Photos © Ruud Leeuw

Red Deer Revisited -24Sep07-


While on our way to visit friends in nearby Lacombe, Alberta I took the opportunity to quickly revisit Red Deer airport (which is actually closer to Penhold than Red Deer). As expected I found most of Air Spray's aircraft at home, with the firefighting season now over and the aircraft getting their 'tender loving care' in the hangars or awaiting their turn.
Red Deer is also a maintenance base for Buffalo Airways and there is always something going on there too. So I came away with a considerable amount of photos which I would like to share on this page .

C-FTUW Tanker 208 is a Bombardier CL.215-1A10, registration C-FTUU (c/n 1011). It was registered to Air Spray (1967) Ltd on 01Apr99.

The Canadian Canadair CL-215 ("Scooper") was the first model in a series of firefighting aircraft built by Canadair and later Bombardier. The CL-215 is a twin-engine, wing-over amphibious aircraft designed with the requirements that it operate well at low speed and in gust-loading circumstances, as are found over forest fires. It is also able to land and take off from short, unpaved airstrips.
More on Wikipedia
C-FTUU Tanker 209 is C-FTUW (c/n 1030). This CL215-1A10 was also registered to Air Spray (1967) Ltd on 01Apr99.

These aerial firefighters were found at the season's end and they will be inspected and prepared for a new fire-fighting season in 2008.
The CL-215 is known by several nicknames depending on where they are used. In France they are known as the 'Canadairs'. In western Canada they are known as 'Ducks'. Most other operators prefer to go by 'Scoopers'. The turboprop versions, CL-215T and 415 are known as 'Super Scoopers' because of their increased performance.
The aircraft can skim lakes, rivers, reservoirs, or open water to fill its tanks. The water can be mixed with additives for direct attack of wildfires and structure protection. The aircraft has a 1,400 US gal (or 12,000 lb.) fluid capacity, and can refill its tank in ten seconds at 75-80 knots...
With water sources close to fires, CL-215s have delivered 75-125 loads of water in a single day in support fire fighting efforts.
Source: Wikipedia
Tanker 208 and 209
We cast our eyes further down the line..

Stored Lockheed L.188 Electra's

Neatly parked; on Death Row? In the foreground is C-FVFI, former PK-RLD of Mandala Airlines. Tanker 83 is C-GYVI. Both their histories, as well as more photos, can be seen on my page dedicated to a visit in the SUMMER of 2006.
In the back sits C-GZYH, ex/ HR-AMM.

John Olafson sent me images in June 2009 illustrating C-FVFI and C-FLXT have swapped tails, HERE...

Alas, FLXT was only used as spare parts supply! Seen on 06Jun16 @Red Deer, stored outside with most parts gone on this external link:


C-GYVI Tanker 83 is C-GYVI, a Lockheed L.188CF (c/n 1112).
This aircraft began its long career with Northwest Orient A/L upon its delivery on 15Dec59 as N129US. After a considerable tour of duty, it was registered on 20Jan70 to Int'l Skyways Inc and on 22Apr70 registered N777DP.
It was bought by Pignatari SA on 04Oct71 and became PT-DZK, signifying a Brazilean career. This must have ended on 24Feb76 when it was registered to Omni Aircraft Sales with tailnumber N8LG.
Next in line was Aero Associates Inc who purchased this Lockheed Electra on 06Dec76. The Cathedral of Tomorrow leased it on that date, now what were they up to..? The Rex Humbard Foundation became the new name, on 04Aug77.
During sep81 National Leasing bought N8LG, followed by TPI Int'l Airways in April 1985.
It was converted to L.188C(F) during 1985.
TPI Int'l Airways reregistered it as N360Q on 18Jul85. Air Bridge Carriers leased it in 1989 and they had it registered as N360WS on 12Nov89.
World Airline Gambia sub-leased it in 1990 and it was returned to TPI Int'l on 17Jan91.
Internationale Nederlandse Bank (Int'l bank of the Netherlands) repossessed it 08Apr92... but on that same date it was registered to MCA Aviation Corporation and also on that same date it was assigned to JBQ Aviation Corporation..
Air Bridge Carriers leased it again from 01Jun92, returning it to JBQ Aviation during Aug92.
It became N360Q again in Dec92 for JBQ Aviation and Channel Express Air Services leased it Sep-Nov93. Next was Air Atlantique leasing it Nov93-Jun94.
Hunting Cargo Airlines leased it from 06Sep94 until Feb96. Charrack Air leased it from 22Apr96 until Jan97. Next was Renown Aviation (09Feb97) and Channel Air Express sub-leased it (09Feb07), returning to Renown Aviation (23dec98), sub-leasing it again by Channel Air Express (10Mar99), definitely returning it to Renown Aviation at some unspecified date. It was reported stored during Oct.2000.
Air Spray bought it during Jan.2003.
[Source: Turbo Prop Airliner production List, by J.Roach & A.B.Eastwood -TAHS 2005-]

