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From Airlines to Firebombing - Really?

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From Airlines to Firebombing - Really?

Old 19th Sep 2020, 05:22
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From Airlines to Firebombing - Really?

https://www.afr.com/policy/energy-an...0200914-p55vgq

Which one is it? Is it arrogance or ignorance to think airline pilots have the skillset to move across to firebombing with minimal re-training?
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Old 19th Sep 2020, 05:33
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Originally Posted by spektrum View Post
https://www.afr.com/policy/energy-an...0200914-p55vgq

Which one is it? Is it arrogance or ignorance to think airline pilots have the skillset to move across to firebombing with minimal re-training?
So highly experienced Pilots can’t apply then? Only X Fighter Pilots, Bomber Pilots and Space shuttle Pilots?

What about X Air Force One Pilots, would they have the required experience for you?

oh ok.

it’s not like the current Fire Bombing Pilots have never made a mistake is it......

No it’s more like you think we’d be coming in and taking someone else’s ( your? ) job? Is that it?
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Old 19th Sep 2020, 06:23
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You cannot put anyone in aviation in a box. Airline pilots come from all parts of aviation and people have some pretty amazing experience. Test Pilots, Fighter Pilots, Survey Pilots, SAR, RFDS etc etc

It would be much quicker to start with to hire a current 737 pilot to fly a 737 water bomber than anyone from GA regardless of experience.
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Old 19th Sep 2020, 06:27
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Couldn't read beyond the paywall, but what is the availability of larger firebombers, especially if the goal is to have australian registered fleet with local crews? The article begins with stating the existence of choppers and smaller ac and lack of larger ac. Even though there are pilots available (I am not taking any opinion on the firebombing readiness), is there anything to fly for 20/21 season? I would imagine it would take too long to convert freighters/airliners for the job to make the season.
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Old 19th Sep 2020, 06:56
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Originally Posted by spektrum View Post
https://www.afr.com/policy/energy-an...0200914-p55vgq

Which one is it? Is it arrogance or ignorance to think airline pilots have the skillset to move across to firebombing with minimal re-training?
It depends on the person And their background, most don’t. Some will for sure.
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Old 19th Sep 2020, 08:27
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The assumption being there will be any work.

Hard to envisage after last seasons catch up in hazard reduction...
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Old 19th Sep 2020, 10:42
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Originally Posted by currawong View Post
The assumption being there will be any work.

Hard to envisage after last seasons catch up in hazard reduction...
As big as it was it was a drop in the ocean!
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Old 19th Sep 2020, 11:00
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Squawk is right. Plenty more inflammable real estate. We did our mandatory burn over training exercises today. Mr. Summer will be with us sooner than we think.
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Old 19th Sep 2020, 11:50
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Originally Posted by spektrum View Post

Which one is it? Is it arrogance or ignorance to think airline pilots have the skillset to move across to firebombing with minimal re-training?
I guess all airline pilots are just button pushing, autopilot babysitting children of the magenta huh? Not “real” pilots? Couldn’t possibly be tasked, with some additional training, to operate the aircraft they have probably 1000’s of hours on in a different role huh?

Aircraft types used in the National Aerial Firefighting Fleet include RJ85, 737, King Airs and Learjets for scanning. Q400s and 747s have been used overseas. No doubt there’d be endorsed Australian pilots on the above types who are currently stood down. Some training required for the task yes, but less I’d imagine than taking a current bomber pilot on an Air Tractor and training them to fly a 747. You’ve got ready to go people with plenty of time on type ready and willing to crew a service we need in this country. The AFAP head is quite right.
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Old 19th Sep 2020, 12:10
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Some people like to think what they do is unique! No one could possibly do what I do.
Aviation is all encompassing. Once you have your head around the basics and gain some experience,
there are many paths available to you.
It’s not that hard, and most readily adapt to the different opportunities.
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Old 19th Sep 2020, 14:26
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A very highly experienced (both time on type and exposure to fire bombing operations) crew lost their lives this season in a well maintained and capable aircraft. You’d be hard pressed to find a better crew/aircraft combination in the world.

And you think it’ll be “minimal” training.

Sure.

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Old 19th Sep 2020, 20:51
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I have known several former USN P3 pilots that transitioned from their age 60 airline jobs over to fire fighting spectrum. Not aware of any issues, but then I was not in the cockpit with them.
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Old 19th Sep 2020, 22:08
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Originally Posted by junior.VH-LFA View Post
A very highly experienced (both time on type and exposure to fire bombing operations) crew lost their lives this season in a well maintained and capable aircraft. You’d be hard pressed to find a better crew/aircraft combination in the world.

And you think it’ll be “minimal” training.

Sure.
It’s very easy to bring that up as a throw-away line to harden a point of view and if anyone were to post back right now with what truly happened (before the report was released) there would be a barrage of comment world wide.

The best way to summarise this tragedy and how it is at all relevant to this discussion, would be to say... do you ever see airline crew tasked to fly from Melbourne to Sydney, performing a flyby of the Canberra tower on the way past?
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Old 19th Sep 2020, 22:18
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Why does an airline pilot need to have a skillet to do firebombing? Do they also have to cook breakfast?
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Old 19th Sep 2020, 22:33
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Originally Posted by junior.VH-LFA View Post
A very highly experienced (both time on type and exposure to fire bombing operations) crew lost their lives this season in a well maintained and capable aircraft. You’d be hard pressed to find a better crew/aircraft combination in the world.

And you think it’ll be “minimal” training.

Sure.
No not “minimal”, additional training to the required standard. They’ve already got the experience on type. All it takes is CASA to amend the rules which currently make it the domain of former ag pilots. Maybe there is resistance from some in that community who want it to remain a closed shop

Interestingly helicopter firefighting pilots are not required to have former aerial application (ag) experience before gaining a firefighting endorsement as far as I can see.

