1967 marked the year Air Spray was incorporated as a forest fire suppression company. Operating out of the Municipal Airport in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the company started its business with one air tanker, one bird dog aircraft and a contract for one season with the Alberta Provincial Government to fight forest fires from the air.
Air Spray's founder, Don Hamilton had been an aviator since 1943. After leaving the the Royal Canadian Air Force, Don purchased his first aircraft and began flying as a bush pilot in Northern Alberta. Having experience flying numerous aircraft in various roles, he saw the opportunity to use an old A 26 aircraft to fight forest fires in Alberta. The aircraft was converted to the air tanker role after the installation of a tank to hold the fire retardant in the old bomb bay. Paired with a Cessna 310 as a Bird Dog aircraft, this marked the beginning of Air Spray and an exciting era of fire suppression in Western Canada. Click here for more information about aerial forest fire fighting...
The A 26 was built during the 1940s and flown in both World War II and the Korean War. The A 26 flew over 30 seasons with Air Spray throughout Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon and Northwest Territories. At its peak, Air Spray owned and operated 18 of the aircraft. Able to haul 900 US gallons of fire retardant and flying at a speed of 210 knots the A 26 was the work horse of Air Spray's air tanker fleet.
The Canadair CL - 215 amphibious or "skimmer" aircraft was added to the Air Spray fleet in 1986. The CL-215 skimmer aircraft enabled Air Spray to operate from lakes throughout Alberta. In 2009 the three remaining CL-215 aircraft owned and operated by Air Spray were sold to the Turkish Aeronautical Association (THK). Air Spray still operates and provides maintenance support for the aircraft in Turkey for THK today.
The tanker fleet at Airspray today includes seven Electras, eight Turbo Commanders, three Cessna 310s and two Aerostars. The L-188 Electra which is considered by many to be the optimal large capacity air tanker for the control of wild fires. The L-188 Electra is fast, maneuverable and capable of carrying large loads of fire retardant. Additionally, its tremendous power reserve contributes to an excellent margin of safety. Coupled with the computerized constant/variable flow tank, the performance of the L-188 Electra is unsurpassed by any other air tanker. includes seven Electras, eight Turbo Commanders, three Cessna 310s and two Aerostars.
The Turbo Commander 690 is the aircraft used in the Bird Dog role. The aircraft gives the pilot the performance needed to operate in unison with faster air tankers both in terms of cruising to and working a fire. Additionally, the exceptional visibility characteristics of the Turbo Commander 690 make it the perfect for bird dog operations in even the most severe fire situations.
Wildfire Forest Fire Suppression is the cornerstone of Air Spray's operations. Fire bombing requires exceptionally skilled pilots to battle blazes in the difficult terrain and conditions in and around a large forest fire. Aircraft will perform numerous bombing runs during a typical day to help ground crews and other aircraft battle wildfires. Additionally aircraft engineers wait at the ready should any aircraft require a quick maintenance check or if maintenance is required, work all night to have the aircraft ready for another day of fire bombing. Air Spray is exceptionally proud of its pilots and maintenance engineers and the amazing work they perform to ensure wildfires are kept in control.
Air Spray Website
Canadian Airline Blog
Fri, Jun 17 2011 11:02 AM
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