My own files show tailnumber VH-CDK reserved for Charrak Air but no reports of it actually been applied during its stay in Australia.
Renown Aviation ceased operations during Oct.2000
The aircraft was used in a (2003) movie called "Basic", starring John Travolta. It was reported at Herlong Field,FL 02Apr03 "..still showing colours applied for the movie".

C-GZYH c/n 1124 began its career as N6133A for American Airlines, having been delivered on 24Feb60 and been named "Flagship Baltimore".
VARIG became the new owner and operator on 15Mar68, registering as PP-VJW. It was stored in Jan92 at Sao Paulo.
Interlink bought it in Oct93 and assigned the tailnumber HR-AMM. In Dec95 it was passed on to Commercial Link Trade, but it was found stored at Lanseria,S.Africa during Feb96.
It was 'saved' by the Jesus Alive Ministries who bought it on 01May98. But what they've done with it I don't know.
During Aug.2002 it was bought by Air Spray, flown to Red Deer where it continues to be parked without further use.

C-GXXN 300?
C-GXJP Airspray
C-FGWE Airspray 302
C-FEHK Airspray 307
C-FNVD Ce.185 Skywagon

Neatly placed in a row, awaiting sale... The airspray website stated during Jan.2008 it had 7 A/B-26's for sale. But the series below show 8: Tankers 1, 13, 14, 20, 26, 32, 'Fire Eaters' & Tanker 56.
Tanker 98 wasn't there anymore...
Ron Lapp sent me images in April 2008 of 'GWLT's rebirth as a Canadian warbird !!

Histories and more photos of these venerable warbirds can be read on my page dedicated to a visit in the SUMMER of 2006. One can see T98 still present then.

Concerning Tanker 32, this is an update I read on Facebook in Dec.2016:
"Registration C-GHLX was cancelled 27Aug2008 and registration N381EC reserved on 19May09, taken up 19Jun09. Now with Champagne Aviation Museum, Urbana, Ohio."

C-FPGF Tanker 1
C-FZTC Tanker 13
C-FZTC Tanker 13
C-FZTC Tanker 13
C-GTOX Tanker 14
C-FKBM Tanker 20
C-GPTW Tanker 26
C-GPTW Tanker 26
C-GHLX Tanker 32
C-GHLX Tanker 32
C-GHZM "Fire Eaters"
C-FOVC Tanker 56

XB-SIJ c/n 29298

A distant wreck took me further afield ...
From Joe Baugher's website I obtained the following information:
Batch 44-35997/36047 Douglas A-26C-55-DT Invader c/n 29276/29326: most were cancelled before completion. Those that were completed were scrapped before delivery.
44-35999 (c/n 29278) entered civil registry as N5052, N52NM, XB-SIJ, then to Air Spray (1967) Ltd of Red Deer,ALB, Canada as C-GQPZ.
It had been a parts source, but was also damaged in the 16Oct2000 hangar fire. The serial number for this plane must be wrong, since this batch did not exist. I have Air Spray 67 being 44-38598.

This Invader was flown in 'executive conversion'; not much left of that..!

Elsewhere I found the following previous identities:
A-26C 44-35999, N5052N, N52NM, XB-SIJ, C-GQPZ.
And a link to 2 photos:
Steve Darke saw it at San Antonio,TX way back in 1979. See photo at

UPDATE: sent by Jan de Wit (Sept.2011) in Dutch, translated by me (webmaster) and source quoted at
"Lockheed Air Services developed the LAS-26 at the same time as L.B. Smith. This version was issued with a newly developed fuselage; it was longer and wider, and allowed 6 - 9 passengers.
Just as with the LB Smith version, the mainspar was replaced by a system of rings made of steel; since this division, LAS, was part of the Lockheed concern, the cockpit and fuselage of the L-1049G Super Constellation was used. Of the LAS-26 only one was built, and certified in mid-1960s."

