Buffalo purchases a P3

Buffalo P3
Ronald Guy of United Aeronautical congratulates Joe McBryan of Buffalo Airways, March 19, 2014 at McClellan Air Force Base. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

Breaking news from the Aerial Firefighting conference. Buffalo Airways just purchased Tanker 22, one of the P3s formerly owned by Aero Union. They intend to use it as an air tanker. This was confirmed by Joe McBryan of Buffalo, who was pleased to say the P3 will live on.

They purchased it from Blue Aerospace/United Aeronautical Corporation.

You might recognize Mr. McBryan from the Ice Pilots reality show on the History Channel.

20 thoughts on “Buffalo purchases a P3”

  1. Great news for the “Ice Pilots” and UA!!!

    Like I said years ago when the grounding occurred at Bastrop and Abilene, TX….ya just can not judge the entire fleet based on one inspected aircraft…

    1. I didn’t realize it was one inspected aircraft that eventually led to Aero Union losing their contract. Which aircraft was it?

  2. Can he operate that thing in Canada? There is no restricted category there. Chances are, no goverment agency will contract one, and Transport Canada is unlikely to certify an ex-military machine under civil regulations. Am I missing anything?

    Unless it is not destined for Canada at all.

  3. If memory serves right T-22 was one of the last aircraft that returned from overhaul in Nova Scotia. Mid 2011 or 2012. Congratulations to Bufflo Airways.

    1. It wasn’t an overhaul. They performed the spar cap replacements. Being a structures guy who did this on a few of the AU fleet, I would not have picked that one. IMP is a P-3 wing replacement facility and not an overhaul facility. Saw a lot of issues with quality of work come from them to include a lack of FOD prevention. They were not set up as a 145 repair station with a fully staffed QA department. Ask anyone who worked there when T22 returned to Chico and how much work was spent removing the large quantity of foreign material from the fuel tanks and engine screens.

      1. Thanks for being outspoken about the maintenance facility and their lack of ability.You would not be surprised to find other so called maintainance facilities in Canada some operating electras .Anyway as far as buffalo joe he needs the bomb tank under 22 as the contract he has nwt calls for constant flow tank. he tried a 12 door dc6 tank and got shut down and hired the other electra operator to fulfill the contract last summer. as far as operating a p3 in Canada transport Canada will unlikely allow it.

      2. IMP does it all in relation to P-3…they take ours to bare metal, put new wings, tails, bulkheads and avionics. They also have a component shop where they refurbish flaps and control surfaces. However, they don’t do prop and engines. Standard Aero in Winnipeg does that for us.

  4. When does the current state of Alaska airtanker contract expire? I can’t see P-3s being permitted to fly on US federal lands without a great deal of maintenance expense (the primary reason for their grounding), and they will not, repeat, will not fly as airtankers anywhere in Canada. Is there interest in other state firefighting agencies? Could this dovetail into Colorado’s stated initative to create a state fleet?

  5. P-3 aircraft will fly many years into the future. Unfortunally Aero Union went
    bankrupt and was miss managed. Alot of personal lost their jobs which is unfortunate and were bitter. IMP has been around for 30 plus years I say no more.

  6. I guess you need to know what happened here with Aero Union. It wasn’t a single aircraft that put them out of business. It was a requirement by the U.S. forest service for an additional heavy inspection on the aircraft before renewing their contract that killed their fleet of P3s. This inspection was way over the top to say the least, and could require over a year to carry out, depending on the condition of the aircraft. The aircraft themselves were good to fly, but without a contract from the U.S. forest service, they became grounded.
    There are no P3s registered in Canada, so Buffalo Airways will no doubt keep the aircraft flying under the same FAA type certificate that Aero Union was using, only fighting fires in Canada. Again, it was the loss of the contract that paid the bills and not the aircraft that was the problem.
    Tanker 22 was the first aircraft sent to Nova Scotia for repair. Not much of a shocker to hear cries of bad maintenance on the first aircraft that they tried to outsource. Aero Union was moving their operation from Chico to McClellan Airfield outside of Sacramento during this time and having the work outsourced could not have boded well with the employees.
    As far as the aircrafts go you just have to look at the P3 that NOAA flew into hurricane Hugo. These are military grade aircraft and well built. I have a thirty year history working on both the L188 Electra and P3 Orion, of which both Aero Union and NOAA aircrafts are included. As far as firefighting aircraft go there are none better. It is good to see they that they will live on with Buffalo Airways.
    Best of luck to you Buffalo Joe

  7. Just curious what the difference would be operating a p3 orion versus all the L188 Electras or Convair CV580s we already have in use in canada….

  8. The difference is there is no supplemental type certificate (STC) for a civil P3 in Canada. Aero Union holds the STC for this aircraft in the USA. The L188 and Convair have Canadian STC to operate in Canada. I would think buffalo would keep the N tail number and operate under AU’s old STC.

    1. Yep, they told me they are keeping the N number for now, until they sort out the red tape with Transport Canada.

  9. Aircraft Description

    Serial Number 151387 Status Valid
    Manufacturer Name LOCKHEED Certificate Issue Date 06/17/2014
    Model P-3A Expiration Date 06/30/2017
    Type Aircraft Fixed Wing Multi-Engine Type Engine Turbo-prop
    Pending Number Change None Dealer No
    Date Change Authorized None Mode S Code (base 8 / oct) 53142653
    MFR Year 1964 Mode S Code (base 16 / hex) ACC5AB
    Type Registration Non Citizen Corporation Fractional Owner NO

    Registered Owner

    Name BUFFALO AIRWAYS USA INC
    Street 7110 AIRPORT RD

    City STARKE State FLORIDA
    County BRADFORD Zip Code 32091-9347
    Country UNITED STATES
    Airworthiness

    Engine Manufacturer ALLISON Classification Restricted
    Engine Model T-56-A-10W Category Forest
    A/W Date 04/20/2011

  10. The P3 will be alive and well in someone else’s back yard

    Nice to see a new fresh cerificate date

    I am sure the new home will be as good as the old

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