You’ve got probably a thousand pilots who are currently not working in this country who would be up to the task of being able to be trained for this service if the Federal Government and CASA got on board. I don’t see why anyone posting on this site wouldn’t want to kill two birds with one stone (provide Australia with this essential service and provide employment for many of our stood down colleagues). It does seem there is some sneering going on at “autopilot babysitting” airline pilots who possibly couldn’t do anything more than watch an autopilot from 10 seconds after take off to ten seconds before landing.
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Old 20th Sep 2020, 00:08
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Originally Posted by dr dre View Post
No not “minimal”, additional training to the required standard. They’ve already got the experience on type. All it takes is CASA to amend the rules which currently make it the domain of former ag pilots. Maybe there is resistance from some in that community who want it to remain a closed shop

Interestingly helicopter firefighting pilots are not required to have former aerial application (ag) experience before gaining a firefighting endorsement as far as I can see.

You’ve got probably a thousand pilots who are currently not working in this country who would be up to the task of being able to be trained for this service if the Federal Government and CASA got on board. I don’t see why anyone posting on this site wouldn’t want to kill two birds with one stone (provide Australia with this essential service and provide employment for many of our stood down colleagues). It does seem there is some sneering going on at “autopilot babysitting” airline pilots who possibly couldn’t do anything more than watch an autopilot from 10 seconds after take off to ten seconds before landing.
I agree with you fully, with the right training it could be done. The article though indicated it would be minimal training, which just wouldn’t be true. I’m not an Ag pilot, but I know many and to operate in that environment at low level is demanding, add a heap of other aeroplanes, shit house vis and usually large amounts of heat and you suddenly have a very different experience than what is usual for an airline crew.

Of course people can be trained, and I’m sure if anyone wanted to do it full time for the rest of their careers (or for an extended stint), you could go out and grab it. A casual gig for a season while covid (terribly) has ****** over the aviation sector? Not realistic IMHO. You’d spend most of the season being a training burden, and hopefully (because as you’ve suggested, what we ALL want is a return to normality for aviation as a whole) back at an airline within a year or two. There are people in airline with previous relevant experience that might be easier to train, so there isn’t a one size fits all answer.

I think the comment that would (has) rubbed people in the wrong way in that line of work the wrong way potentially is “minimal training.” With thousands of hours on type, of course with suitable training you could make it work, airline pilots aren’t just button pushers (that should be obvious to anyone). But it wouldn’t be a two week course and a check to line!

It’s also really a pointless discussion to have, the positions are filled by the contractor. There aren’t any vacant seats available.
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Old 20th Sep 2020, 02:00
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It's interesting that all of the replies so far (including my own) reflect no actual firefighting experience.
Given that it is a foreign company flying a N registered aircraft I would think that the first plan of action for any aspiring aerial firefighter would be to ensure they have the required license suitable to the employer, the required endorsement for low level ops suitable to the employer and put in an application to the employer.
Declaring that "this is my country and I am entitled to a job regardless of real time experience or license's" made me more than a little uncomfortable when I read it in the Sunday Mail this morning.
Unemployment does not give you priority on the list of most suitable candidates.
I am pretty sure that the pilots who have been firefighting safely for years would take this attitude as a slight on their training and professionalism.
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Old 20th Sep 2020, 02:21
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I think most of the lot on this thread and lurking would have to demonstrate the ability to fly a simple VFR pattern after a runway change and a constant rate of descent to landing without gyrations with creating magenta line final with the FMS and without Flight Director and autothrottles.

I see the wreckage created by today's training at my US Legacy Carrier in the Sim and in real life when it comes to anything outside the magenta line with a Flight Director and autothrottles. To say there is a possible transfer of skills is near laughable.

P3 pilots were mentioned. Those guys were used to flying a couple hundred feet above the ocean with 2 engines shut down in a airplane that probably had half of it's equipment inop or screwed up..
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Old 20th Sep 2020, 03:32
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Originally Posted by junior.VH-LFA View Post
It’s also really a pointless discussion to have, the positions are filled by the contractor. There aren’t any vacant seats available.
I think the whole point of AFAP’s position (which is in common with what many emergency services groups are saying) is in the long term last summer will become the norm not an exception. Fire seasons are overlapping with the northern hemisphere so we can’t rely on them to provide the bulk of the larger aircraft. It’s time to combine Australia’s firefighting and aviation expertise to create our own national aerial firefighting service, and not rely on northern hemisphere contractors. Jobs for Aussies and all that. Australian registered aircraft, Australian pilots, we control them.

Now the currently stood down pilots may be able to be used in later seasons if they choose so, but more firefighting pilots definitely be needed in the future. Don’t think for one second that last summer was an anomaly. It’s a threat this country is going to face for the majority of future years, we have a lot of money and resources spent on services to drop real bombs on threats that have very rarely been employed over time, whereas bushfires will threaten this country every 5/6 months for most years into the future, yet we seem to want to a bare minimum effort with overseas contractors. Doesn’t make sense?
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Old 20th Sep 2020, 03:57
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Boy there’s some crap in here.......most Pilots experienced on type with thousands of hours in the Aircraft and the Sim would have very little difficulty learning to drop fire retardant AFTER a suitable amount of training on the ground and air and appropriate testing.....
Sure, not all would be suitable at it but most would have the ability to adapt and survive in what is a hostile environment for sure....

Obviously they should be rostered as FO for a while with an experienced CN to learn the ropes, I’m not suggesting we stick 2 newbie Airline Pilots together...!!

So some here are saying that 10,000 hours experience ( sometimes even on type ) counts for nothing? Really?

Last edited by ACMS; 20th Sep 2020 at 04:07.
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