It had been almost a month since I had last been to our hangar to check on things. I’ve been flying too much at work lately and the short periods I have been at home have been taken up by time zone recovery.
When I drove onto the airport I noticed that the local fire-fighting tanker base was open for business again this year. It probably has been for a month or so. We saw the Neptune making some runs to the south of us today. The weather has been fairly unsettled this week. Every afternoon huge storms have been building along the mountain ridge between Reno and the Lake Tahoe/Truckee area and also down south near Minden/Gardnerville. I would not be surprised if lightning from those storms set off a fire or two. The small aircraft in front of the tanker base are AT-802 Air Tractors. They are used for the smaller fires, while the Lockheed SP-2H Neptune is used for the larger ones.
Added July 16th:
I visited with a couple of friends at the airport and then dropped some things off in my hangar. On the way out I found that the row of jets normally parked at the east end of the ramp was now located at the end of my hangar row. Their normal parking area is now used as the ramp area for the Air Tractors.
The first jet in the row, with the 56 on the nose, is officially a Polish SB-LIM2 which is a Mig-15UTI (NATO name "Midget"). It was the Warsaw Pact’s advanced jet trainer. Except for Poland, the Pact’s primary jet trainer was either the Czech L-29 (Delfin) or L-39 (Albatross). The last three jets in the line are L-29s. The second jet in the line is a Polish LIM-5 also known as a Mig-17. this one is a single-place model. Other than the obvious distinction that one of these is a 2-place and one is single-place, how do you tell them apart? If you look at the large version of the photos and note the flow fences on the top of the wings, you will see that the Mig 15 has two fences while the Mig-17 has three. That seems to be the easiest distinction to me.
Reno-Stead airport is never short on interesting aircraft to look at and photograph – even on a ‘normal’ day.