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Entries in Neptune open house (1)

Saturday
Oct122013

Hundreds show up to celebrate Neptune Aviation birthday

Dennis Bragg photo(MISSOULA)- Hundreds of people turned out Saturday to help Missoula-based Neptune Aviation celebrate its 20th anniversary, getting a rare behind-the-scenes look at the aerial firefighting company. 

Neptune started in the early 1990s, when a local group of business owners purchased New Mexico-based Black Hills Aviation. That gave the company its first of the venerable P2V air tankers and other gear, which was then moved to Missoula, in addition to keeping the base in Alamogordo.  

It's a relationship that fills both an economic development and business role, but also a safety role, Just like this past summer, Neptune planes frequently coming to the rescue of their neighbors when wildfire hits here in Western Montana. 

"We have over 100 employees that live here in Missoula," notes Chief Operating Officer Dan Snyder. "And of course all their family associated with them. So if you were to put a number to it it's over 300-people that are tied into the Missoula community."

People attending this weekend's open house were treated to tours of the planes, including the company's "next gen" jet-powered airtankers, free food, live music and prizes. They even got to see a few demonstration runs as the planes made water drops over the Missoula runway.