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Thread: Grounded pilots push for retraining as fire bombers

  1. #1
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    Grounded pilots push for retraining as fire bombers

    Coronavirus-grounded commercial pilots push to retrain as firebombers as bushfire season heats up


    Coronavirus-grounded commercial pilots push to retrain as firebombers as bushfire season heats up - ABC News

    Hmm, I am not endorsed for this demanding job, but I think it may involve a bit more than a few hours around the block and just and addon endorsement!

    The National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) coordinates arrangements across the country for combating bushfires.
    Its general manager Richard Alder said the training for aerial firefighting is intensive and can take years to complete.

    "This is not a set of skills that can be rushed," he said.


    While I certainty sympathise with skilled pilots being out of work, this is nothing like learning to drive a combine harvester, as some of them are doing!


    Last edited by Old Farang; 19th October 2020 at 01:03 AM. Reason: correct spelling

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    whree are they getting the extra planes from?
    Quote Originally Posted by DazzaTD5 View Post
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    I seem to remember that a low level endorsement is quite a few hours - and firefighting is a whole new game on top of that, especially flying a large aircraft.

    While it is possible that some airline pilots already have crop dusting experience, this would in most cases be a bit rusty and need some brushing up.

    And then there is the question of where the qualified instructors would come from - seems to me that all of those would be employed to actually fly the planes themselves.
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    It was a fanciful statement made with not a lot of forethought.

    While I would love to be able to belt around in a 737 water bomber doing good things for the community, the reality is that to have an Australian dedicated fleet really needs you to have them flying all year round - just like Coulson do by shifting assets around the world. You can't have them sitting around for over 6 months of the year outside fire season. That costs money - and lots of it. I don't think our government (of either persuasion) would be capable of running such an operation successfully. At the moment it would be better (and more cost effective) to use existing contractors and let them assume the financial risk, IMO.

    There are plenty of affected pilots with low-level ratings (probably un-current) that might be suitable, as these ratings are perpetual and don't expire. Not only would you need to get current, but you need to stay current in order to be safe. That means regular flying on such tasks. I'm rated to fly formation, but I wouldn't race out tomorrow and participate a formation flying display

    I remember reading a fluff piece circulating the net about pressing our old P-3's into service as fire fighters. They were retired for several reasons - one of them being that the ones that are gone have no life left in their airframes, hence are only good for scrap. Plus, they are also horrendously expensive to run. Government funding (if any) would be better spent on more suitable assets.

    Coulson recently advertised for a chief pilot or check pilot on the 737 in Australia. Perhaps they are looking at formalising more permanent operations under an Australian AOC?
    Age and cunning will ALWAYS overcome youth and skill.

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    Not to mention the extra cost of a flight attendant and coffee machine for each water bomber.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordie View Post
    Not to mention the extra cost of a flight attendant and coffee machine for each water bomber.
    Don't laugh! I cannot find it just now, but I think that it was last fire season when a B737 Combo aircraft was deployed here. From memory there are around 14 seats in the cabin along with the tank. What ever the number of seats it was, CASA would not approve it for use to carry the full complement of fire fighters BECAUSE there was no flight attendant!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Farang View Post
    Don't laugh! I cannot find it just now, but I think that it was last fire season when a B737 Combo aircraft was deployed here. From memory there are around 14 seats in the cabin along with the tank. What ever the number of seats it was, CASA would not approve it for use to carry the full complement of fire fighters BECAUSE there was no flight attendant!
    There is mention of it at the following, but it is quoting 70 seats:

    737 Archives - Fire Aviation


    October 7, 2019CategoriesFixed wingTags7373 Commentson Flight attendants on an air tanker
    Authorities in Australia are considering authorizing a 737 air tanker to carry up to 70 passengers

    Flight Attendants
    “We are required to have three flight attendants in the airplane due to the number of seats,” said Britt Coulson Vice President of Coulson Aviation. “We are still looking at options of who we are going to use to fulfill those positions.”

    Passenger and baggage screening
    One other detail that has to be worked out is whether the passengers and baggage are required to be screened by electronic devices or security personnel.




  8. #8
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    Would be for safety reasons rather than serving coffee reasons.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 101RRS View Post
    Would be for safety reasons rather than serving coffee reasons.
    lack of coffee is a big safety risk.
    Quote Originally Posted by DazzaTD5 View Post
    Its a land Rover Defender... you need a real mechanic

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eevo View Post
    whree are they getting the extra planes from?
    Thinking the same......and I don’t recall reading that there was never enough pilots to fly the fire fighting planes.

    Know the government they’ll spend a bomb of training pilot that’ll probably never get a seat.

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