XB-SIJ c/n 29298
XB-SIJ c/n 29298


Now we will have a look at some disgarded parts and remains, collected on a spot nearby XB-SIJ.
This is Douglas B-26C C-FEZX c/n 18807, once flown as Tanker 3 by Air Spray. It crashed in June 2003: "The Lost Invader".
Variant of "moss grows fat on a roman stone.."
A brief history on The Lost Invader, c/n 18807:
Ex/ USAAF 43-22660 was registered to D & O Equipment Company of Charlotte,NC in 1963 and registered as N3711G.
John M. Sliker of Wadley,GA had it registered to his name in 1966. Next was Kem Air Inc of Worland,WY (1969-1970).
From 1972 to 1986 Air Spray Ltd of Edmonton,Alb. became the owner and put tailnumber CF-EZX on it, flew as Tanker 3. The registry was revised to Air Spray Ltd for the period 1989-2002, with tailnumber changing to C-FEZX.
It was written off after a crash landing at Grand Prairie,ALB on 29June2000, the pilot was OK.

The crash was described in Air Classics (Nov. 2000) by William T. Larkins:
"Airspray's Douglas A-26 Invader C-FEZX Tanker 3 was extensively damaged during June in a forced landing near the Grande Prairie Airport in Canada. The aircraft had been participating in fire bombing around the Grande Prairie area for Alberta Environment. As the pilot made his approach to Runway 25, he advised Grande Prairie Flight Services that he was having problems with one of the R2800s. He realized he wasn't going to make the runway and prepared for a crash landing. The Invader came down in a field near the airport, bounced back into the air again, and then hit the ground and slid about 400 feet before colliding with a road bank which spun the aircraft around and tore off the left engine. The pilot suffered minor injuries but the aircraft may be a write-off."


C-GHCC is Tanker 31, c/n 29172.
This Invader was delivered to the USAAF as 44-35893 and its military career was over when it was stored at Davis Monthan AFB, AZ during Nov56.
it was sold (to?) as surplus on 11June58. Rock Island Oil & Refining Company of Wichita,KS became the new owner in 1966 and was registered as N4812E.
A planned conversion to Monarch 26 was not completed. Instead it ended up in open storage, unconverted, at Hutchinson,KS.
Next was Consolidated Aero Export Corp. of Los Angeles, CA (1969-1972).
Conair Aviation Ltd. of Abbotsford,BC purchased it and was the owner during May 1974-1982. Registering it as C-GHCC, it was flown as tanker 31.
Over the period 1982 - 2000 Air Spray became the new owner, flying it as Tanker 31, nicknaming it "No Sweat".
Since the big hangar fire on 16Oct2000 this burned tail section sits in the compound at Red Deer.

Photos on and also a classic one at Air-Britain's AbPic

C-GHCC Tanker 31

more parts. And a classic car.

I was shocked to see C-FCUI (c/n 28803) in this condition... Last year it was a whole airplane!
Tanker 12
Parts of Tanker 12 are all over the place...

FCUI was acquired by the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in 2007, assumed for static display, so it was carefully dismantled. It was loaded onto flatbed trailers for conveyance by road to Wetaskiwin in late 2007. Probably now present in the Reynolds Collection Storage facility, and hopefully awaiting display as a tanker at some future date.
C-FCUI Tanker 12
C-FCUI Tanker 12

This Invader was delivered to the USAAF with serial 44-35524 and its aviation history shows Donaire Inc of Phoenix,AZ as the owner during 1966-1969, with tailnumber N9401Z.
Thomas W. Hammon (again of Phoenix) bought it in 1972. But that same year it was also registered as CF-CUI, but unknown for whom or what purpose.
Air Spray became owner on 22Jun79 and registered it as C-FCUI, flown as Tanker 12.

A report from May 2011 sightings included 5 Invaders still stored at Red Deer for Air Spray:
C-FKBM (minus one prop), C-GHZM (parts missing), C-FOVC, C-FPGF and C-FZTC (all three reported as complete).

