90-Day contracts awarded for 14 firefighting helicopters

The U.S. Forest Service has awarded 90-day contracts for 14 helicopters that can lift at least 1,600 pounds. The list was released by the agency May 8, and is a result of a solicitation requesting bids for  30 helicopters that…

Erickson enacts pay cuts and furloughs for some employees

Their Air-Cranes have been shipped from Australia to Greece for the northern hemisphere wildfire season Erickson Incorporated, operator of large firefighting helicopters, is cutting the pay and requiring furloughs for some of their employees. The Digital Marketing Manager for the…

Updated Forest Service air tanker schedule

All 13 under contract are expected to be working by May 19 The U.S. Forest Service has updated their schedule for large air tankers — the last one we had was dated March 14, 2020.  This latest April 29 version still…

Annual training and certification was held for crews of three Modular Airborne FireFighting Module (MAFFS) aircraft

Members of the 302nd Airlift Wing load a U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Firefighting System unit into a C-130 Hercules aircraft April 23, 2020 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. On the left is the nozzle that is attached at…

US Forest Service may contract for up to 30 more helicopters

A Eurocopter Super Puma AW139 arrives at HAI HELI-EXPO in Anaheim, California January 24, 2020. It is registered to Horizon Helicopters in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. Photo by Bill Gabbert. The U.S. Forest Service has published a solicitation asking for bids…

Military C-130 crews train for fighting wildfires

MAFFS aircraft at Boise, April 20, 2017. Photo by Bill Gabbert. Military crews and C-130 aircraft are training in Colorado so that they can assist with wildfires. Members of the Air Force Reserve’s 302nd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard’s…

MD-87 air tanker lands safely after losing an engine

The crew declared an emergency and landed at Midland, Texas A problem with an engine on April 21 resulted in an unscheduled landing for an Erickson Aero Air MD-87 air tanker. While Tanker 101 was returning to Alamogordo after dropping…

Contracts with Type 1 helicopters are expiring April 30

Some vendors have received 30-day contracts beginning May 1 The four-year exclusive use contracts for Type 1 firefighting helicopters issued in 2016 expire at the end of this month on April 30. Since new contracts based on the solicitation issued…

A DC-10 reloading in Arizona worked the Holcomb Road Fire in Texas

Tanker 910 delivered at least four loads of retardant over two days A wildfire 32 miles north of the Rio Grande and 28 miles southwest of Ozona, Texas has burned 18,000 acres. The Holcomb Road Fire started April 19, 2020,…

The first of five C-130s purchased from Norway departs from Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson

Coulson intends to convert them into air tankers The first of five C-130H planes that Coulson Aviation purchased from the Norwegian military was ferried Monday from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona to Crestview, Florida. Over the last seven…

Colorado seeks to add to their aerial firefighting resources for COVID-19 preparedness

The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) is requesting three additional air tankers and one helicopter, all on exclusive use contracts The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) is requesting additional aircraft for their firefighting fleet…

Bridger Aerospace receives the first Viking CL-415EAF

This is the first of six ordered by Bridger The first Viking CL-415EAF “Enhanced Aerial Firefighter” was delivered to Bridger Aerospace’s facility in Bozeman, Montana as part of a contract that with all options exercised is valued at $204 million…

Report released for crash of Air-Crane helicopter into lake

The accident occurred in Australia in January, 2019 The Australian Transport Safety Bureau determined that the Air-Crane helicopter that crashed into a lake January 28, 2019 in Victoria, Australia was a victim of vortex ring state (VRS). The accident occurred…

Fire Aviation operations during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Eastern Geographic Area has released their Wildland Fire Response Plan (WRP) for the COVID-19 pandemic. The 83-page document was written, compiled, and assembled by the Eastern Area Type 2 Incident Management Team led by Steve Goldman, working under Tim…

Bridger Aerospace and Ascent Vision Technologies join forces to deliver COVID-19 PPE

Members of Bridger Aerospace and Frenchtown District Rural Fire Department. Minuteman Aviation photo by Mel Holtz in Missoula. What started as a modest campaign to provide a couple of hundred face shields to Bozeman Health, has opened doors to assist…

34 Single Engine Air Tankers will be on BLM contract

The Bureau of Land Management will have 34 Single Engine Air Tankers on exclusive use contract this year to help fight wildfires, said Kari Cobb, Public Affairs Officer for the National Interagency Fire Center. She said 100 additional SEATs will…

Bloomberg article about Australian fire aviation

Bloomberg graphic, showing the flight paths of various firefighting and mapping aircraft in Australia. When a reporter for Bloomberg asked me if she could interview me I said OK, as long as I could have the rights to publish the…

Q400 air tanker hauls COVID-19 medical supplies

Caption from Instagram: “Yesterday carrying #medicalteam with lot of material between Bordeaux, Nancy and Strasbourg- Participating in the national effort against #Covid-19 – For the crew: Two #pilots and two #cabincrew it mean follow precise procedures and be very vigilant…in…

NWCG: Best practices for fire aviation during COVID-19 pandemic

A MAFFS C-130 from the Wyoming National Guard refills its tank during training at Boise April 21, 2017. Photo by Bill Gabbert. The Interagency Aviation Preparedness Task Team (IAPTT) has developed recommendations for managing fire aviation during the COVID-19 pandemic.…

Integrating air and ground operations for prompt initial attack on wildfires

A firefighter talks to the pilot of a helicopter as he drops retardant on the Rice Ridge Fire in Montana August 16, 2017. USFS photo by Kari Greer. Guest Author: Bean Barrett This is a military viewpoint. I am not…

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