Update on Coulson’s C-130 air tanker

Coulson C-130
Coulson C-130
Artist’s conception of Coulson’s C-130, Tanker 131. Courtesy of Coulson. (click to enlarge)

The image above depicts what Coulson’s C-130Q, Air Tanker 131, should look like when it first appears over a wildfire, which is scheduled to happen in early August. The inspections and maintenance are nearing completion, the engines and props have been reinstalled, the tank is installed, most of the painting is complete, and the wrap shown above will be applied in the middle or end of July. Britt Coulson told us today that they expect to start doing run-ups the first week of July. He said they expect to be ready for their contract-specified Mandatory Availability Period which begins August 1.

HERE is what the aircraft looked like in early May.

10 thoughts on “Update on Coulson’s C-130 air tanker”

  1. I spent fire several seasons as a helicopter pilot doing helitack and water bucket work, and always felt challenged by the difficulties of seeing other aircraft in smokey skies — especially when they were flying directly toward me. So looking at this paint scheme I have to wonder why the aircraft’s entire frontal aspect is gray. Not what I’d pick!

    1. When I was flying for the Navy, we used Keith Ferris’ paint schemes to camouflage our aircraft. I would suggest anyone interested in high visibility talk to him about reversing his visual engineering talents and designing a high visibility paint scheme for tankers and helos.

      Camouflage in reverse.

    2. I’ve flown over 30 yrs in the smoke on heli tankers… I saw strobes and pulse lights long before any paint scheme no matter what the colours

  2. I overheard that a tanker almost “bumped into” a military Chinook on the Black Forest Incident. Crayola (brand only) Tempra water based paint, hot pink seems to the color of choice. Any school supply store, comes in pints. Three pints for a Chinook should do it.

    1. Great idea … We used water based washable paints when testing various camo schemes … comes off easily.

      1. The folks who could most benefit from the washable paint idea are military units activated for firefighting. Their aircraft are all tactical paint schemes designed to reduce aircraft visibility like the Army Chinook. White and international orange washable paints might help.

  3. A recycled number, 131 was a Hawkins and Powers C-130 back in the day. I’m not sure but I think it was the second one they put in service.

  4. I believe there’s a study somewhere about the best color and design for fire fighting airplanes…

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