Buffalo MAP, WY, USA (KBYG) - 27 September 2006

The 4 PV-2 Harpoon aircraft parked at Buffalo, like the Martins at Sheridan, also have a sad history.

Once operated by husband and wife John and Connie Hirth, as Hirth Air Tankers, these aircraft were operated on short term firefighting contracts and aerial spaying.

John was killed in a firefighting accident in 1997 in one of their PV-2's in Pennsylvania.

Connie Hirth put the aircraft up for sale and in 2005 all 4 remaining aircraft were sold, even though they still remain at the airfield.

Connie now works for the Association of Air Tanker Pilots campaigning for better rights and benefits for air tanker crews and their families.

Because the pilots fly for independent contractors, the government refuses to consider them to be eligible for Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB), and because of the nature of their work find it nearly impossible to obtain any kind of life insurance.

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[photo/serial list]