Aerial Firefighting North America, February 22, 2018 - Tangent Link, renowned and recognised across the globe for its work with the airborne firefighting community, brings the Aerial Firefighting North America Conference and Exhibition back to Sacramento, California this coming March.
Taking place at the McClellan Conference Centre, Sacramento McClellan Airport between 12 and 14 March, the event is set to highlight some of the major issues affecting the Aerial Firefighting community.
The event will be the biggest in North America to date and is set to attract over 40 exhibitors and 300 attendees from as far afield as Argentina, Australia, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, and UK.
Four workshops on the event’s first day, will examine issues that continue to hinder the Aerial Firefighting community. The first, presented by the Federal Administration’s Bruce Wright, will examine pilot fatigue. He will highlight how factors such as squeezing in holidays outside the summer firefighting season and hectic flying schedules can affect people. Then propose solutions that could save aircrew lives.
The US Forestry Service, with colleagues from the aerial firefighting Centre of Excellence in Colorado will look at future night-vision and Night Vision Goggles. Surely fires can no longer be left to burn unhindered by the AFF community during the night? But can safety issues be overcome so that more NVG technologies can be introduced? These are among the workshop topics that will be discussed.
Engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Canada will instruct their operator audience on the latest developments and MRO updates of its PW-100 Series Turboprops and PT-6 engines, which provides the propulsion on such fire-fighting The PW engines are regarded as some of the safest powerplants in the world.
During extended wildfire seasons human factors in the firefighting profession can become a major issue. Stressful environments with the demands of continuous shifts and being on constant alert can cause concerns with the human/machine interface. The US Forestry Service’s Ivan Pupilidy will provide a general firefighter view of human performance fundamentals and highlight all these effects in a third workshop, and to specify some solutions.
The workshops will be followed by live aircraft demonstrations, taking place at the McClellan Airfield. There will be several aircraft as well as their equipment on a static display including two Boeing CH-47D Chinook helicopters, Canadair CL-415, B747-400 Supertanker, Lockheed C-130 and BAe Avro RJ85 among others.
Attendees will see several aerial firefighting demonstrations, including an Airspray BAe146/RJ85 Airtanker equipped with a new iRADS internal aircraft tank, that will highlight the way these aircraft stem the flames.
International Aerial Firefighting Award
The international Aerial Firefighting Award ceremony will take place during the conference dinner in the evening of 13th March, overseen by the Boards of IFAWG- International Fire Aviation Working Group, Global Fire Monitoring Centre & Associated Aerial Firefighters. The Award, in honour of a former CAL FIRE pilot – Walt Darran - will culminate in a nominated personality from the AFF community receiving this prestigious award at the Conference Dinner on the 13th March.
Military Aerial Firefighting System (MAFFS)
The afternoon session of the first day of the conference, will see Lt Colonel Bradley G Ross, the USAF Operations Officer of the 731st Airlift Squadron (AS)/302nd Airlift Wing (AW) based at Peterson AFB, Colorado, present to the audience. His unit operates the C-130H Hercules, which can be fitted with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System (MAFFS) and he will discuss the training of overseas operators. The MAFFS is a roll-on roll-off self-contained system that can discharge up to 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds. There are five USAF C-130 MAFFS units serving the US Forestry Service whenever required. The bulk of the MAFFS training, which includes Forestry Service aviation operations personnel is coordinated by the Air Force Reserve (AFRes) at Peterson AFB. However, there are other MAFFS C-130 units serving the Air National Guard, that includes the 145th AW at Charlotte Douglas IAP, North Carolina; 146th AW at Port Hueneme, California; 152nd AW at Reno, Nevada and the 153rd AW at Cheyenne IAP, Wyoming.