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

Sunday, January 12, 2020

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019: Airshows - Air Tankers Over Oshkosh

The Aero Experience continues with our signature year-round coverage of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019, sponsored by Elite Aviation, with another edition in our Airshow Series. Here we feature several aerial fire fighting tanker aircraft types that were on display and making water drops in the daily airshows. Each day presented a slightly different mix of aircraft, with some accessible on static display and others on the far apron away from view until their appearances in the airshows. We roll out our presentation below in a day-by-day sequence as it unfolded.

Aircraft types include:

Air Tractor AT-802F Tanker 812 Single Engine Air Tanker (SEAT) is an effective first strike asset for small fires or to begin arresting a larger fire before the larger aircraft arrive on scene. 

Viking CL-215 Tanker 291 is a purpose-designed amphibious firebomber originally produced by Bombardier. It is similar to the turboprop-powered CL-415 series, and both specialize in serving heavily forested regions in Canada. 

BAE 146 Tanker 12 is operated by Neptune Aviation Services, taking over the mission previously flown in the Lockheed P2V Neptune. 

Lockheed C-130H Tanker 5 from the 302nd AW, Peterson AFB, CO demonstrates a drop using the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS). The system is used by several USRC units to augment U.S. Forest Service and contracted aircraft during the wildfire season.

The Shrike Commander featured here is operated by Bridger Aerospace in an Air Tactical Group Supervisor (ATGS) role. This aircraft supports fire fighting operations throughout the U.S. with command staff and sensor support capabilities.

The Douglas A-26C Invader flew as Conair Tanker 21 from 1970-1986 and is now operated by the Vietnam War Flight Museum. 

Sunday, July 21: 
Air Tractor AT-802F Tanker 812 and Viking CL-215 Tanker 291 amphibious firebomber are positioned at the edge of the public access area near Boeing Plaza. 

Monday, July 22:
Air Tankers 812 and 291 were joined by Tanker 12, a BAE 146 operated by Neptune Aviation. Here we show Tanker 12 arriving late in the airshow window. It was called to service during the week and was not featured in the airshows. Tanker 291 taxis by, takes off and makes a water drop in front of the crowd.

Tuesday, July 23:
All three types - AT-802F, CL-215 and C-130H - perform air drops during the airshow.

Wednesday, July 24:
All three types - AT-802F, CL-215 and C-130H - perform air drops during the airshow. The Shrike Commander is also rolled out and launched.

Thursday, July 25 and Friday, July 26:
Following our extensive coverage the previous days, we took a closer look at the aircraft as they were parked and taxiing on the ground. Friday's airshow was briefly interrupted by a rain shower.

Saturday, July 27:
The Shrike Commander, CL-215 and C-130H were joined by the Douglas A-26C Tanker 21. This was an excellent selection of aerial fire fighting aircraft past and present flying on a beautiful sunny day.

Sunday, July 28:
We wrap up the week of aerial fire tanker airshow coverage with one more look at the USAF Reserve C-130H making two more runs as seen from behind the crowd line. 

The Aero Experience thanks the crews and operators of these fire fighting tankers for all they do to save lives and property from wildfires throughout the world. We also thank EAA AirVenture Oshkosh for including these demonstrations in the daily airshows.

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