I met N193Z this past July, when it flew a water drop demonstration in the Grand Marais, MN harbor. The Forest Service owns and operates 3 piston Beavers, and though I'm familiar with all of them, I've not spent any time with the pilots, so this visit was enjoyable and educational. N193Z was built in 1957 and holds serial number 1162, so it's a young Beaver. It's condition inside and out is spectacular, not all that surprising for a government ride. After spending some time with the pilot, it was clear that he takes pride in not only his career, but in the airplanes that he works with. He does a large amount of the maintenance himself, in addition to quite a bit of modifications. This Beav has a 125 gallon tank that can be filled on the step, and though the amount of water it carries isn't a lot, it's still a very effective tool in fire management. I've been on a couple fires where these Beavers have come in to give us a hand, and a deHavilland water drop is an incredible thing to see. And especially to hear!
My plan is to visit the Forest Service Seaplane Base at Shagawa Lake in Ely, MN this coming week, where with any luck, I will find these identical airplanes at rest. Due to the current dry conditions and small fires in the area, they might be off being superheros, but surely at least one will be taking the day off.