Neptune Aviation expected to have its second jet-powered air tanker, another BAe-146, in the air fighting fires by the first part of August, but Coulson Aviation and 10 Tanker Air Carrier protested the next generation air tanker contracts the U.S. Forest Service awarded to Neptune, Minden Air, and two other Western companies. We wrote more about the protest on August 7.
It was generally recognized that the USFS had two choices: say damn the torpedoes and bring on the additional BAe-146s anyway under the new next generation contract, or wait until the contract protest is adjudicated, which would take months. But, they selected a third option, adding the second BAe-146 onto Neptune’s existing P2V air tanker contract as “additional equipment”, which is the method used for bringing on their first BAe-146, Tanker 40, in 2011. Tanker 40 is still working under an additional equipment clause.
Minden has been doing their own conversion of a BAe-146 for a couple of years, but the Missoulian reports that it is still not ready for prime time. Their next-generation contract, under protest as stated before, expected it to be available, like Neptune’s, in August.
Since Minden’s Tanker 55 crash-landed June 3 with landing gear that failed to fully extend, rather than committing resources to repairing the 50+ year old P2V warbird, they have been working on converting the BAe-146.
Neptune’s Tanker 41 will be on contract as additional equipment from September 1 until November 9, 2012, and perhaps longer if needed.
The company is leasing Tanker 40, and possibly Tanker 41 also, from Tronos Aviation, a company that did the conversion, based on Prince Edward Island in Canada.
Thanks go out to Al, Dick, and Kelly