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
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of So...
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
24Notion is full-service global creative digital marketing, technology and lifestyle agency that combines strategic ideas with customized tactical execution. With a broad understand of the art of traditional marketing, new media, communications and social influence, 24Notion uniquely understands how to connect your brand strategy with the right consumer. 24Notion ranked #12 on Corporate Social Responsibility - Book of List.
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, will compare the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, e...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, a leading provider of middleware modernization, integration, and management solutions, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware evolution products and services that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
What does it look like when you have access to cloud infrastructure and platform under the same roof? Let’s talk about the different layers of Technology as a Service: who cares, what runs where, and how does it all fit together. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Lead Technology Evangelist at SoftLayer, an IBM company, spoke about the picture being painted by IBM Cloud and how the tools being crafted can help fill the gaps in your IT infrastructure.
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
Digital innovation is the next big wave of business transformation based on digital technologies of which IoT and Big Data are key components, For example: Business boundary innovation is a challenge to excavate third-party business value using IoT and BigData, like Nest Business structure innovation may propose re-building business structure from scratch, as Uber does in the taxicab industry The social model innovation is also a big challenge to the new social architecture with the design fr...
Whether they’re located in a public, private, or hybrid cloud environment, cloud technologies are constantly evolving. While the innovation is exciting, the end mission of delivering business value and rapidly producing incremental product features is paramount. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Kiran Chitturi, CTO Architect at Sungard AS, will discuss DevOps culture, its evolution of frameworks and technologies, and how it is achieving maturity. He will also cover various st...
Adobe is changing the world though digital experiences. Adobe helps customers develop and deliver high-impact experiences that differentiate brands, build loyalty, and drive revenue across every screen, including smartphones, computers, tablets and TVs. Adobe content solutions are used daily by millions of companies worldwide-from publishers and broadcasters, to enterprises, marketing agencies and household-name brands. Building on its established design leadership, Adobe enables customers not o...