Second Neptune BAe 146 air tanker enters service

Neptune BAe 146 Tanker 41

Neptune’s 146 Tanker 41 at Missoula (J.G. Handelman)

Despite a contract dispute, Neptune Aviation Services placed its second BAe 146 air tanker into service on August 31. 146-200 N471NA/Tanker 41 (msn E2136) was to have entered service in early August, under a new contract with the US Forest Service (USFS), but this was delayed by a protest from two losing bidders. Instead, the 146 is entering service under Neptune’s existing contract, which covers the use of “additional equipment” on a temporary basis. The USFS thus authorized use of Tanker 41 from 1 September to 9 November – and potentially for longer, if the fire season is extended. Tanker 41 will join N146FF/Tanker 40 (msn E2049). Tanker 40 has already helped fight fires in Idaho, Oregon, and Wyoming this year, and was most recently active near Helena, Montana. “After nearly a year of operating the BAe 146 tanker, we can report that the airplane has performed as well as, if not better, than expected,” said Neptune President Dan Snyder. “It has fit very well into the existing tanker ground support and fire traffic control infrastructure, although there are some differences with ground support equipment compared to the P2Vs.”

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