features Coulson Aviation: Herculean efforts

Over the last few years, Coulson Aviation has taken on the task of converting former military C-130H Hercules aircraft into state-of-the-art airtankers to bolster its operation.
Avatar for Ben Forrest By Ben Forrest | February 29, 2024

Estimated reading time 1 minute, 30 seconds.

On June 14, 2023, as swaths of Canadian forest burned and smouldered in an historically-intense wildfire season, a glimmering ex-Norwegian C-130 Hercules aircraft touched down at Coulson Aviation’s heavy modification facility in Port Alberni, B.C. 

The giant former-military tanker — nicknamed Froy — was fresh out of the paint shop, marked with Coulson’s distinctive white, grey, silver, red, and black livery, replacing the military grey body it sported in its previous life with the Royal Norwegian Air Force. 

Coulson’s Tanker 133 “Froy” in flight. Aaron Burton Photo

Over the next few months, Coulson’s expert mechanics and work crews converted the venerable military cargo plane into one of the world’s most sought-after firefighting aircraft, then sent it out into service. 

It was, in many respects, a remarkable feat of design and engineering; yet for Coulson, it was something close to routine. This was merely the latest in a series of overhauls that have transformed military and commercial airframes into formidable firefighting weapons. At Coulson Aviation, these ambitious signature projects have become commonplace…

Continue reading this feature in the December ’23/January ’24 issue of Skies

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