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Fallen Brothers» Colorado Tanker Crash

Line of Duty Death      Our condolences to the Stollak and Schwartz families, the U.S. Forest Service of Colorado, and Hawkins & Powers Aviation. Pilot Milt Stollak, 56, and Co-Pilot Rick Schwartz, 39, both veteran firefighting aviators died Thursday July 18, 2002. Their PB4Y-2 air tanker broke apart in midair and crashed in flames while dropping fire retardant on a 1,200 acre wildfire near Estes Park 45 miles northeast of Denver, Colorado.

     Both crew members were killed in the crash. Tanker 123, a PB4Y-2, is a post-World War II Navy patrol bomber that has been reconfigured to dump fire retardant. The plane had flown slurry missions throughout the afternoon. Milt and Rick were performing aerial firefighting for the Wyoming based company Hawkins & Powers Aviation under contract with the U.S. Forest Service. Hawkins & Powers, with 40 years of firefighting experience, evolved from Avery Aviation, a company that specialized in aerial firefighting and agricultural spraying. The company also had a C-130 air tanker crash under similar circumstances in California several weeks ago.

     Stollak, a North Hollywood native with 30 years flying experience, including movie and television stunts in the 1970's, had planned to retire in a month. He leaves behind his wife Shannon Brumley-Stollak. Schwartz, an Ulm, Montana native leaves behind his wife Liz who is pregnant with their first child.

         
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