MESA, AZ — An air tanker that crashed in Australia in January while fighting wildfires, killing three Americans, had ties to an Arizona business.
According to records acquired by ABC15 from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the aircraft, a Lockheed C-130Q Hercules, received maintenance and repairs from International Air Response (IAR), in Mesa, Ariz. An invoice from March 19, 2018, shows IAR performed services such as Aircraft Reassemble, stripping and repainting the aircraft and a fuel tank evaluation. The single invoice totaling $235,377.55.
Coulson Aviation also billed for "Daily Use Facility Fee for Hangar at 6250 S Taxiway Circle, Mesa, AZ 85212." IAR has declined to comment whether or not the plane was inside their hangar.
In total, IAR billed Coulson Aviation, the company that owns the C-130 aircraft, for $753,500.30 worth maintenance and other fees by IAR. The earlies invoice from IAR was on June 23m 2017. The last day of services performed on March 20, 2018.
In August of 2018, the aircraft received more repairs to the plane's frame in order to meet FAA Regulations from a company in Mojave, Calif., according to FAA documents.
Also that summer, on June 12, 2018, Coulson Aviation requested a registration number change from N130CG to N134CG.
The aircraft, Tanker 134 (Serial # 382-4904, N-number N134CG), crashed while fighting wildfires in Southeastern Australia on January 22, 2020. Three Americans were killed in the crash, including 42-year-old First Officer Paul Clyde Hudson from Buckeye, Ariz.
Coulson Aviation also declined to comment on the history of the aircraft while the crash is under investigation.
In response to the crash, Coulson Aviation held a memorial service for the pilots who lost their lives.
Coulson Aviation has also set up a Coulson Tanker 134 Memorial Fund on GoFundMe.