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
For financial firms, the cloud is going to increasingly become a crucial part of dealing with customers over the next five years and beyond, particularly with the growing use and acceptance of virtual currencies. There are new data storage paradigms on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive financial data around the world without touching terrestrial networks. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Cliff Beek, President of Cloud Constellation Corporation, w...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, 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. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs ofte...
Existing Big Data solutions are mainly focused on the discovery and analysis of data. The solutions are scalable and highly available but tedious when swapping in and swapping out occurs in disarray and thrashing takes place. The resolution for thrashing through machine learning algorithms and support nomenclature is through simple techniques. Organizations that have been collecting large customer data are increasingly seeing the need to use the data for swapping in and out and thrashing occurs ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outscale, a global pure play Infrastructure as a Service provider and strategic partner of Dassault Systèmes, 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. Founded in 2010, Outscale simplifies infrastructure complexities and boosts the business agility of its customers. Outscale delivers a secure, reliable and industrial strength solution for its customers, which in...
Cloud applications are seeing a deluge of requests to support the exploding advanced analytics market. “Open analytics” is the emerging strategy to deliver that data through an open data access layer, in the cloud, to be directly consumed by external analytics tools and popular programming languages. An increasing number of data engineers and data scientists use a variety of platforms and advanced analytics languages such as SAS, R, Python and Java, as well as frameworks such as Hadoop and Spark...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DivvyCloud 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. DivvyCloud software enables organizations to achieve their cloud computing goals by simplifying and automating security, compliance and cost optimization of public and private cloud infrastructure. Using DivvyCloud, customers can leverage programmatic Bots to identify and remediate common cloud problems in rea...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assis...
Interested in leveling up on your Cloud Foundry skills? Join IBM for Cloud Foundry Days on June 7 at Cloud Expo New York at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Foundry Days is a free half day educational conference and networking event. Come find out why Cloud Foundry is the industry's fastest-growing and most adopted cloud application platform.
While some vendors scramble to create and sell you a fancy solution for monitoring your spanking new Amazon Lambdas, hear how you can do it on the cheap using just built-in Java APIs yourself. By exploiting a little-known fact that Lambdas aren’t exactly single threaded, you can effectively identify hot spots in your serverless code. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, David Martin, Principal Product Owner at CA Technologies, will give a live demonstration and code walkthrough, showing how to ov...
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.
Most DevOps journeys involve several phases of maturity. Research shows that the inflection point where organizations begin to see maximum value is when they implement tight integration deploying their code to their infrastructure. Success at this level is the last barrier to at-will deployment. Storage, for instance, is more capable than where we read and write data. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Atwell, a Developer Advocate for NetApp, will discuss the role and value...
In order to meet the rapidly changing demands of today’s customers, companies are continually forced to redefine their business strategies in order to meet these needs, stay relevant and continue to see profitable growth. IoT deployment and development is integral in this transformation, and today businesses are increasingly seeing the value of investing their resources into IoT deployments. These technologies are able increase ROI through projects such as connecting supply chains or enabling sm...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, 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. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...