News from the Aerial Firefighting Conference in Sacramento

aerial firefighting Conference Keynotes MCC
Keynote addresses. Tangent Link photo.

The two-day Aerial Firefighting North America conference just wrapped up at Sacramento McClellan Airport in Sacramento. It began Tuesday with a series of keynote and welcoming addresses delivered by Chief Thom Porter, Director of CAL FIRE, Brian S. Marshal, State Fire and Rescue Chief and Director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, followed by Jeffrey Rupert, Director of the Office of Wildland Fire in the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Conair confirmed at the conference that they expect to open the world’s first Aerial Firefighting Training and Tactics Centre early this spring. It will have five fully Networked Flight Training Devices that are reconfigurable to simulate the cockpit and flight dynamics for eight aircraft platforms performing different roles during an aerial firefighting mission.

Viking Air Limited introduced the Canadair CL-515 First Responder, a new production multi-mission scooping amphibian and purpose-built aerial firefighting aircraft.

Coulson Aviation announced they have installed a large capacity internal helicopter tank in a CH47 Chinook. It will be able to carry up to 3,000 gallons.

Columbia Helicopters introduced a Type 1 multi-mission Standard Transport Category helicopter – the Columbia Model 234 LR Chinook. It can be configured to carry up to 19 passengers, a 2,800 gallon internal tank, a 2,600 gallon bucket, or internal and external cargo.

Trotter Controls recorded a video tour of some of the exhibits at the conference.

2013 Airtanker and Water Scooper Forum

The U.S. Forest Service has scheduled an “Airtanker and Water Scooper Forum” to be held in Boise November 19-20, 2013. Today they posted a notice about it at the GSA site that is normally used for solicitations about contracts and requests for proposals, fbo.gov — an odd way to advertise a conference. It even has a Solicitation Number (SN-2014-01). But, almost everything the federal government does concerning fire aviation is odd.

This is rather short notice for a meeting like this.

The topics include:

  • Questions (preferably submitted in advance) and answers.
  • Review of accidents.
  • Future strategy for airtankers, VLATs, and water scoopers: next-gen, legacy, budgets, fleet design, aerial supervision, policy and operational changes, pilot practical test standards.
  • Contracts Q&A.
  • Aviation audits.
  • Technology: ATU, AFF, AFUE.
  • Aviation program updates: FAS-AVID report, night flying, public aircraft operations, retardant avoidance areas.

More information about the “Forum”.
The agenda.
Registration form.

Speaking of aviation, I checked into air fares between Rapid City and Boise and was shocked — $858 was the lowest. Holy Crap. RAP is expensive to fly out of because of a lack of competition.

Thankfully, as far as I know there is no admission fee to attend the Forum.