Fire Bombers

Off we went on Saturday through the desert in Southern California. Northwest of Lancaster I saw numerous colorful tails at William J. Fox Field. We headed over to check them out.

The sky was gray and just starting to clear after a weak cold front moved through the area. The fire bombers were grounded by the weather and waiting for a chance to get to work. While we were there, the engines came to life and most of them took to the air to fight the remaining blazes in Orange County or San Diego.

Fox Field is home to the National Forest Service base for air operations in the area. They have maintenance facilities, loading stations for fire retardant and even their own tower. It was a powerful sight of aircraft built long ago that are still capable of performing a very gallant task.

Our thanks to all the firefighters and first responders who have helped so many. And our thoughts, best wishes and prayers for those victims of theses massive, fast moving blazes.

This P2V-5 Neptune was built in 1954 as a submarine patrol aircraft and bomber. It still carries on the bomber role against a different enemy. The main engines are Curtiss Wright R3350-32WA 18 cylinder radial engines. It also has two Westinghouse J34-WE-34 jet engines. Capable of delivering 12,000 lbs of fire retardant on a pinpoint target this is one beautiful airplane, especially to the firefighters on the ground watching the flames approach.


A Neptune taxis with the canopy open for some cool air.

Make sure you check out the new gallery with more photos of the air operations, and also some other interesting shots from the outing in the desert...

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This page contains a single entry by published on October 29, 2007 10:16 PM.

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