Last week, CAL FIRE representatives attended the North American Aerial Firefighting Conference in Sacramento, California as the platinum sponsor.
“The conference focused on global challenges in the aerial firefighting industry,” said Jeff Cavarra, CAL FIRE program director. “It explored new technology and lessons learned in the aerial firefighting community.”
DynCorp International’s booth promoted our world-class aircrews, maintenance and modifications, and showcased the efforts of the CAL FIRE team in rebuilding a former U.S. Navy S-2T Tracker from boneyard status to fully operational in a 22-month period. The Aerial Firefighting Conference was attended by more than 250 state, national and local government representatives, as well as industry representatives from around the world – Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, France, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, the U.S. and the U.K.
“Working the booth was a great opportunity to discuss CAL FIRE’s success and the years of aerial firefighting expertise contained within our team,” said Kelsey Beasley, CAL FIRE deputy program manager. “Our program continues to grow with the recent addition of C-130 and Cal Firehawk aircraft.”
Four DI pilots were also invited to speak on a keynote panel. Bradley Baker, Bryan Baker, David Kelly and Jerome Laval used their decades of combined experience to present a round table on global pilot challenges and the impact on the aerial firefighting community.
“They covered a variety of issues, such as hiring and retention challenges for pilots, training and “seasoning” issues, pilot career progression, and a vision of universal standards and global interoperability of aerial firefighting aircrews,” added Cavarra. “They concluded with a 20-minute Q&A.”
“The pilot panel was praised by the conference organizers, California’s aerial firefighting and law enforcement communities, and international participants,” said Bill Tart, SVP DynAviation Business Development. “It reflects how DI and the CAL FIRE team have partnered with the state of California to be frontrunners in the future of aerial firefighting.”