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

ChicoER.com 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.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills. 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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