As pilot Robert S Grant explains, a grumpy captain and a challenging working environment defined his 1968 stint flying in Canadian ‘Canso’ water bombers

Tanker Four was the only Flying Fireman Canso that Robert S Grant crewed as a lowly co-pilot. At Prince George, British Columbia, he and a hostile captain logged a mere 50 hours during the 1968 forest fire season

The squeal of opening doors marked my introduction to the behind-the-scenes world of aerial fire suppression. On the floodlit floor, a Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina sat sullenly as mechanics swarmed the 1,200hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92-powered water bomber Canadians call the Canso. Registered CF-FFW (c/n 1960), the mammoth airborne fire truck belonged to Flying Fireman in Victoria, British Columbia. Formed in 1965, the company had condescended to hire me as a co-pilot. The summer looked promising for a ‘low-timer’ in 1968.

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