Canadian air tankers headed to Alaska

conair tanker 42
Air Tanker 42, a Convair 580, taxiing for takeoff at Whitehorse Airport, Yukon, Canada. Photo by D. Cote, Yukon Fire Management.

At least seven air tankers are being sent from Canada to Alaska to help with the wildfire situation developing in that state. Here are the aircraft that we are aware of that stopped at Whitehorse, Yukon, for fuel:

  • Tanker 42, a Convair 580, from Slave Lake, Alberta, operated by Conair.
  • Four CL-215Ts from Slave Lake, Alberta, with two Bird Dogs, operated by Conair.
  • Two Convair 580s out of Williams Lake, B.C. passed through Whitehorse a couple of days ago on their way to Alaska.
Two CL-415s
Two CL-215Ts refuel at Whitehorse Airport, Yukon, Canada, en route to Alaska. Photo by D. Cote, Yukon Fire Management.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to D. Cote.

9 thoughts on “Canadian air tankers headed to Alaska”

  1. Well that is nice, 7 US next gen( fully certified) 2 RJ85 ,4 BAe 146 and a DC 10 sit idle do to the coulson and Erickson protests (multiple)!

  2. Wondering if an American company offered planes to the US state of Alaska. No offense to our friends to the north but I’m pretty sure there are planes in the lower 48 ready to go to work. I think Neptune & 10 Tanker have planes ready while they wait for a USFS contract.
    How about we follow the Canadian lead and take care of our own first!

    1. Because it’s a State request and not a Federal one. Under the NorthWest Compact, it’s akin to free trade. There is no operational benefit to using US-only airtankers. The Canadian planes are closer, they are less expensive, they are often from the same company (think aircrew and engineering support), they are used to the same fuel types and they have enjoyed excellent working relationships with the State of Alaska for many many years.
      I bet the base in Palmer is a model of efficiency (it’s all one company), while the Ladd operation might be complicated by three different operators flying three different airtanker types.

      Many people believe the Canadians don’t import US airtankers because they’re ‘protecting their own’. Not so. Any (ex-military) aircraft operating under a restricted airworthiness certificate is not recognized nor legal to fly in Canada. Therefore, no P3s, P2s, Hercs etc. The DC-10 operates under a standard AC, thus it was used in Canada in 2011.

      1. Seems contradictory again…I believe the Tracker used for 30 plus years in Canada was a military aircraft…

        Anyone have news on the buffalo p3 in the far north yet…..

        1. The Trackers were completely rebuilt under a civilian C of A and were maintained to commercial standards. They were not labeled as Grumman / de Havilland products when used as airtankers, as the operator also held the Type Certificate.

          Tanker 25 (ex-AU P3) would not be permitted to fly commercially in Canada hauling freight, passengers, retardant etc.

          1. Just saying..its origins in Canada were never anything other than a military aircraft….also the p2v historically made drops in Canada early on also.

    2. Yes CL215’s were offered but procurement process to complicated . Managers would rather pay $50K per hour for 415 when 215 works real well in Alaska

  3. Seems as now Canada is burning and several Provinces are asking for additional air-tankers… The Air-tankers in Alaska should be recalled immediately by their home agencies in order to support them. CIFFC has gone to Level 4. Some thing is a miss!

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