Originally US Navy 151391, this Orion was retired from the military in 1986 and stored at MASDC. Bought by Aero Union Corp and converted to an fire fighting air tanker, first registered N180AU and later N900AU. In July 2011, the US Forest Service cancelled Aero Union's contract due to safety concerns. That contract was 95% of the company's income and resulted in it closing it's door shortly after. This P-3 as well as others have been stored at various airports since the end of 2011.
Built for Capital Airlines, but not taken up, this Electra would be leased to the US Navy for monitoring in the Pacific Missile Range during 1960 - 61. To Pacific Southwest Airlines in January 1962 for some actual passengers 1962 - 1968, the aircraft later went through several leases. The longest was with the National Center for Atmospheric Research from 1973 - 2003. Acquired by Air Spray for their tanker fleet, the aircraft is pictured at the company's Chico, CA US base.
US Navy 151361 was retired to MASDC Jul 11, 1984. Sold to to Aero Union Corp as N183AU, later N925AU, which was converted to an air tanker that entered service in 1990. Aero Union shut down in 2011 after the US Forest Service cancelled their contract in July. United Aeronautical Corp eventually bought five of Aero Union's Orions, including this one and moved them to back to Chico to put them up for sale.