The Convair 580—part of the CV-240 family of aircraft introduced in 1948—still flies today as part of a wide range of operations, including as a firefighting tanker. In La Ronge, SK, Canada, the 580 is used to protect the Saskatchewan area from wildfires, with an underbelly 7950 liter RADS 2 retardant tank conversion and dropping systems that provide uniform coverage.

Regular servicing the aircraft is essential to have it on constant standby for deployment during the critical summer months, and the Wildfire Management Branch in La Ronge carry this out. According to Director of Aviation Operations, Denis Renaud, one challenge was for safe access to the aircraft’s horizontal stabilizer. The team responsible for servicing these aircraft also wanted a system that didn’t take up a lot of room and that their own people could be trained to set-up and take down by themselves.

The maintenance crew had been using standard ladders, which were proven to be unstable and not compliant to regulations stipulated by CCOHS. Local portable height access provider, SafeSmart Aviation (a division of popular Canadian company, SafeSmart Access, distributed by fellow Canadian company Saskarc) were identified to solve the issue. SafeSmart’s designers utilized their Proscaf system to create a customized access solution, with sturdy scaffolding that fit the under the horizontal stabilizer perfectly, all within CCOHS regulations. Technicians are now able to reach essential parts of the tail and get tasks done more efficiently.

So satisfied was Denis Renaud with the result, he provided SafeSmart with a testimonial: “In March 2017 we needed a supplier to provide an elevated work platform allowing our aircraft maintenance engineers to work on the tail section of a Convair 580, safely and more efficiently. I am pleased to say that we got product we expected, and Tom met our tight timelines, provided the training we required and addressed any concern that arose, such as the type of stairs we ordered ending up being too long, taking up valuable floor space – SafeSmart and their distributor Saskarc agreed to replace it, at no cost. We have had no issues with the product or service provided. I would definitely call Tom again.”