Neptune Aviation to test new air tanker in Missoula

KPAX is reporting that Neptune Aviation is going to test a “new generation of air tankers” beginning today, July 26, at the Missoula International Airport.

Beginning on Monday, there will be multiple aerial retardant drops on a U.S. Forest Service grid at the airport.

The grid elevations are one of several steps in the process to develop the new generation of air tankers.

We are thinking that they will be testing their new Tanker 40,  Neptune Aviation’s BAe-146 conversion, that we covered on May 26. This drop testing is no doubt part of the process to confirm the retardant coverage, part of the process toward obtaining certification from the Interagency Air Tanker Board.

new air tanker
Neptune Aviation's new air tanker, a BAe 146-200 conversion.

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UPDATE @ 7:45 p.m., July 26

I don’t know if Neptune tested Tanker 40 today or not, but here is a photo of it sitting in a hangar at Missoula airport this evening.

air tanker 40 in hangar at Missoula
Air Tanker 40 in a hangar at Missoula airport, 7:50 p.m. MT, July 26

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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.