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Bristow Academy Wildland Firefighting Course

Bristow Academy, located in Titusville Florida, is introducing a wildland firefighting course for current and prospective helicopter pilots.  This course, entitled Wildland Fire Orientation for Rotary Wing Pilots, is a ground school designed to provide pilots with basic knowledge of wildland fire behavior, firefighting safety and tactics and the use of helicopter in fire suppression and prescribed burning operations.

Students attending this course will be given two National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) courses: S-190; Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior and S-130, Firefighter Training.  These courses will be taught by Fred Adrian, a wildland firefighter with over 30 years experience.  A NWCG certificate will be presented to students that successfully complete these courses.

 The S-190 course, which is a prerequisite for S-130, is designed to give students information on how a fire burns and what affects it as it spreads across the landscape.  They will learn the basic terminology of fire which will enable them to communicate effectively with other firefighters. Students will study the effects of fuels, topography and weather on a wildland fire.  They will also learn factors that may cause extreme fire behavior and safety concerns.

In S-130, students will learn both the safety and tactical aspects of wildland fire suppression.  They will learn what the Incident Command System (ICS) is and how it is applied to a fire situation.  This course will teach them the Standard Firefighting Orders and the “18 Situations that Shout Watch Out”.  Finally, students will gain knowledge in the basics of fire suppression, patrolling and mop up. Some of this knowledge will put to the test in a short field exercise.

The final part of the course will address the use of helicopters in wildland fire suppression operations and prescribed burning.  Some of the specific subjects covered will include pilot qualifications, flight safety, dispatching and helicopter firefighting tactics.  This portion of the course will be taught by both Mr. Adrian and Alan Dillon, an experienced wildland fire pilot.

Mr. Adrian’s experience in wildfire suppression began in 1973 when he was working on the University of Florida’s Austin Carey Research Forest near Gainesville Florida as a student assistant.  After graduating from the University of Florida, he worked in the timber industry as a forester and did both prescribed burning and wildfire suppression.

By his own account however, Mr. Adrian’s real training and experience started when he began working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1979. He started out as a beginning firefighter and over the years gained the knowledge and experience to become a Type 3 Incident Commander on the suppression side of fire management, and a Type 1 Prescribed Burn Boss on the prescribed fire side.  He was also qualified as a Fire Behavior Analyst. 

Mr. Adrian worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service until 2010 when he retired.  He has over 1000 fire actions to his credit and did fire work in most regions of the continental United States and Puerto Rico.  Even though he is retired, he still maintains some of his qualifications and remains on the Fish and Wildlife rolls as an emergency hire firefighter.

The other instructor, Mr. Dillon, has over 11,000 combined hours as pilot in command of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. Included in this flying experience is over eight years as a wildland fire pilot. Some of his fire time was working as a contract pilot for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with Mr. Adrian’s home unit.  He has flown both light and heavy helicopters in his career as a fire pilot.  He also spent two years working for the U.S. Department of Interior as inspector pilot.  During this time, his primary job was to administer check rides to pilots and issue card showing that they were qualified to work wildland fire operations.

The combined knowledge of these two instructors allows students to gain insight to wildland fire helicopters operations that would be difficult to find elsewhere.  With his experience as a ground firefighter, Mr. Adrian can address the type of aerial support required to have a safe and effective fire operation.  Mr. Dillon’s wildland fire flying experience, along with his knowledge of qualification procedures, can provide students with the basic knowledge of how to provide this support and the skills they need to acquire to become a successful wildland fire pilot.
 

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Comments

Addy
Sunday, January 01, 2012 5:18 AM
You cuodln't pay me to ignore these posts!

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