I never thought I’d find landscape void of trees something attractive. It turns out, in the right place, it works. Sure, a forest fire ravaged landscape is not exactly beautiful and inviting. But, the barren scenery of the high plains, with brightly coloured dirt, mountains and subtle pastel growth on the ground is quite pleasing to the eye. Or, maybe it’s just the lack of people that makes it so attractive!
Lack of people is exactly what we experienced, rolling into Greybull, Wyoming this past summer. We were coming in from Cody, Wyoming on Highway 14 when my aircraft loving eyes spotted the airplanes, like a magnet spots a hunk of metal.
Located at a Wyoming Department of Transportation rest stop just before you get into the sprawling metropolis of Greybull, the Museum of Flight and Aerial Fire Fighting looks to be an awesome place to visit. However, the rest stop was closed and the gate to the museum was chained and locked. However, there was still a somewhat satisfying view of the aircraft on display and the boneyard in the distance.
Below are some images of the airplanes on display with the much more intriguing (to some of us) boneyard behind.
Greybull Museum of Flight Image Gallery
Museum of Flight and Aerial Fire Fighting
Officially located at 2534 Hiller Lane in Greybull, Wyoming, the Museum of Flight and Aerial Fire Fighting is located on the grounds of the South Big Horn County Airport. The museum is connected to the WYDOT rest area on Highway 14.
According the the museum’s official website (listed in the resources section below), they should be open from 9am to 5pm everyday but Sunday from mid May to mid October. However, in July, 2016, both the museum and rest area seemed to be mothballed. However, you could still see what was on display through the chain link fence.
The museum was founded in 1987 and incorporated in 1992. The two aircraft shown in the images above are a PB4Y-2 Privateer Tanker 126 and a C119 Flying Boxcar Tanker 136. Both are on loan fro the United States Forest Service.
Hawkins and Power Aviation is behind the display. The company is based at the airport and was responsible for firefighting operations until 2002. That year, two of their aircraft crashed, resulting in five deaths. Following these incidents, the company did not continue fire fighting activities. Hawkins and Power also repaired Air Force aircraft under a civilian contract.
The two aircraft that went down were a C-130 Hercules and PB4Y-2 Privateer. The C-130, registered N130HP, crashed near Walker, California. The airplane experienced structural failure with both wings folding upwards and separating form the body. Three on board perished.
The Privateer, registered N7620C, crashed near Estes Park, Colorado. The left wing separated from the aircraft and also folded upwards. The crew of two perished.
Greybull is a town of less than 2,000 residents, located in Big Horn County, Wyoming. It remains a base for air tankers in a forest fire fighting role.
Going west on Highway 14 from Greybull will take you to historic Cody, Wyoming. Beyond that is Yellowstone National Park. Going east on 14 will take you through Bighorn National Forest before meeting up with Interstate 90.
We left Greybull on Highway 20 going south. We then took Highway 16 east through the bottom of Bighorn National Forest, over Powder River Pass before ending up in Buffalo, Wyoming. Buffalo is the home of the historic Occidental Hotel.