Natrona County, Casper, WY, USA (KCPR) - January 2012

Air Spray L-188 Electra on Delivery from Honduras - Part 2
A truck and trailer was sent down from Canada to Casper after the holidays to fix the issues with the regulator and sort out any other problems that may have arisen while being left out in the cold and wind at Casper.

A ferry flight permit was obtained on 9 January 2012 and a flight crew was flown to Casper via Denver on the 10th for a planned flight the following day.

Again I drove back north, this time through blowing snow that had my interstate speed down to 20 miles per hour in some places.

After the aircraft was checked over thoroughly it was time to get the old girl free of the ice and snow that had accumulated over the last few weeks. If you are not familiar with Wyoming, it is a very windy state, and on this occasion the snow on the ground was whipped up into small thin peaks in some places.

I had all sorts of issues with batteries in the cameras, some lasting for only five to ten exposures before being rendered dead. It was only minus 11 degrees Celsius but the wind must have made it much, much colder. I have never experienced these kinds of issues with batteries before, even in Alaska in minus 25 Celsius temperatures. I blew through all seven batteries with just enough juice to shoot the departure, after keeping a couple in my pockets to keep them warm, only putting them back in the cameras to shoot. When I arrived home later every single battery showed a full charge!

L-188 High Power Run

So on 11 January a successful wheels-down flight was performed to Lethbridge, Canada, where a delay in customs processing forced the final leg to Red Deer to wait until the following day where she arrived in her new home on 12 January.

So what does the future hold for this particular aircraft? The engines will certainly be kept as they are becoming harder to source, and the airframe will be inspected and assessed to decide whether she will be ripe for a tanker conversion at a later date.

Air Spray already operates seven L-188s in the firefighting air-tanker role and already has another two airframes that can be converted. A further airframe is being converted at this time.

With Air Spray, and Buffalo next door, both now sourcing and operating the L-188 Electra, it seems that the worldwide fleet is slowly migrating north where it is hoped they will have a long future.

Air Spray think that the L-188 is an excellent aircraft for tanker work. Kirk Carleton, Director of Maintenance, explains that it has excellent characteristics. "Maintaining a speed during a drop is key, and with those big props, a downhill run can be done without gaining speed. The Allison engines running at 100% give a quick response to power, and with over 90% of the wing surface washed by the propellers, you're making lift as soon as you power up."

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