A retired Conair CV580 tanker performs a fly-by and water drop at YLW on Sept. 28, 2022. (KF Aerospace/Submitted)

One final fairwell for retired wildfire tanker at Kelowna airport

Conair CV580 tanker fleet retired earlier this month

After two decades of service for B.C. Wildfire, Conair’s fleet of Convair 580 tankers went out with a bang. Or, a splash.

KF Aerospace, the centre that opened at Kelowna International Airport (YLW) earlier this year that boasts an impressive aircraft collection, hosted a fly-by and water drop with the last of the tankers on Wednesday, Sept. 28 in a last hurrah.

Just before noon, the plane made a low pass over the YLW runway, dropping around 7,600 litres of water.

“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.”

The general public will soon be able to see the aircraft up close and personal at KF, where it will be kept in airworthy condition. In 2000, the centre, then named Kelowna Flightcraft, helped Conair convert ten of the fleet’s planes from commercial into tankers.

“We’re honoured to give T452 a home and take care of it in its retirement.”

KF’s collection also includes a Hawker Tempest MK II, a Mosquito bomber, and a DC-3 among others.

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