Welcome!

News Feed Item

Aerial Firefighters In Multi-Step Preparedness Process For Early Fire Season

2014 Fire Season Preparedness

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Aerial firefighting companies have focused on an earlier than normal fire season in the western United States  as the region continues to cope with dry conditions.  But that does not mean they are taking short cuts in a multi-step annual preparedness process, which includes scheduled aircraft maintenance.

          For example, Columbia Helicopters of Portland, Oregon, operates a Model 234 Chinook and three Vertol 107-II twin rotor helicopters which typically go on contract with the US Forest Service (USFS) in May and July, respectively. "The helicopters are now going through their normal winter maintenance, which is preventative, in order to assure they are mechanically prepared," said Dan Sweet, the company's public relations manager.  "But, depending on the severity of the fire season, we could make those helicopters available earlier than scheduled, if the USFS needs them."

          The winter maintenance protocol, as Sweet described, includes an extensive visual or x-ray check all of the helicopter's sheet metal structures to detect any signs of cracks or corrosion, along with a check of all flight-related components.  The helicopters cannot go on contract, however, until the USFS certifies the aircraft, the pilots, mechanics and fuel service vehicles are ready for fire season.  The certification, known as "carding," is done annually.

          Sweet pointed out the carding process focuses on flight airworthiness, and specific operator and aircraft information, by serial number, including empty and maximum gross weight; as well as authorized uses such as water drops, fire crew transportation, and rappelling.  "The aircraft can be inspected at any time during the fire season to ensure airworthiness and contract compliance," he noted, adding the USFS assigns a compliance inspection manager to each aircraft, who remains with it throughout the fire season.

          "The manager does an inspection which covers the physical condition of the helicopter, that required equipment is installed and operable, and the required fuel service vehicles are safe and operational—prior to accepting the aircraft and crew," Sweet explained.  "Since the same manager generally stays with the aircraft throughout the season, he or she is always aware of the aircrafts status."

          Toward late winter, the company's pilots will commence their annual recurrent firefighting and bucket training, which includes multiple practice runs filling and emptying the helicopters' external Bambi buckets, used for water drops.  As with the aircraft, pilots must be carded yearly by the USFS.

          "Pilots must be certified by the FAA to operate their specific aircraft type," said Sweet.  "In addition, all pilots must undergo a check ride by a USFS check airman every three years."

          Mechanics are also carded yearly, he added.  The certification process includes verification of a current FAA-issued airframe & powerplant license, experience with the aircraft on contract; the mechanic's education and training records, field (away from shop) experience, and total years of experience.

          Missoula Montana based airtanker operator, Neptune Aviation, is also into its annual winter preparedness program.  As Dan Snyder, the company's Chief Operating Officer explained, of the six legacy propeller-driven P2Vs that Neptune will make available this year for firefighting, four have been through major maintenance, and two are in the process of being completed.  At the same time, the company continues to phase in its converted BAe 146 jets, which now total five.

          "Two of the six P2Vs are currently operating out of Lancaster, California under a pre-season activation of their USFS firefighting contracts—due to the dry conditions throughout the Western US," said Snyder.

          Now in a phase-out mode over the next few years, the P2Vs require an annual heavy inspection requiring over 2,000 hours of labor, per aircraft, carried out at the company's hangars in Missoula and Alamogordo, New Mexico.  The inspection, Snyder explained, encompasses a check of all systems for integrity, a significant structural examination, component repair or replacement, as well as a minor, general readiness check.

          The BAe 146 heavy checks, which are done at Missoula, also consume about 2,000 hours, and are similar in scope and detail to the P2Vs.  The difference is that the inspection protocol is based on a forecast of the aircraft's utilization over the coming calendar year, and focuses on structural items and components likely to need replacement or repair during that period.  The BAe 146 tanking system has been totally revamped and received interim FAA and Interagency Airtanker Board approval.

          Snyder added that all of the P2V flight crews go through an annual training scenario, which includes classroom, flight training device (FTD) and aircraft training time.

          "The FTD, which is located at Simcheck International, in Rancho Cordova, California, is a generic fixed based flight training device," he explained.  "Our P2V pilots go through about four to six hours of training there.  They also have two weeks of classroom instruction, which includes ground school and system training which covers USFS requirements, as well as six hours in the aircraft."

          Neptune's BAe 146 pilots also go through recurrent training consisting of one week of ground school, in Missoula or at the company's Alamogordo, New Mexico base, and  six hours of full-motion simulator time at either the Oxford Training Academy in Oxford, UK, or Ansett Aviation in Melbourne, Australia; plus six hours of airplane time.

          As with other operators, the P2Vs and the BAe 146 aircraft and crews go through an annual USFS carding event.

          "Most Americans have no idea of the level of maintenance and training that's behind the high level of readiness of the private aerial firefighting industry to protect our wild lands, and the growing population of the urban-wildland interface," said Tom Eversole, Executive Director of the American Helicopter Services And Aerial Firefighting Association.  "The industry is determined to maintain the highest standards of safety and preparedness, even as fire seasons get longer and more severe."

          Columbia Helicopters and Neptune Aviation are members of AHSAFA, the Washington-based trade association representing the aerial firefighting industry.

Media Contact: Tom Eversole, American Helicopter Services & Aerial Firefighting Association, 703040904355, [email protected]

News distributed by PR Newswire iReach: https://ireach.prnewswire.com

SOURCE American Helicopter Services & Aerial Firefighting Association

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Now has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
Updating DevOps to the latest production data slows down your development cycle. Probably it is due to slow, inefficient conventional storage and associated copy data management practices. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, in Product and Solution at Tintri, will talk about DevOps and cloud-focused storage to update hundreds of child VMs (different flavors) with updates from a master VM in minutes, saving hours or even days in each development cycle. He will also...
Extreme Computing is the ability to leverage highly performant infrastructure and software to accelerate Big Data, machine learning, HPC, and Enterprise applications. High IOPS Storage, low-latency networks, in-memory databases, GPUs and other parallel accelerators are being used to achieve faster results and help businesses make better decisions. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at NVIDIA, focused on some of the unique ways extreme computing is...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that WineSOFT will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Based in Seoul and Irvine, WineSOFT is an innovative software house focusing on internet infrastructure solutions. The venture started as a bootstrap start-up in 2010 by focusing on making the internet faster and more powerful. WineSOFT’s knowledge is based on the expertise of TCP/IP, VPN, SSL, peer-to-peer, mob...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, discussed the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports.
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dataloop.IO, an innovator in cloud IT-monitoring whose products help organizations save time and money, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Dataloop.IO is an emerging software company on the cutting edge of major IT-infrastructure trends including cloud computing and microservices. The company, founded in the UK but now based in San Fran...
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it m...
The financial services market is one of the most data-driven industries in the world, yet it’s bogged down by legacy CPU technologies that simply can’t keep up with the task of querying and visualizing billions of records. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Jared Parker, Director of Financial Services at Kinetica, will discuss how the advent of advanced in-database analytics on the GPU makes it possible to run sophisticated data science workloads on the same database that is housing the rich inf...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).