Smokejumper aircraft at Missoula

C23B Sherpas

I was able to get some photos of some smokejumper aircraft at Missoula International Airport last week while attending the Fire Continuum conference. Parked, were two Twin Otters and two C23B Sherpas, and a third Sherpa taxied in while I was there.

Previously I had seen a Sherpa flying through the hills north of the airport. The Sherpa that just landed may have been dropping jumpers for training. The U.S. Forest Service has authorization to obtain 15 of the Sherpas from the U.S Army. So far six have been refurbished and Neptune Aviation is working on a seventh with an eighth soon to follow. It is possible that the remaining seven will be used for parts.

C23B Sherpas twin otter
A Sherpa taxis in after landing at Missoula.

C23B Sherpas

C23B Sherpas
Two C23B Sherpas at Missoula, May 25, 2018.
C23B Sherpa twin otter
Twin Otters have served smokejumpers for many years.

4 thoughts on “Smokejumper aircraft at Missoula”

  1. Those Twotters have the larger sighting windows,i wonder what they were used for before?who they were built for?..

    1. In the early 1960’s, we used DC-3 and C-45 aircraft. No seats, no seat belts; we just sat (and slid around) on the aluminum floor. The windows were not as large as these aircraft, but once a smoke was spotted, we’d all pick a window and kneel so we could appraise the fire and pick out a jump spot.

      Things have sure gotten better and safer with the newer turbo-powered aircraft.

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