Aero Union reportedly closes their doors

Station_fire_air_tanker P-3 Orion

A P-3 Orion drops on the Station fire Aug. 30, 2009 near Acton, California. Photo: Dan Steinberg is reporting that one of the three primary suppliers of air tankers has closed their doors, telling their employees they no longer have jobs, and to pick up their last checks this week. Aero Union, which earlier this year had eight large P-3 air tankers on exclusive use contracts with the U.S. Forest Service for wildland fire suppression, had their contracts for the last six P-3’s cancelled at the end of July due to their failure to participate in a continued airworthiness program.

The demise of Aero Union left 11 large air tankers, P2V’s supplied by Neptune and Minden, on exclusive use contracts with the USFS, compared to 44 in 2002. After the agency cancelled the Aero Union contract a few weeks ago, saying “we possess the aircraft support needed for this year’s fire season”, they brought on three Convair 580 air tankers to attempt to fill the void, bringing the total up to 14.

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About Bill Gabbert

Wildland fire has been a major part of Bill Gabbert’s life for several decades. After growing up in the south, he migrated to southern California where he lived for 20 years, working as a wildland firefighter. Later he took his affinity for firefighting to Indiana and eventually the Black Hills of South Dakota where he was the Fire Management Officer for a group of seven national parks. Today he is the creator and owner of and Sagacity Wildfire Services and serves as an expert witness in wildland fire. If you are interested in wildland fire, welcome… grab a cup of coffee and put your feet up. Google+

4 thoughts on “Aero Union reportedly closes their doors

  1. I know details are thin, but does anyone know why they chose not to continue with the airworthiness program? Cost I assume?

  2. In the last 2 weeks we’ve had 3 calls for heavy ATs come from fires and haven’t been able to fill any of the orders.

  3. I always wondered what happend after they Moved to Sac. . I helped on 5 of the P-3 Modificaitions in 1990. Funnest job I ever had, greatest people I ever worked with. Its sad that they are no longer here. I have pictures of tanker #27 on its first flight. Thank you Mr. Newton for starting one heck of a company.

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