CANADA 2019 - Red Deer
Visit to Air Spray and Buffalo Airways


Photos © Ruud Leeuw

Not the first time I travelled these parts of Canada, British Colombia and Alberta, but pleasant memories of 2006 and 2007
made me return to Red Deer.
Due to the amount of airframes photographed during this 18-day trip I split my report in 3 webpages.
It was again a mix of planes and other interests, but quite a bit did not work out. All in all I am satisfied with the number of bushplanes and propliners I came across and people I met. The weather was a handicap most days, by far more rainy days than sunny days or even dry spells. Sep.30th at Red Deer was a pretty fine day, though cold and with snow on the planes outside.
The 4.000 kms roadtrip ended with a flight out of Vancouver on Oct. 12th.
I hope you'll enjoy my report, in spite of my lack of access to the hangars of Air Spray and the 2nd hangar of Buffalo A/W.

To bottom page


Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
At some point it looked like Air Spray was converting to jets to (BAe 146s), but this seems no longer the case.
Glad to see so many propliners here still, Air Spray has a considerable fleet of Lockheed L.188s.
Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take photos in the hangar, only those parked outside. I did see Tanker 490, the
one that made a belly landing here at Red Deer on 22Jun19 (YouTube), in the hangar with the tank repaired.

Tanker 489 is C-FVFH.
C/n 1006 is (a.o.) ex/Air California N125AC and ex/ PK-RLF Mandala Airlines; ferried via Chitose,Japan in 1995
to Canada. C/n 1006 was manufatured in 1958, reg'd as N5501V for General Motors, opb Allison Division, engines
testbed. Then it became N1R, flying the Los Angeles Dodgers! Other operators followed (N1432, N90700, N1006T).

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
During my visit there was still snow on the aircraft, the area had some very early snow in good quantities two days earlier.

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
Lockheed L.188A C-GZVM/485 (c/n 1036). Delivered new to Eastern AL in February 1959 as N5524. Converted to
belly tank equipped airtanker by Air Spray by 2008. Air Spray calls their Electra airtanker conversion the 'Long Liner',
as proudly shown on the forward fuselage. Notes from my files: N351Q Renown Aviation, since aug95; operating flights
for UN (late-1990s?). W/o Zaire 08Feb99. Photo in Propliner magazine 82/00 on 30nov99 in excellent state (@Roswell Industrial Air Center,NM). Renown ceased operations Oct.2000. Rr C-GZVM Aug02. R26Mar03 Air Spray (1967) Ltd.
My notes say the tank was already installed by/in 2003. Ln 13May05 Red Deer T85, being worked on.
In 2007 I was allowed to take photos in the hangar: there was C-GZVM still in the hangar!

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
Tankers 481 and 484 were ready to be deployed to the blazing fires in Brazil, the deal had been made but Air Spray
wanted to see some money first: never happened. That's when politics come in the way of good work and business.

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)

Air Spray is proud to have been protecting our forests and communities from wildfires for over 60 years.
Air Spray contracts with government fire protection agencies to provide critical air tanker and air attack aircraft to aid in the control of wildfires affecting communities and surrounding forests.
Their aircraft fleet ranges from either wheel based or amphibious Air Tractor AT802 single engine Airtankers (SEATs) to heavy Airtankers such as the Lockheed L188 Electra and the BAE 146 jet aircraft. Yes, the 146 is included in their fleet if you read their website:

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
Tanker 484 is C-GHZI, L.188 c/n 2007.
From my files: ex/ N1968R of Reeve Aleutian Airways. Reeve ceased ops 06dec2000. Bt Air Spray Dec.2000
and was converted to water bomber. Rr C-GHZI 12Jun01. By 22Jun03 still stored at Red Deer in Reeve c/s.
Converted to tanker @Chico,CA, ferried 12May04 to Calgary while still in Reeve Aleutian c/s. Reported
on 06Jun16 @Red Deer, in hangar, full air spray colourscheme and coded 484.

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
Tanker 489 and 485 once more

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
Online (Facebook) I read recently that both of the A-26 Invaders used in the movie 'Always' were owned by
Denny Lynch of Lynch Air Tankers Billings, Montana. I think Tanker 1 (C-FPGF) is up for restoration, Air Spray
intends to use it as a company show piece.