Jack Spink wrote me an update in March 2012, having found the remains in storage with the Reynolds Museum; see Photos by Friends & Guests (32).


L.188A c/n 1060 was delivered to Eastern Air Lines on 02Jun59. During Jun69 it was bought by SAHSA and registered HR-SAV (named " Lempira" ). TAN Airlines leased it mar-Apr76.
It was converted to L.188A(F) during 1977 At some point it was leased by ANSHA and registered HR-ANE.
Its next identity became HR-TNT, when TAN Airlines bought it during 1984. but upon merger it came under ownership of SAHSA again (01Nov91). SAHSA reregistered it as HR-SHN during Jan92.
It was reported stored at Tegucigalpa, Honduras in Nov95.
Conair Aviation acquired it in Nov96 and registered it as C-FZCS, while Air Spray became the latest owner on 14Mar2000.
John Olafson sent me images of this airtanker in a new livery, in June 2010; see Photos by Friends & Guests page 26.
C-FZCS Tanker 87
C-FZCS c/n 1060 Tanker 87

L.188C c/n 1130 was destined for Capital Airlines as N181H but this never happened. Instead it was leased to the US Navy from July 1960 until 26Jan61, when it was returned to Lockheed.
It became N175PS for Pacific Southwest Airlines on 31Jan62.
N595KR was the tailnumber assigned by Gelco Leasing Company on 29Feb68 because King Resources Company leased it from that date. but then Ford Motor Credit Company repossessed it on 05may72.
Omni Aircraft Sales became the new owner a few days later, on 15May72.
National Center for Atmospheric Research leased it from 18May73 and purchased it on 01Dec75, reregistering it to N308D for the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. This was revised to National Science Foundation on 13jan76, but continued to operate on a lease by the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
N308D was put in storage at Davis-Monthan AFB,AZ in 2001, arriving in Western's Yard on 10Aug01.
It was registered on 05Dec03 to Neptune Aviation Services Inc. of Missoula,MT. It was sighted there on 25feb04 but as one can see on the photos, the conversion to air tanker has not yet taken place.
On 14Dec06 it was registered C-FLXT for Air Spray.
On 19Jun08 John Olafson photographed it inside the hangar while under refurbishment to airtanker, click HERE (scroll to bottom page)
C-FLXT c/n 1130
C-FLXT c/n 1130

Air Spray has been a faithful user of the Douglas A-26 Invader, a WW2 vintage Warbird, but in recent
years changed to the relative younger Lockheed L.188 Electra (a.k.a. Super Electra).
In the hangar I found C-GYVI in the back and PK-RLD in front, the latter relinquishing parts for 'Victor India'.
But things must have changed as in 2019 C-GYVI was stored out in the field, with much of its parts missing.
On my Photos by Friends & Guests #9 I have images taken in 2007 showing it stored, missing plenty of parts.

On Facebook in Dec.2019 I came across helpful details regarding PK-RLD and N308D:
"Q: I saw this interesting Electra in Red Deer last September. Former Mandala Airlines PK-RLD with the tail of National Science Foundation N308D. Does anybody know what happened to the fuselage of N308D?"
(Like here:
A: "N308D (c/n 1130) is now flying as C-FLXT, with Air Spray, as a water bomber. They swapped tails with this bird to give her back the stock tail. The tail that was originally fitted to N308D is actually a full P-3 tail, as it contained the necessary structure for the MAD boom that was used to support the ELDORA. N308D was probably in way better shape to be converted to an Air Tanker possibly lower airframe hours, being a research aircraft, instead of an airline workhorse."
In this 2009 image, N308D (C-FLXT) undergoes conversion to an air tanker. Note the drop tank in the foreground and the blue tail already fitted to her.
So C-FLXT (ex/ N308D) has the tail from PK-RLD, while the latter has the P-3 tail from N308D.
On a burocratic note, PK-RLD (c/n 1082) is actually registered as C-FVFI with Air Spray, and is listed as WFU.

