YouTube – S-2 Tracker
2 x 1,515 hp ea.
43 ft. 6 in.
72 ft. 7 in.
S-2 Tracker aircraft, produced by Grumman, served the United States Navy with honor conducting anti submarine warfare from 1954 through 1975. Now they serve with the California Dept. of Forestry (C.D.F.) in their new role.
The S-2 Tracker began being evaluated by the California Dept. of Forestry in 1970 for duty as a water bomber. At the time it was still deployed with the U.S. Navy.
A total of four aircraft were evaluated by the C.D.F. They were found to meet or exceed all expectations. Two prototype air tankers were placed in service in 1973.
The C.D.F. entered into contracts with four California companies in 1974 to convert 12 more S-2 Tracker aircraft into water bombers. These aircraft entered service in that same year, with an additional five aircraft entering service in 1975.
Through the years the C.D.F. has purchased 55 S-2 Trackers and 60 replacement engines from the Navy under three agreements.
In 1987 the C.D.F. contracted with Marsh Aviation, Mesa, AZ to produce an S-2 Tracker water bomber for evaluation. By 1996, after a thorough evaluation, the C.D.F. ordered an additional 26 E and G series aircraft. The E and G series aircraft are larger and carry 400 gals. more retardant than the older S-2’s.
Throughout 2002 a total of 13 S-2 Tracker aircraft were deployed. In 2004 and 2005 a total of ten additional aircraft were added to the fleet. These have replaced the original water bombers.
RC S-2 Tracker
Pictured above is the RC S-2 Tracker by master builder Carl Bachhuber. It has a wingspan of 165 in. Carl powers it with a pair of G-62 engines. It features retractable landing gear, scale operational flaps, slotted spoilers, plus a working tail skid. Carl removed the folding wings when he found the operating mechanism needed a great deal of maintenance. A benefit of the removal is that his RC airplane now weighs about 62 oz. less.
S-2 Tracker Aircraft (see comments)