We have visited California Firefighting Hub: San Bernardino Airtanker Base

We have visited the Airtanker Firefighting Hub in California.

Located on the former grounds of Norton Air Force Base, closed under the BRAC (Base Realignment And Closure) proceedings in the early 1990s, San Bernardino International Airport, to the east of Los Angeles, is nowadays the home to the U.S. Forest Service Tanker.

The Airtanker base is the backbone of aviation firefighting in Southern California as it provides support for fixed and rotary wing aircraft during the fire season each year.

Airtanker 16

Airtanker 5

Airtanker 22

During the still burning Silverado Wildfire, Shorealone Films photographer Matt Hartman was able to photograph the amazing aerial firefighting aircraft used to fight the flames, during their early morning ground operations before deploying to the fire.

Airtanker 33

Two DC-10s, (Tanker 911 and Tanker 912) a BAE 146-200, a C-130Q, two Lockheed P-2 Neptunes and a Rockwell Turbo Commander 690 “AirBoss” command and control aircraft were there ready to be dispatched from Airtanker base.

Airtanker 12

Airtanker 28

All images: Matt Hartman


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.