Lockheed L.188s present today:
  • C-FVFI - former PK-RLD of Mandala Airlines. Stored away on the airfield.
  • C-GYVI - Tanker 83. Stored away on the airfield.
  • C-GZYH - ex/ HR-AMM. Stored away in the airfield.
  • C-FZCS - Tanker 87. Parked outside, in front of the hangar.
  • C-FLXT - parked outside, in front of the hangar. Still in 'National Science Foundation' c/s & markings
  • C-FLJO - Tanker 82. Inside the hangar ('hangar 2')
  • C-GZVM - Tanker 85. Inside the hangar ('hangar 2')
  • C-FVFH - Tanker 89. Inside the hangar ('hangar 1').
  • C-GZCF - Tanker 90. Green tail, under maintenance in the hangar '2'; ex/ G-CEXS Channel Express.
  • So missing from this list seems to be C-GHZI Tanker 84; when I said my good bye's I was told I had found all aircraft at home except 1, so that could be correct.


    C-GOFR Tanker 268
    Three Canadair CL.215's adorn the Air Spray fleetlist:
  • C-GOFR Tanker 268, seen here inside 'hangar 1'
  • C-FTUU (c/n 1011) Tanker 208. Parked elswhere at the airport.
  • C-FTUW (c/n 1030) Tanker 209. Parked elswhere at the airport.
  • These amphibians are powered by Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CA3 radial engines.

    Go where the action takes you: C-GOFR c/n 1104, reg'd 16apr09 to Buffalo Airways, passed through Goose Bay to Reykjavik on 27apr09, and arrived at Dubrovnik yesterday on its way to Turkey on a firefighting contract.

    C-GOFR in hangar
    C-GOFR Tanker 268
    Tanker 268 in maintenance
    C-GOFR Tanker 268

    C-FVFH Tanker 89
    C-FVFH Tanker 89
    C-FVFH Tanker 89
    C-FVFH Tanker 89

    C/n 1006 was manufactured in 1958 and was operated by General Motors (N5501V) as demonstrator and engine test bed; it was sold to the Los Angeles Dodgers (N1R, 22Nov61, PHOTO on, traded with American Airlines (N1432, 17Dec70), sold to Intermountain Aviation (28Jan72, rereg'd N90700 01Mar72) of CIA fame if I am not mistaken, reregistered for Intermountain N1006T on 07Apr72, sold to Johnson Int'l (01Mar75), which merged into Evergreen Int'l (31Oct75) and subsequently sold to Air California in Mar77 (rereg'd N125AC 14Apr77; seen stored in 1979).
    It was bought by Mandala Airlines of Indonesia (1980's?) and registered PK-RLF. During 1995 it was ferried to Red Deer,Alberta for Air Spray who converted it to an airtanker and registered it C-FVFH (first on 19Jun95 but again on 08Nov00, probably after its tanker conversion).

    In Feb.2010, Patrick "Pat" Ford (TSgt USAF, retired) wrote me the following:
    "In an effort to try and trace the history of the LA Dodger's L.188 Lockheed Electra, I stumbled across your 'Red Deer Revisited' webpage. And lo and behold, there it was!!
    This plane is of interest to me because my Dad, the late Vern Ford, flew it as Allison's chief test pilot!
    I got to go onboard after it had been renovated for the Dodgers, and before Dad flew it to Florida, to present it to the team."

    C-FVFH on

    LEFT: C-FMZK is a Stinson 108-3 (c/n 108-4522). The manufacturer was Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, so it is indeed a classic aircraft in its own right.
    It was registered only days after I came to photograph it, on 27Sep07, to David From of Penhold,ALB !
    RIGHT: C-GPXK is a home-built bushplane... It is a Murphy SR3500 Moose, with c/n 156SR. The Manufacturer listed on the Transport Canada website lists J. ROSS ROBINSON while the owner (registered on 30Mar06) is J.Robinson of Winnipeg,MAN !!
    One can read more about the Moose here:
    The Murphy SR3500 Moose also has a few images on That is how I found out I had come across one earlier, N747AK in Anchorage,Alaska (2006) !

    The L.188 on the right shows Channel Express titles through the paint: former G-CEXS.
    It is now C-GZCF Tanker 90 and it is also shown elsewhere on this page (below), with the green tail.

    Tanker 90 seems to be the last one in non-standard colourscheme, the green tail reminding of its days with Channel Express. It was operational in the fire fighting role during 2007, but no doubt it will receive the Air Spray colourscheme too at some point.