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
I was shown the simulator, for procedural training and it looked quite impressive.
Much used when preparations start for a new fire fighting season!
I was also shown a large briefing room and shown on the 'board schematics' what caused the belly landing of T490,
a freak technical malfunction is all I that became clear to me because I have no technical background!

Thanks to Andrew Robertson for his time and hospitality! thank you!



Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
From Air Spray we go to Buffalo Airways

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
Lockheed L.188AF, C-GLBA (c/n 1145) of Buffalo Airways. No engines: probably kept for spares.
Ex/LN-FOH of Fred Olsen Line, bought by Amerer Air in 1998 and reg'd OE-ILA. Last service VIE-LNZ 25May06.
Reported at Coventry,UK on 31Aug06, arvd as 'Buffalo 1131',on its way to Y'knife. Left 02Sep06. Seen Yellowknife
19Jun06, reportedly still in full Amerer Air livery. Reg'd 03Jul07 to Buffalo Aws. Ln 13Sep12 at Yellowknife
undergoing maintenance in Buffalo's hangar. Reported 06Jun16 @Red Deer, without engines.
Dirk Septer braced the wintry cold of Canada's high North in Nov.2008 and C-GLBA was among the planes he saw.

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
Lockheed PV-1 Ventura, CF-FAV (c/n 237-5324). Ex/ BuNo.33315, RCAF 2195.
In the past preserved Alberta Aviation Museum, Edmonton City Centre AP but seems to have made its way down south.

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
Tanker 285 is Canadair CL-215-1A10 C-FYWP, seen here still in the colourscheme of Newfoundland and Labrador.
C/n 1002 was registered on 28Aug2018 to Buffalo Airways Ltd.

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
Tanker 284 is Canadair CL-215-1A10 C-FTXA (c/n 1006), also reg'd to Buffalo Airways Ltd on 28Aug2018.

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
Lockheed L.188AF Tanker 417, C-FBAQ (c/n 1039). 'In memory of Arnie Schreder'.
Wore through its career a number of identities: VH-RMA N356Q N355WS N356Q N356CE(?) N356Q OE-ILB
Damaged in landing incident at Y'knife 05Mar12, rh main landinggear did not go down, but repaired and returned to service.
Dirk Septer shared photos of (a.o.) C-FBAQ at Hay River in 2017: Dirk Septer's vintage propliners in Canada
C-FBAQ is also displayed on Photos by Friends & Guests #9 and my Red Deer 2007 visit which has more history details.

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
Covered in snow: L.188PF C-FIJX (c/n 2010), Buffalo's Tanker 416.
Previously: (ZK-BMQ) ZK-TEB N33508 CF-NAX N63AJ N178RV C-GNWC G-LOFI N2RK

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
'In memory of Mr Forbes', he was Buffalo's accountant for many years.

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
C-FBAQ, Tanker 417 and C-GIZU (L.188CF c/n 2014).
Arnold Begeman shared a May 2020 photo by him and remarked 'C-GIZU outside again at last'.
See my Photos by Friends & Guests #60. It seems where C-FBAQ is parked, in May 2020 C-GXFC took its place.

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
Buffalo has two hangars here at Red Deer, this one brought me 3 L.188 Electras. The other hangar I saw no one about.
Strange, it seemed so much different from my 2006 visit to Red Deer!

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
Beech B95 C-GWCB / 140 (c/n TD 369), a Buffalo 'lead plane' or 'bird dog'. Reg cancelled 18Oct2018.



Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
It pays to look behind buildings here..

