In moving a retired P2V aircraft from the boneyard area at the Greybull, Wyoming airport to the nearby air tanker museum, it got stuck in the soft ground last weekend. Their plans are to let it sit there until either the soil dries out or the ground freezes.
I talked with Bob Hawkins yesterday about the Museum of Flight and Aerial Firefighting which is located at Greybull, Wyoming. It turns out that he is a director of the museum.
He said this P2V-7 at one time belonged to Hawkins and Powers but was auctioned off when the company went out of business. It was given to the museum by Richard Camp who is the head of the “Save a Neptune” organization. This aircraft was never converted into an air tanker, but Bob hopes to get one someday that actually was an air tanker.
(I was thinking that Neptune Aviation or Minden might have something sitting around.)
Some of you may know Bob. He was the “Hawkins” in “Hawkins and Powers” that operated air tankers out of the Greybull Airport. Now he’s flying helicopters for Sky Aviation in Worland, Wyoming.
Above: Tanker 127, a PB4Y-2, at the Museum of Flight and Aerial Firefighting, Greybull, WY. Photo by Bill Gabbert.
The classic air tankers parked next to the rest stop on highway 20/14/16 just west of Greybull, Wyoming look incongruous sitting in the weeds. Most people drive on by the Museum of Flight and Aerial Firefighting, but Zach Bowman didn’t — he wrote about the retired Hawkins & Powers aircraft for Yahoo News. Here are some excerpts from his article:
We see them from the road, a scattering of old birds, their fuselages bright under the Wyoming sun. Their liveries are simple. Just a few splashes of blood orange on cowl and wing tip, the rest left to bare and brilliant aluminum. We don’t know what they are, or why they’re so close to the road, nosed up to a rest area like big, gleaming cows at a trough. Brandon comes over the CB:
“Do you want to go back and check it out?”
The answer should be, “No.” We’ve strung a week’s worth of long days together, pushing hard for the west coast, and spent most of the morning tending to necessaries in Ten Sleep. We’re barely an hour down the road, and we’ve got plenty more ground to cover before the day’s over.
“Absolutely,” is what I say.
Standing there among what’s left, most of it privately owned and on loan to the museum, it’s hard not to feel a pang. For a second, these planes were still in the air. Not parked and rotting. Not cut up for scrap. Working, as they were built to do. Not destroying the world beneath their wide wings, but preserving it. Not taking men’s lives, but buying them precious seconds. Enough to evacuate a home or dig a fire line. Enough to matter.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Steve.
We thought the Greybull Museum of Flight and Aerial Firefighting had been open for almost a year, but apparently it’s going to be official in June. When I was there in May of 2014 you could not walk around the aircraft, you could only view them from the rest area through a fence, but in response to an article we wrote about it then, Allen Beckhoff said:
Work is in progress to provide pathways and an entrance from the rest area to the aircraft for close up viewing.
The museum is adjacent to the rest stop on highway 20/14/16 just west of Greybull, Wyoming, next to the airport. They now have their own Facebook page.
Anyone planning on attending the grand opening?
When we wrote about the classic air tankers at the highway rest stop on highway 20/14/16 just west of Greybull, Wyoming a couple of months ago the museum was still located at the nearby airport. When we visited today it had moved into a trailer at the rest stop.
it was busy there. They had some very cool shirts, but were sold out of all sizes except for small. More are on the way, they said.