Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Aero Experience In Santa Fe: Airport Visit Yields Surprises

By Fred Harl
By Mark Nankivil
Earlier this year, a friend offered the donation of a large photo collection to the Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum. My son Jack and I decided to make it into a vacation trip, and fellow The Aero Experience scribe Fred Harl decided to join us on the adventure.  To make the most of the time we had, a flight out to Sacramento and a drive home with plenty of visits worked out the best.

Working our way east towards home, we stopped in Santa Fe, New Mexico to check out the F-111 on display at the airport.  As we drove onto the airport, we noticed over on the ramp what looked to be a CH-47 Chinook.  So we made a quick turn and drive up to the perimeter fence and sure enough, there was the Chinook, yet another Chinook and a Kaman K-Max, all on call for fire fighting duties.  We found a U.S. Forest Service ranger managing the group who took us onto the ramp and introduced us to the crews manning the helicopters.
The two Chinooks are owned and operated by Billings Flying Services out of Billings, Montana.  The Chinooks are capable of carrying nearly 23,000 pounds of water in a Bambi Bucket or Water Hog.  The Kaman K-Max is owned and operated by Swanson Group Aviation out of Oregon.  Normally used for logging operations, the K-Max is a heavy lift helicopter that has a load capacity of up to 6,000 pounds.

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