Electra - P-3 News
Air Tanker #23 Water Drop Video– July 14, 2019
The incident appears very similar to the gear-up landing of Buffalo Electra C-FBAQ at Yellowknife on March 5, 2012. That aircraft was repaired and is currently active with Buffalo as firebomber #417. Hopefully #490 can be quickly repaired and put back into service.
Airstrike's P-3A N923AU/Tanker #23 was captured on video making a demonstration water drop at Northern Colorado Regional Airport in Loveland, Colorado. As reported on this website on February 10, 2019, Airstrike has a "call when needed"contract with the State of Colorado for fighting wildfires.
Former Atlantic Airlines Electra Receving TLC in Buffalo's Red Deer Hangar – July 10, 2019
Michael Baldock visited Buffalo Airways at Red Deer Municipal Airport on June 2, 2019 and noted that former Atlantic Airlines Electra C-GIZU was inside one of the Buffalo hangars. The aircraft, along with C-GYCG, was acquired from Conair in the fall of 2016 and ferried to Red Deer shortly thereafter. It has been parked at the airport since arriving and hopefully its presence inside the hangar means that it will be entering service with Buffalo Airways. I had heard that import paperwork issues needed to be resolved and hopefully this has happened. In the meantime, Buffalo’s other former Atlantic Airlines Electra C-GYCG remains in Abottsford almost three years after the sale. Transport Canada has decreed that all outstanding AD’s must be resolved before it will allow the aircraft to undertake the short ferry flight to Red Deer. This is a very puzzling decision considering that ferry permits are routinely issued for the purpose of moving non-airworthy civil aircraft to other locations for a variety of reasons, including maintenance. One has to wonder if the Joe McBryan-Transport Canada feud continues.
Air Spray Electra Emergency Landing – July 8, 2019
Air Spray Tanker #490 C-GZCF made an emergency landing on June 22, 2019 at Red Deer Airport in Alberta, Canada after experiencing landing gear problems. None of the four crewmembers were injured and the 3,000 fire retardant tank and right side props/engines seemed to have taken the major brunt of the forced landing. From video of the landing and post-crash photos, it appears that the nose and right main gear failed to retract.
Former Zantop Electras Linger on at Keystone Heights – June 5, 2019
Electra fans had cause for optimism five years ago when four former Zantop Electras that had been stored at Willow Run Airport in Michigan for many years were one by one made airworthy and flown to Keystone Airpark in Florida. A consortium, consisting of MHD-Rockland, Mercair and Buffalo Airways, planned on restoring the aircraft as either freighters or firebombers but unfortunately the partnership fell apart and the aircraft have been sitting idle since then. I visited Keystone Airpark on May 9, 2019 and, while there is talk of a possible deal to return the aircraft to service, it is safe to say they face an uncertain future. Things have turned out better for the three former Zantop aircraft that went to Air Spray in Canada, with two of aircraft currently active as firebombers.
Former Conair Electra Remains at Abbotsford – February 10, 2019
Buffalo Airways acquired two former Atlantic Airlines Electras from the Conair Group in the fall of 2016. C-GIZU and C-GYCG were never put into service by Conair and had been stored at the company’s headquarters in Abbotsford, B.C. since arriving from England. C-GIZU was made airworthy and ferried to Red Deer shortly after the aircraft were acquired by Buffalo but, with winter quickly approaching, it was decided to wait until warmer weather to prepare C-GYCG for the ferry flight.
Electra specialists Don Deyo and Tom Hastings returned in the spring of 2017 and were ready to hang engines and props when Transport Canada ruled that all outstanding Airworthiness Directives (AD) had to be complied with prior to the ferry flight. The “no open AD” requirement for a ferry flight is almost unheard of and one has to wonder if someone at Transport Canada still has an axe to grind with Joe McBryan. This new requirement put an end to Don and Tom’s efforts and the aircraft remains parked in Abbotsford. Meanwhile, C-GIZU has not been put into service by Buffalo and remains parked in Red Deer.
Airstrike Firefighters Signs Contract with Colorado – February 10, 2019
In August 2018 Airstrike Firefighters signed a five-year “call when needed” contract with the State of Colorado to fight forest fires in the state. Airstrike was incorporated in September 2016 with Aero Union veteran Bill Douglas serving as company president. The company acquired six former Aero Union P-3A aircraft and set about in 2017 to get the first one certified for firefighting.
A hangar was leased at Sacramento-McClellan Airport and N923AU was the first aircraft to undergo the rigorous federally mandated structural integrity inspection program. N900AU, N917AU, N923AU, N925AU and N927AU had been stored at McClellan and N921AU in Tucson after the demise of Aero Union. With N923AU in the hangar undergoing inspection, the remaining four McClellan aircraft were flown to Chico, California for storage and N921AU returned to McClellan. N923AU has completed the inspection program and is awaiting certification by the Interagency Airtanker Board (IAB). N917AU was returned to McClellan from Chico and is currently in the hangar undergoing inspection alongside Buffalo’s N922AU. Airstrike hopes to have three operational P-3As by the spring of 2019.
Buffalo P-3A to McClellan for Inspection – February 10, 2019
Buffalo acquired P-3A N922AU #22 in March 2014 and until recently it had been parked at Keystone Heights Airport in Florida. It departed for Sacramento, California on February 6, 2018, where it is currently undergoing the federally mandated structural integrity inspection program for P-3A firebombers. The work is being performed by Airstrike Firefighters, who recently completed the same inspection on P-3A N923AU. Buffalo hopes to find firefighting work for the aircraft in the U.S. and ultimately in Canada, which currently prohibits the use of former military aircraft as firebombers. This is quite interesting since the P-3A is very similar to the Electra, which is the Canadian government’s aircraft of choice for aerial firefighting. Go figure!
Former Australian AP-3’s Arrive in Florida – February 10, 2019
Exciting things are happening at a sleepy general aviation airport in Keystone Heights, Florida. MHD-Rockland is building a P-3C aircrew training center at Keystone Airpark and recently acquired five former Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3Cs. The first was registered N656T (RAAF A9-656) on October 5, 2018 and departed Avalon Airport for the U.S. on October 23rd. The second was registered N664SD (RAAF A9-664) on November 14, 2018 and departed Avalon the next day. The remaining aircraft departed RAAF Base Edinburgh, with N665BD (RAAF A9-665) departing on December 12th and both N661MK (RAAF A9-661) and N662JD (RAAF A9-662) on the 14th. The three aircraft joined up at Pago Pago and made the flight to Keystone Airpark together with stops in Hawaii and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
With the U.S. Navy’s retirement of the P-3C, VP-30 at NAS Jacksonville no longer provides P-3C aircrew training. A number of foreign countries continue to operate P-3 type aircraft and their aircrews in the past had trained with VP-30. This created a business opportunity for MHD-Rockland and they seized upon the opportunity. The company moved into hangar/office space at the airport and has a two year plan for building an additional large hangar, warehouse, classrooms and a P-3C flight simulator facility. With sensitive equipment having been removed before delivery to MHD-Rockland, the interior configuration of the aircraft will be maintained with none of the work stations removed or significantly modified. The aircraft will be painted in red/white with MHD-Rockland titles.
As you may recall, a few years ago MHD-Rockland was involved in a joint venture with Electra specialist Mercair and Buffalo Airways that restored and ferried four former Zantop Airlines Electras from Willow Run Airport to Keystone Heights Airport. The plan was to return them to service as firebombers or freighters but the aircraft remain parked at the airport.
----Created 10 February 2019------Updated 14 July 2019----