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
This is (probably) the rear fuselage of Douglas DC-6BF (converted to Swingtail!) N867TA (c/n 45202/880),
which crashed in Alaska in 2001 while operated by Northern Air Cargo ('NAC690'). No casualties.
Ln 18Apr04 at Fairbanks,AK - aft fuselage section only and tailnumber visible. Sighting repeated in 2008.
Northen Air Cargo ceased DC-6 operations 30Sep08. Working with Photoshop I have to admit the tailnumber
reads more like N327TR? No.5 and 6 digits are unmistakenbly a '7' and 'T' but the 3rd digit is not a '6'..?
Do the previous indentities, N557 (and OH-KDA), play a role here? EMAIL
Unidentified rear fuselage at Red Deer
Looking at the DC-6 fleetlist of Northern Air Cargo for a tailnumber with that ...7T. Only N867TA seems a candidate.
Fred Barnes wrote me in Sep.2020 in support of this theory, he included photos: Photos by Friends & Guests #61.

There's more here among the weeds..

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
A Beech 18 with '557' on the nose. Identity? EMAIL
I think it was the Twin Beech I came across in 2007, stored inside the hangar among a lot of 'debris'.
My 2007 report has 'There are clues indicating it is c/n CA-226 which operated with the RCAF, with serial 1503."
But I have also quoted those who doubted this identification!

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
Top: Beech 18 557
Bottom Left: "Early Ce.310 and I’d guess formerly owned by Airspray judging by the colours." (Nigel Hitchman)

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
What's this? EMAIL
Jörg Wilkening from Germany responded to this quest: "I'm sure that tail is from Electra cn 1148, last reg N287F,
last operator Lynden Air Cargo (note the green stripe!). She rested at Abbotsford from 1998 to 2012, then scrapped. Several pieces (including the tail) went to Air Spray at Red Deer!"
Check 2009 photo at Abbotsford, it certainly does fit the bill!

Kenneth Swartz shared this photo of stored & derelict N287F at Abbotsford:
L.188 N287F derelict at Abborsford, by Ken Swartz

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
We'll have a look at Buffalo's 2nd hangar. I did not see an entrance or meet someone here to let me in.
To what (type of) aircraft may have that undercarriage belonged to? EMAIL

Erik Sleutelberg wrote me 18Sep20: "..that is all Electra (relating to the photo above -RL).
It took me a while to figure it out, but they are 6 Electra nacelles, with or without landing gear. I count 3 with gear, so assume parts of 2 aircraft given these numbers.
On Google Earth you can also see 6 pieces plus the tailcone, landing gear(bay) and mid wing sections.
The question is of course from which aircraft (singular or plural) these parts, including the tail cone, come from..
I also ended up with N287F as one candidate.
The only thing that made me doubt a bit is that they must have cleaned the tail, but that the dirt is off at the same time as the colors of the logo can indicate a bucket of paint stripper. The black spots on what was the top of the hull do match the Abbotsford photos.
Even better: I think you can see N287F on Google Earth at Abbotsford until it disappears between 2009 and 2011, probably because they are building a hangar there. In the first photos of Red Deer from after 2009, being 2013, you can see the pieces there!"

Erik Sleutelberg in that area April 2015 on


Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
C-FFAY: heading to Basler soon?

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
Douglas C-47 C-FFAY c/n 4785; reg'd 17Sep2018 N865QB for Basler Turbo Conversions.
Its history has been detailed on my Red Deer 2006.

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
This C-47A C-FBAE (c/n 12591) has been stored here since the 1990s.
Ex/ C-FDTH of Transport Canada-Aircraft Svcs Directorate, Ottawa. Probably played a part in saving 'DTD!

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
Pity I could not get into that hangar, C-FDTD must be inside..? Its history has been detailed on my Red Deer 2006.

Red Deer - Air Spray & Buffalo Aws (2019)
Canadair CL215 1A10, C-GNCS (c/n 1008) of Buffalo Airways. Reg'd since 11May2011.
From my files: Ex/ N215NC North Carolina Forest Service. The state of North Carolina put its only
CL215 on eBay in May 2011. Manufactured 1969. It was bought for $446,000 by Buffalo Aws, NCFS had not
used Tanker 215 since the 2008 fire season; were cut from the budget and N215NC was stored. Operating costs
for NCFS were US$1.2 million a year and in 2008 the FAA required add'l $1.5 mil in modification costs and thus
NCFS decided to sell. R10May11 as C-GNCS to Buffalo A/w. Ln 29May16 @Yellowknife (YZF), inside hangar.




Back to Top