Click here to close now.




















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 the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
The Internet of Things is in the early stages of mainstream deployment but it promises to unlock value and rapidly transform how organizations manage, operationalize, and monetize their assets. IoT is a complex structure of hardware, sensors, applications, analytics and devices that need to be able to communicate geographically and across all functions. Once the data is collected from numerous endpoints, the challenge then becomes converting it into actionable insight.
Contrary to mainstream media attention, the multiple possibilities of how consumer IoT will transform our everyday lives aren’t the only angle of this headline-gaining trend. There’s a huge opportunity for “industrial IoT” and “Smart Cities” to impact the world in the same capacity – especially during critical situations. For example, a community water dam that needs to release water can leverage embedded critical communications logic to alert the appropriate individuals, on the right device, as...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lee Williams, a producer of the first smartphones and tablets, will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater. He will explain how M2M controllers work through wirelessly connected remote controls; and specifically delve into a retrofit option that reverse-engineers control codes of existing conventional controller systems so the...
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, will discuss how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the ...
ElasticBox, the agile application delivery manager, announced freely available public boxes for the DevOps community. ElasticBox works with enterprises to help them deploy any application to any cloud. Public boxes are curated reference boxes that represent some of the most popular applications and tools for orchestrating deployments at scale. Boxes are an adaptive way to represent reusable infrastructure as components of code. Boxes contain scripts, variables, and metadata to automate proces...
To assist customers with legacy Windows Server 2003 that is no longer supported by Microsoft, Racemi has introduced fixed price packages for upgrading and migrating Windows Server 2003 servers to either Windows 2008 R2 or Windows 2012 R2 and the choice of Amazon Web Services (AWS) or SoftLayer cloud. "We're extending a lifeline by upgrading the legacy servers to more modern Windows Server platforms while taking advantage of cloud computing," said James Strayer, vice president of product managem...
To support developers and operations professionals in their push to implement DevOps principles for their infrastructure environments, ProfitBricks, a provider of cloud infrastructure, is adding support for DevOps tools Ansible and Chef. Ansible is a platform for configuring and managing data center infrastructure that combines multi-node software deployment, ad hoc task execution, and configuration management, and is used by DevOps professionals as they use its playbooks functionality to autom...
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, discussed why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices rathe...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Puppet Labs has announced the next major update to its flagship product: Puppet Enterprise 2015.2. This release includes new features providing DevOps teams with clarity, simplicity and additional management capabilities, including an all-new user interface, an interactive graph for visualizing infrastructure code, a new unified agent and broader infrastructure support.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advance...
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and e...
SYS-CON Events announced today that G2G3 will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Based on a collective appreciation for user experience, design, and technology, G2G3 is uniquely qualified and motivated to redefine how organizations and people engage in an increasingly digital world.
In their Live Hack” presentation at 17th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty and Paul Fletcher, Chief Security Evangelists at Alert Logic, will provide the audience with a chance to see a live demonstration of the common tools cyber attackers use to attack cloud and traditional IT systems. This “Live Hack” uses open source attack tools that are free and available for download by anybody. Attendees will learn where to find and how to operate these tools for the purpose of testing their own IT infrastructu...