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Penticton, B.C. to say goodbye to Convair air tankers this season – Okanagan



It’s the top of an period for the Convair Conair 580 tankers. The wildfire preventing plane have known as the Penticton airport residence throughout wildfire season for greater than 20 years, and this season shall be their final.

Tankers 44, 49, and 55 will formally retire after their contract ends subsequent week, until prolonged by BC Wildfire Service (BCWS).

Lengthy-time Convair pilot Grahame Wilson mentioned the tankers have turn out to be a staple in the neighborhood.

“There’s type of a fan membership in Penticton for these plans. I’ve had individuals come as much as me, individuals know the tanker numbers and who flies every tanker,” mentioned Wilson.

Wilson plans to do a last water drop and fly over Penticton earlier than the three planes are flown to Abbotsford.

Learn extra:

Wildfire air tankers return to Penticton, B.C. forward of wildfire season

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“I’d prefer to thank all of the individuals within the Okanagan for all their good needs for the Convair program and seeing them off,” added Wilson.

This may also be Wilson’s last season with the workforce.

“I’ve type of been the unofficial curator of the Convair at Conair. I educate on the floor faculties and practice pilots and so it appears to be the fitting time for me to comply with the airplane to the museum in Victoria,” mentioned Wilson.

The Convair tankers have been transformed from industrial airliners, stripped proper right down to the skeleton within the cabin to maximise the load that the planes can carry.

“The engines have as much as 4000 horsepower every, so one of many nice issues concerning the Convair is it’s energy. It’s very nice to have lots of energy in terrain that we’ve right here in southern B.C.,” mentioned Wilson.

“And so they carry 8,000 litres of retardant and as directed by the Chook Canine, we are able to drop that in an extended line or we are able to make a drop on the bottom no matter [the air attack officer] directs.”

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The brand new tankers shall be a contemporary model of the previous fleet.

“The newer plane are very trendy. They’ve issues like autopilots, flight administration, system hydraulicals, boosted flight controls,” mentioned Wilson.

“The Convair is all guide and to be trustworthy, flying this airplane it’s like driving your automobile when the ability steering isn’t working. So it’s very it’s very arm sturdy to muscle this round.”

The tankers, owned by Abbotsford-based Conair Group, have supported BC Wildfire Service preventing blazes throughout the province.

“The BC Wildfire Service tries to focus its efforts on preliminary assault and that’s the prime rule for our tankers is  to hit them laborious and quick, was the previous terminology,” mentioned BC Wildfire Service Air Assault Officer Ben Moerkoert

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Learn extra:

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“Air tankers attempt to suppress the hearth, include it with retardant. It’s to retard the expansion of the hearth, it doesn’t put it out. Some individuals assume we drop on the hearth to place it out, we don’t, we simply attempt to include.”

The tankers attempt to include the hearth and maintain it and till floor crews, helicopters and heavy equipment can put the hearth out.

BC Wildfire Service Air Assault Officer Ben Moerkoert directs the three tankers from the Chook Canine airplane.

“I supervise their actions on fires,” mentioned Moerkoert.

“Principally, I’m the firefighter and they’re the those who drive the plane. They comply with my directions, to one of the best of their skills.”

There are plans for one of many Convair plane to go to the Centre for Excellence Museum in Kelowna, one other will go to a museum in Victoria and one other shall be taken for components.

Alerts issued over B.C. wildfires

Alerts issued over B.C. wildfires

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