Fighting Fires From The Air
Regular maintenance is taking place on all PV2 aircrafts after Neptune Aviation Services temporarily moved all flight, pilot and maintenance crews to Alamogordo-White Sands Regional Airport from their home base in Missoula, Montana in anticipation of a training schedule that is expected to last up to a couple of weeks. The U.S. Forest Service regularly teams up with aerial firefighting company Neptune Aviation to fight forest and wildfires on a national level.
Dany Synder, Chief Operating Officer of Neptune stated that their plans to move operation down to Alamogordo in February for two weeks has to do with the warm weather being much more amenable for their fleet of aircraft. With Missoula being a whole lot colder, the weather is not very inclusive and present challenges to the flight crews. PV2 aircraft's require a lot more preheating or warming up before taking off on a flight and being in warmer weather will reduce the amount of time Neptune has to preheat for. And although there is military air traffic down here the airspace is not as congested like it is up in Missoula, Montana surprisingly enough. Synder attributes the decision to train in between Alamogordo and Roswell airport due to the availability of mountainous and flat terrain which will allow Neptune to do their drop training.
Utilizing water instead of retardant while conducting drop training is economical and more cost-effective given that there aren’t’ any fires during the training. Water helps Neptune evaluate the drops during training because drops are typically done with slurry or retardant. Having brought down seven PV2 aircraft's and seven more 146’s in residing in Missoula, there are about 15 full-time employees that live in Alamogordo. Due to being a national resource, Neptune is dispatched to fight fires anywhere as seen fit by the Forest Service with the BLM or BIA being able to request for resources to fight fires as well.
Neptune is set up nationwide to fight fires anywhere at the drop of a dime.