Classic air tankers enhance rest stop in Greybull, Wyoming

A former Royal Canadian Air Force C-119 at the Greybull Rest Area
A former Royal Canadian Air Force C-119 at the Greybull Rest Area

When I drive through Greybull, Wyoming on highway 20/14/16 I sometimes stop at the South Big Horn County Airport to look at the dozens of old aircraft that are the remnants of the glory days of Hawkins and Powers. In 2012 there were still several old war birds on the ramp in front of the former H&P office. When I stopped today I did not see any aircraft on the ramp and the two retired C-119s that had been in the grassy field just west of the office for many years were gone.

Tanker 126 at the Greybull Rest Area
Tanker 126 at the Greybull Rest Area

It turns out that several of them have been moved a few hundred feet to the west at the highway rest stop west of the entrance to the airport (map). The aircraft are separated from the rest stop by a chain link fence, but there is a path developing in the grass along the fence where rest stop visitors walk to inspect and take pictures of the classic air tankers.

These photos were taken at the rest area through the chain link fence.

Greybull Rest Area, Tanker 127
Greybull Rest Area, Tanker 127, a PB4Y-2.
Greybull Rest Area, Tanker 136
Greybull Rest Area, Tanker 136, a C-119J

There are two C-119s. One is a J-model, Tanker 136, with the jet engine bolted onto the top, and the other still has Canadian Royal Air Force written on the side. It may never have been converted to an air tanker and does not have the jet engine. There are also two PB4Y-2 air tankers parked just outside the fence, Tankers 126 and 127.

There are still a couple of dozen old military surplus aircraft in the field northwest of the airport runways.
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Photographic essay of air tankers, by Joe Cupido

Aero Union's P3A Tanker 22
Aero Union’s P3A Tanker 22 getting reloaded at Hemet Ryan Air Attack Base while another P3A is headed towards the fire.

We are honored to present a photographic essay of air tankers by professional photographer Joe Cupido. He tells us below about his career in photography.

I grew up in a military family and acquired the love of aviation early on. When I was in high school I started photographing aircraft. Then later while in the military I became a Combat Photographer / Photojournalist and continued photographing aircraft professionally. I specialized in Air to Air photography working with the military and for some of the major aircraft companies. I was lucky enough to finish my career with about 5,500 hours in over 100 different airframes, 7 books and over 2,000 magazines articles on aviation subjects.

I’ve always enjoyed chasing fire-fighting aircraft whenever I had the time. The images below were captured over time and with a lot of cooperation from a lot of good people in the Air Tanker business. Without their help I could not have captured the images that I did and I thank all of you. Hope you enjoy!

Thanks Joe!

Hawkins & Powers Tanker 121
Hawkins & Powers Tanker 121, a PB4Y2, an ex-US Navy World War II patrol bomber.
McDonnell-Douglas DC 10
McDonnell-Douglas DC 10s, Tankers 911 and 910, operated by10 Tanker Air Carrier
Butler Aviation's Douglas DC7's
One of Butler Aviation’s Douglas DC7s, Tanker 66 during engine start. Nothing better than four smoky Pratt & Whitney radial engines.

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