    Here is some history on that aircraft-
    L.188C c/n 1091 was delivered as N171PS to Pacific Southwest Airlines on 06Nov59. On 16Jan61 it was acquired by Friedkin Aeronautics, but leased by Pacific Southwest Airlines, purchasing it again on 20feb63.
    Harry A. Trueblood bought it on 29Aug68. Its tailnumber changed to N971HA when Holiday Airlines took on a lease, commencing 16Oct68, actually buying it on 07Nov69.
    Petroleum Investment Services became the new owner on 10Nov74 but Holiday Airlines continued operating it. But then Petroleum Investment Services repossessed it on 05feb75.
    Former owner Pacific Southwest Airlines bought it on 26Aug75, reregistering it again as N171PS on 15Sep75.
    Aircraft Sales Company bought it in Feb79. Evergreen Int' l Airlines decided to buy it (01mar79) and put tailnumber N5539 on it and converted it to L.188C(F).
    Summit Airlines leased it in March until September in 1984.
    Channel Express Air Services acquired it on 10Oct90 and had it registered G-CEXS on 14Apr92.
    Air Spray bought it on 06May03 and had registration C-GZCF assigned to it on 15May03.
    C-FLJO Tanker 82
    C-FLJO Tanker 82
    Tanker 90
    C-GZCF T90
    C-FLJO Tanker 82
    C-FLJO c/n 1103
    C-FLJO was still under conversion earlier that year as photos by John Olafson bear witness to: 21Jun07

    This L.188C has c/n 1103 and had its first flight was in 1959. It was meant for Hughes Tool Company (N9725C) but this did not happen. Lockheed delivered it to the FAA as N111 on 10Feb61 and it was reregistered N97 on 11Oct72.
    Its cushy civil service continued as N429NA for National Aeronautics & Space (Aug79).
    In Dec95 it seemed over and done with: stored at Davis Monthan AFB,AZ in Dec95. It was at some point reported in the Pro-Air yard and in 2002 in the Western Int'l yard (same?).
    My own files include registry to Neptune Aviation Services of Missoula,MT on 23Jan04 and it was reported there on 26Jun04, for tanker conversion. But that conversion never took place there.
    It was registered as C-FLJO for Air Spray (1967) Ltd on 07Nov06 and it was ferried to Red Deer on 17Nov06, where conversion for aerial firefighting took place. No doubt it will be ready for the 2008 season...

    UPDATE on C-GZCF: Arnold Begeman came across C-GZCF again, at Edmonton in May 2010: it had been repainted in 'Airspray Yellow' and the tankercode had changed to '490'. HERE..


    Man at Work !!


    Below we see Tanker 85 and 82 parked snugly together; here is some history on T85 (or 485 officially):
    This Lockheed L.188A (c/n 1036) was delivered to Eastern Air Lines as N5524 on 26Feb59. After an hounourable career it was sold to Aeroservicios de California on 18dec72 and registered as XA-FAM.
    On 01May79 it was bought by Morgan Rourke Aircraft Sales and registered as N83MR. Cardinal Corporation bought it on 12Dec79.
    C-FNWY became its new tailnumber when Northwest Territorial Airways bought it during Jun81.
    From Canada it went to the UK: Air Bridge Carriers bought it on 11Jan91. It was initially stored at East Midlands that same month. G-FNWY became its new identity 03Apr91.
    JBQ Aviation Corporation bought it on 03Dec91, registered it as N3209A and as VH-IOB it was leased to Indian Ocean Airlines, 14Aug92 - 14Dec92 (upon its return it was registered N351Q). During Jan93 it was stored at Roswell,NM but Renown Aviation took it on for a lease Jun96 - Oct.2000 (when Renown folded).
    Air Spray bought it in Aug.2002 and registered it as C-GZVM and designated it Tanker 485.
    C-GZVM on
    Tanker 85 in foreground; C-GZVM
    In my CANADA 2019 you can see C-GZVM/485 on Red Deer's ramp, fully ready (30Sep19)

    I thank Air Spray for their hospitality

    You may want to check out Mikey McBryan's Plane Savers video (Episode 77, 19Mar19) where he walks around Red Deer, he and hi sfather Joe McBryan take the viewers on a grand tour over the airport here.

    The Red Deer 2007 report also includes a visit to Buffalo Airways' facility


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