This is the eighth in a series of articles on FireAviation.com featuring aerial firefighters answering 12 questions about their profession. We hope to get participation from senior pilots, as well as Air Operations Branch Directors, Air Tactical Group Supervisors, and others that have worked closely with fire aviation. Our objective is to not only provide our readers with interesting articles, but these very experienced aerial firefighters may also reveal a few gems of information that could prove to be valuable to those considering or just beginning a career in fire aviation. If you have a suggestion of someone who would be a good candidate for these questions, drop us a line through our Contact Us page. And their contact information would be appreciated.
Today we hear from Dave Dicky, captain on a P2V for Neptune Aviation. In addition to flying air tankers he has also done some instructing for the companies he has worked with.
Who is one of the more memorable aerial firefighters you have known?
Mike Lynn is “The Most Valuable Player” in my book. He is highly experienced at the lead plane duties, maintaining safety and calmness throughout the mission. His prior experience as a tanker pilot shows in his ability to execute the tasks accurately and with little effort. He simply does an outstanding job in all aspects of the firefighting environment.
One piece of advice you would give to someone before their first assignment working on a fire?
Be open minded of those with much experience, even if they suggest another occupation.
Besides the obvious (funding), what is the number one thing government Fire and Aviation should focus on?
Getting back to the basics of initial attack firefighting with the right tools. Bureaucracy doesn’t fight fire well at all.
One suggestion you have for ground-based firefighters about fire suppression tactics, or working with aircraft?
Call us in to work sooner. Don’t wait until it blows up to call in aircraft. It’s too late then, even for aircraft.
One thing that you know now that you wish you had known early in your career?
There are much better aircraft out there for the mission.
Which two aircraft manufactured within the last 20 years would make the best air tankers?
P-3 Orion and Q400.
List the aircraft you have flown, or flown in, on fires. Which is your favorite, and why?
PB4Y2, KC-97, P2V, P-3, and L-188 Electra. The P-3 is the most favorable due to its tank, capabilities and reliability.
The funniest thing you have seen in aerial firefighting?
One air tanker being flown to another base to cover the existing tanker. It was funny to learn that both aircraft had the same day off.
How many hours have you spent in firefighting aircraft?
Your favorite book about fire, firefighting, or aerial firefighting?
The True Story of Smokey Bear
The first job you had in aerial firefighting?
Co-pilot on Tanker 06 with Black Hills Aviation
What gadgets, electronic or other type, can’t you live without?
GPS and In-flight Weather display is great. A multifunction display is also quite useful. A cell phone is pretty nice. How about a laptop computer? Where do you want to go with this? Snap-on super offset wrenches are very useful at times. I use a fork nearly every day too.