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Tanker 10 to be displayed at Missoula International Airport

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Missoula International Airport is recruiting a new guard to greet visitors at the entrance. A historic Neptune Aviation Tanker 10 will be standing watch on a static display, just east of the main terminal roadway. 

“Having a P2V airtanker greet visitors as they arrive at the airport is a fitting tribute to the history of Missoula’s role in aerial firefighting, " Cris Jensen, Missoula International Airport’s director said. 

For over 50 years, Missoula has been home to P2V airtankers - firs with Johnson Flying Service and more recently with Neptune Aviation according to Jensen.

Barring any weather related delays, Tanker 10 should be in place on June 20.

“Moving Tanker 10 from the Neptune hangars to its new permanent location will be a little bit of a logistical challenge,” Jensen said. “We don’t want to disrupt airport operations and there is a fence or two in the way. But we have a plan in place to make things easy to move Tanker 10.”

This tanker has been refurbished by Neptune over the last year prepping the aircraft for its new mission by removing reusable avionics, giving it a new paint job, and adding special solar powered nighttime running lights.

As part of Neptune Aviation’s P2V fleet, Tanker 10 flew hundreds of firefighting missions all over the United States.

“Neptune is pleased to partner with MSO and have Tanker 10 welcome visitors to the airport,” said Ron Hooper, Neptune Aviation CEO. “As we celebrate the end of the P2V’s mission as an aerial firefighting aircraft, having Tanker 10 displayed in Missoula is an honor.”

This year marks the last year that P2V aircraft will fly for the US Forest Service. Neptune Aviation is transitioning from the older P2V to newer British Aerospace BAe-146 jets. “Neptune currently has 6 P2V’s in service. At the end of the 2017 fire season, we will keep 2 aircraft operational for airshows.

The remaining aircraft will go to museums around the country,” Hooper said. 

Info provided by Missoula International Airport

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