Retired air tanker performs final water drop over YLW

Air tanker's last drop

A retired Conair CV580 tanker has arrived at its new home at KF Aerospace.

The plane which called Penticton home for most summers over the last 20 years, did one final fly-by at Kelowna International Airport on Wednesday and performed a ceremonial water drop just before noon.

Conair’s fleet of Convair 580 tankers retired earlier this month after more than 20 years of service from the BC Wildfire Service.

The plane (T452) will now make its new home in the state-of-the-art aviation exhibition at the KF Centre for Excellence, which opened this summer at YLW.

“This aircraft has played such a vital role in protecting our province from devastating wildfires,” said KF Centre for Excellence executive director, Paula Quinn.

“KF also shares a special connection with the aircraft, having assisted with the tanker conversions, making this a natural fit for our collection. We’re honoured to give T452 a home and take care of it in its retirement.”

Quinn says the aircraft will be a welcome addition to the centre’s aircraft collection and it will be commemorated and kept in airworthy condition.

KF Aerospace formed a joint venture with Conair in 2000, when they were still Kelowna Flightcraft and converted 10 commercial CV580’s into tankers. KF performed the weight reduction modification for Conair, and the tanks were fitted by Aero Union or Conair. Each tanker could carry 2,100 US gallons or 7,950 litres of retardant.

Anyone who is interested can view the aircraft at the KF Centre for Excellence in the coming weeks once a display date has been finalized. The museum also features a Hawker Tempest MK II, a Mosquito bomber, and DC-3, among others. The Centre is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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