douglas A-26

Sold 11.70 to A.W.McDonnell, Lancaster CA with fog dispersal spray system

Pacific Flight Service Douglas A-26 N2852G at Arcata-Eureka Airport CA in January 1970, fitted with spraybars for
fog dispersant trials at this airport which had frequent fog conditions.
                 Photo by Gordon Reid

Parsons Airpark Inc, Carpinteria California
Parsons Airpark Inc was incorporated in November 1955, founded by Louis Parsons, an experienced aviator who built a runway and hangars on the family avocado farm at Carpinteria near Santa Barbara CA. He joined the embryo aerial fire bombing industry later that decade with two B-25 Mitchells.
The first N10564 had a 1,200 gallon tanker intalled in August 1958 by AiResearch Aviation, Los Angeles and took part in USFS fire bombing evaluation trials. The second B-25 N7687C was tanked in July 1958. Grumman TBM tankers were added to the firebombing fleet.
In the early 1960s Louis Parson quit aviation to concentrate on farming and start a family. The airfield became disused, his daughter remembering as a child playing in the dusty hangar and riding her bicycle on the runway. Louis Parson died in 2013.
Other aircraft:
North American T-28A N3221G. sold 10.63 to Will Martin/Maco Sales, Chicago for resale to Nicaraguan air force

B-25J Mitchell
Purchased 12.57 ex Les Bowman Engineering, Long Beach CA, 1200 gallon tank installed 8.58
Leased 19662 to USFS for B-25 tanker structural strength evaluation trials at Edwards AFB CA
Sold 5.65 to Hemet Valley Flying Service, Hemet CA, for its engines whi7687Cch were fitted to a PBY
TB-25N Mitchell

Purchased 4.58 ex USAF disposals DMAFB
Tanked 7.58, later modified 7.60-12.60 with electronics for a flight testing contract with Raytheon.
Sold 8.64 to Aerial Applicators, Salt Lake City UT
Grumman TBM-1C

Purchased ex Ball Ralston Flying Svce, Hillsboro OR as tanker/sprayer
Sold by 63 to Idaho Aircraft Co, Boise ID as tanker
Grumman TBM-3
Purchased ex Ball Ralston Flying Svce, Hillsboro OR as tanker/sprayer
Sold 6.65 to Idaho Aircraft Co, Boise ID as tanker
Grumman TBM-!C
Purchased ex Ball Ralston Flying Svce, Hillsboro OR as tanker/sprayer
Sold by 63 to Idaho Aircraft Co, Boise ID as tanker
Grumman TBM-3U

Sold .64 to T.A.Underwood, Buckeye AZ

Parsons Airpark B-25 tanker N10564 tanker #E91

Parson family picture of Louis Parsons in 1960 with a Parsons Airpark truck.

Parsons Airpark T-28A N4221G at Van Nuys CA 1961.   Photo by Ed Coates

Parsons Airpark's B-25 N10564 tanker #E91 at Santa Barbara CA in February 1962 while on lease to USFS for structural
strength testing following B-25 tankers breaking up during fire attacks. "USFS" is painted on rear fuselage.
Photo by Milo Peltzer

Plains Aero Service, Amarillo Texas and Dalhart Texas  *

Aircraft maintenance business which also conducted cropspraying with Stearmans and Vultee BT-13s from the early 1950s, Later Grumman TBM Avengers were acquired and at least one Douglas B-18 sprayer. No record of involvement with fire bombing.
Other aircraft:
Vultee BT-13: N62810, N69788
PA-18 Super Cub: N1553P

Douglas B-18A

purchased 13.5.55 ex Tyler Flight Service as a sprayer
sold 1966 to Mexico to XB-LAW as a freighter
Grumman TBM-3

purchased .57 ex US Navy disposals Litchfield Park AZ
sold c65 to Air Tankers Inc, Newcastle WY

Grumman TBM-3
c/n 6728

registered to Plains Aero Service by 1963
sold c65 to Air Tankers Inc, Newcastle WY
SNJ-4 Texan

registered to Plains Aero Service by 1963
assumed converted for spraying,

  Plains Aero Service Douglas B-18 N66272 with full-span spraybars under the wings.         Ken Stoltzfus Collection

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