Neptune Aviation Inc:
May 5, 2017
There is no aerial firefighting company that comes close to the 23+ years of experience that Neptune Aviation has. Located in Missoula, MT, Neptune Aviation has flown over 38,056 hours totaling 99,209,794 miles while dropping over 99,209,794 gallons of liquid retardant, including a few international missions in South America and Canada. That’s the same distance as 18 trips to the moon! Besides the pilots flying, they also have mission support teams that travel by ground to each location, totaling over 3,000,000 miles or 7 trips to the moon!
On their first ever international mission, T-03 made the 2-day, 6000 nautical mile trip and arrived in Santiago, Chile on February 4th. They operated out of Concepcion, Chile then returned to Missoula after completing their contractual obligation on March 4th. “It was a successful mission with every indication for future opportunity and ideal expansion of our operations since Chile’s fire season is opposite the US fire season.” Neptune told me.
Their fleet includes the Neptune P2V bombers and the BAe 146 series 200. The P2V dates back to the Korean War where it was originally designed for anti-submarine warfare. The BAe 146 series 200 is ideally suited for the wildland aerial firefighting mission. The BAe boasts an unbeatable combination of reliable slow flight characteristics and high cruising speed and outstanding maneuverability.
We were contacted by Neptune Aviation a few weeks ago about our Missoula Shop Pet Project. They have the cutest little mouser named Smokey that they wanted to introduce you all to! I set up a time and went out and met Michelle McCue the Executive assistant to the CEO and she showed me around. She introduced me to Randy Hendrickson, Purchasing Agent and longtime Neptune employee. He had been there the longest and knew the whole story as to how Smokey came to live at Neptune.
Randy started at Neptune in April of 1998. They had a mouser named Newt at the time. In 2005 Newt went missing, they later found him in the back of an aircraft. He wasn’t moving, was drooling and very lethargic. They rushed him to the Emergency Vet and found out that he had severe nerve damaged and appeared to have been poisoned. They found a dead hawk near the tarmac that had corn in its stomach; Randy thought that maybe that corn was laced and that Newt was affected by it also. Sadly he didn’t make it much longer.
Almost immediately the rodents were running rampant again, it’s like they all knew the cat was gone. They decided that they needed another mouser, but they wanted to get two this time..the more the merrier right? They adopted Smokey and later on adopted another kitty named Bandit. He was a long haired black and white cat that looked like his predecessor, Newt. Bandit was the only animal that they brought in that actually got along with Smokey, she may be tiny but her sass makes up for her size.
Bandit injured his leg and had to get it amputated, but continued to live a long a fulfilling life helping keep the rodent population at bay. Unfortunately he passed away this past year, so it’s up to Smokey now, but Smokey is more concerned with love and attention than mousing..she’s put in her time, she wants to enjoy her retirement. She rules the roost..she knows it and so does everyone else.
When I met Smokey she was the sweetest little thing, but I could tell from the start that this “interview” was going to be on her terms. She wanted to play and get pets, but could care less for the camera..and you should’ve heard the purr coming from this tiny little thing..it sounded like a Mac Truck!
Aside from firefighting, they also have charters and an aircraft maintenance shop. If you are interested in any of these service or just want to know more about Neptune Aviation visit their website or call 406-542-0606!