Neptune Aviation’s three new British Aerospace 146 fire-bomber jets were left sitting on the runway when the U.S. Forest Service announced contracts for seven “next-generation” firefighting aircraft on Monday. The contractor, based in Missoula, Mont., recently won contracts for six of its Lockheed P2-V Neptune propeller-powered bombers and one BAe 146 on short-term agreements with the Forest Service.
But the agency opted to work with five other vendors, all but one of whom are using former passenger jetliners, in its $158 million, five-year contract. They are:
Minden Air Corp. of Minden, Nev.: one BAe 146
Aero Air LLC, Hillsboro, Ore.: two McDonnell Douglas MD-87 jets (a plane never before used for firefighting)
Aero Flite Inc., Kingman, Ariz.: two Avro RJ85 jets (a longer version of the BAe 146)
Coulson Aircrane USA, Portland, Ore.: one Lockheed C-130Q Hercules (a modified version of the C-130 military transport)
10 Tanker Air Carrier LLC, Adelanto, Calif.: one McDonnell Douglas DC-10 jet (which recently visited Missoula)
For the complete story by Rob Chaney of the Missoulian, click here.
Photo by Neptune Aviation