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I was on my way home after picking my boys from the school when my older son said - "Dad look, another DC-7 comming!" - I looked up and I was astonished, it was not a DC-7 but yes a C-54 waterbomber ready to land at FAT. I imediately drove to the place were the water bombers park and there it was, a C-54, beautifull maintained and receiving some more water retardant to go back to the fire ( actually there were also two S-2T Trackers and one S-2A Tracker involved too in this task... ). When I parked the car, ahead of me it was a Fresno PD car, so before I took out my camera I talked to the policeman and asked if it was ok to photograph the C-54, he said it was ok and I took some photos. A few minutes latter the C-54 was ready to return to the fire, so it started to fire the engines, Nr. 1, Nr. 2, Nr. 3 and Nr. 4, all of them with a nice cloud of smoke comming out when the engines started, then it was time to taxi to the runway, it had to wait a bit because some traffic was landing ( 2 California Air National Guard F-16C's ) and then it was time to see that beauty taking off, it was fantastic, those piston engines really are special, the plane slowly builted speed and finnally took-off, very,very slowly started to climb until I lost him. It was just fantastic, a 60 years old C-54!!!
Last time I saw one and don't even recall too well was a C-54 in LIS in 1979, so almost 25 years latter I have the chance to see another one!
Here under here's a photo of the same bird I saw today!
Registration - N9015Q
Operator - ARDCO
Photo © Michael Carter