Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Smokejumping 101 - part 2: About Smokejumper Aircraft

Just as the Interagency Airtanker Board approves Interagency Airtanker Board (IAB) Multi-engine Tankers, SEATS, Helitankers and Retardant tanks the Smokejumper Aircraft Screening and Evaluation Board (SASEB) evaluates and approves
smokejumper/paracargo aircraft and related accessories, initiatives, proposals and issues. SASEB will provide guidance for standardization, when evaluating new interagency smokejumper/paracargo aircraft and related aircraft accessories (Smokejumper Aircraft Screening and Evaluation Board (SASEB)).
There is a list of SASEB approved aircraft dated 2004 on the Smokejumper Aircraft Screening and Evaluation Board (SASEB) website, but if you click on the 2004 Meeting Approved List the resulting document is dated August 2, 2000. It isn’t quite clear to me if the SASEB approved aircraft list has been revised since that time.

What I do know is that I found a listing of Smokejumper Aircraft 2015 from the National Interagency Coordination Center’s aviation page. Of course, if you are landing here sometime after 2015, I’m not sure what will happen when you click on the link that I gave. Anyway, the listing of smokejumper aircraft that will be used in 2015 includes some useful information. such as the tail number, aircraft type, aircraft identifier and assigned base.

Four types of smokejumper aircraft will be used in 2015: Twin Otter DHC-6, Sherpa, Dornier, and Casa 212. I will write more about these four aircraft types on Friday, March 5.

Looking to the future, Bill Gabbert of Fire Aviation has been reporting about 15 Sherpa C-23B aircraft that the U.S. Army is transferring to the U.S. Forest Service, his latest article was written on October 28, 2014. He asked Jennifer Jones, a U.S. Forest Service spokesperson for an update:
As of 9/11/14, a total of 10 C-23B+/SD3-60s have been transferred from the DoD to the U.S. Forest Service and the remainder are scheduled to be transferred within the next few weeks. . . . 
The U.S. Forest Service will locate one aircraft in Ogden, Utah to serve as the prototype aircraft for FAA Civil Certification as an SD3-60 Sherpa and will then conform the rest of the C-23B+ aircraft to that standard. One of the three aircraft located in Redmond, Oregon will be used to complete the Smokejumper Aircraft Screening and Evaluation Board (SASEB) approval process and to develop pilot familiarity and training. The other aircraft will be progressively certified, configured for wildfire suppression missions, and brought into service. 
The U.S. Forest Service expects to begin bringing the aircraft into service incrementally (two to four aircraft per year) beginning in 2016 . . .
For more information on the 15 Sherpa C-23B aircraft read Bill’s October 28, 2014 article. I expect that Bill will continue to report on this as new developments arise so you might check out Fire Aviation every so often.

Stay tuned for my next article in this series where I’ll continue to write about smokejumper aircraft.

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