A new air tanker?

new air tanker

This photo appeared at FlightAware, having been uploaded there on May 15. Could this be the project that Minden is working on, converting a BAe 146-200 into an air tanker that we told you about on March 28? According to the flight tracker at FlightAware, this aircraft, N146FF, last landed on May 15, at Missoula, but there is a rumor that it was at another airport yesterday.

UPDATE May 27

Wildfire Today has confirmed that Tanker 40 is Neptune Aviation’s BAe-146 conversion, which further explains why it was last reported landing at Missoula, the home of Neptune.

Minden’s BAe-146 conversion, Tanker 46, is currently at Fox Field in southern California.

So there are two or three BAe-146 conversion projects currently nearing completion:

  1. Minden’s,
  2. Neptune’s, and
  3. Tronos. (which may be the one that Neptune has)

But keep in mind, before any air tanker can contract with a federal agency in the United States they will have to get a Supplemental Type Certificate from the FAA, as well as certification from the Interagency Air Tanker Board.

Below is the photo that we ran on March 28 of the Tronos project.

BAe-146 air tanker
BAe-146-200 makes its first drop on October 28, 2009. Tronos photo.

UPDATE July 15, 2010

We just want to summarize the information we have. It appears there are two BAe-146 air tanker conversion projects underway:

  1. Neptune, at Missoula, MT: Tanker 40, N146FF (formerly N608AW), serial #E2049, registration issued May 12, 2010, airworthiness issued May 23, 2010; owner: Aircraft Holdings Network Inc trustee, Las Vegas, NV. This aircraft was apparently converted by Tronos.
  2. Minden, at Minden, NV; Tanker 46, N446MA, serial #E2111, registration and airworthiness issued May 26, 2010; owner: Minden Air Corp, Minden, NV

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

8 thoughts on “A new air tanker?”

  1. Bill,

    Somebody on that “other site” copied your article almost word for word.

    Here is what “wildfire96” posted:

    “This photo appeared at FlightAware, having been uploaded there on May 15. Could this be the project that Minden is working on, converting a BAE 146-200 into an air tanker? According to the flight tracker at FlightAware, this aircraft, N146FF, last landed on May 15, at Missoula, but there is a rumor that it was at another airport yesterday.”

    1. Thanks Ken. After your tip, I went to that site and found it. This is happening more and more at that site, where the administrators have only a passive interest in such matters. Copyright infringement is serious.

  2. According to my sources, the aircraft that is at Neptune is the one from Tronos. Not sure if it is under long term lease in order to get the STC’s accomplished. I do know that Neptune is actively persuing various airframes to replace the P2-V.

  3. Also, the original N number registration on this acft was N608AW which is the one shown on the Tronos website. N146FF is its pending new registration number.

  4. My office ovelooks runway 29 at KMSO (Missoula) today I got a few pictures of Neptune’s Tanker 40 (BAe-146) doing some low approaches and a retardant drop. I would post them if I knew how on your site.
    bill@hallusa.net

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