Conair Group

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Conair Group Inc. of Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, formerly known as Conair Aviation Ltd., is a company specializing in retrofitting firefighting aircraft and maintaining customer and company-owned aircraft. Conair has a fleet of aircraft that are broken down into two categories — air attack, and airtankers.


Air attack[edit]

Conair's air attack aircraft, more commonly known as "Bird Dogs", are aircraft that contain the pilot and Air Attack Officer. The birddogs ensure the runs to be made by the laden airtankers are safe and free of obstructions. The crew inside the birddog determine the run locations and drop types to be made, coordinate the aerial action with the ground crews if present and control the airspace around the fire. The attack aircraft are Piper PA-60 Aerostars, Rockwell Turbo Commanders, and Cessna 208 Caravans. These aircraft are always used in conjunction with the airtankers.

Air tankers[edit]

Conair's tankers include Air Tractor AT-802F, and AT-802F Amphibious "Fireboss" variants, Convair CV580s, Convair CV580As, Convair CV5800s, Conair Firecats (retrofitted S-2 Trackers), Douglas DC-6s, Lockheed L188 Electra, and Canadair CL-215s. Conair's headquarters are in Abbotsford at the Abbotsford International Airport which also is where their maintenance and retrofitting facility is located. Conair bases their aircraft under contract to fire control agencies throughout western Canada and the US. Currently, Conair airtanker groups (a group consists of one birddog and from one to four airtankers) are contracted to agencies in BC, Alberta, Yukon and Alaska. Conair serves as the Canadian dealer for Olney, Texas-based Air Tractor, which produces the AT-802F, one of only three types of aircraft specifically designed for aerial firefighting (the others being the Canadair CL-215 and 415 models).

Conair has announced that they have purchased a jet-powered airliner and will be converting it into a Type 1 3,000-gallon air tanker. The aircraft is an Avro RJ85, which is a variant of a British Aerospace BAe-146. The difference is that the RJ85 has a longer fuselage and more efficient engines. The RJ85 seats up to 112 passengers as an airliner.

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