Aircraft Operations Q&A


With all the links to various resources there does not seem to be any that show daily air ops activity. Example: How many aircraft, Tnkr #, duty sta (which base, ) do they lay over night, return to another base, etc.

Wildland 8

CA-SHF Delta??

Aircraft are so dynamic there would be no way to easily do this, especially on fixed wing. Rotor are assigned to an incident, but not all fly every day; depends on conditions and need (bucket, tank, T1, T2, sling, crew shuttle, helco, hoist standby etc.) They can also get loaned out for nearby IA. Correct me if I’m wrong, fixed wing are never “owned” by an incident and go where the need is at that particular time. Some can be “held” for an incident, essentially promised so when the air clears, the IC and Air Attack can count on X number of tankers available, but not sure how sticky that hold is if another IA breaks out nearby. The bigger the tanker is, the less sticky a hold is, is the way I see it. And the bigger the tanker, the larger the area it can be diverted to (multiple states away for instance.)

If you are in the area of an active base on a very busy day, listen to the standard base victor 123.975 or Natl Flight Following right before sundown to hear the jostling of ramp space, hotel availability etc. I’m in Red Bluff area so I hear jostling for space between Redding and Chico, as well as McClellan.

I know air ops get both GPS/telemetry and back-of-napkin math from both tankers and copters of how many gallons were dropped, on what DIV etc. at the end of every day. That helps determine the effectiveness of aircraft.


I use Fightradar app then restrict the airports to just those with tankers or reload bases. The problem is some of the tankers don’t use their transponders or don’t list aircraft in the flight plans so they show up (somtimes) as “???” Feds seem ro be the real failures on IDs sometimes you can see them flying circles around a fire but don’t know who they are. Also get some of the Gen Aviation comming out of the Bases Redding RDD is good example. Tankers 944, 911,913 ( is there a 912?) and 914 all use transponders and can be seen frequently comming out of McClellan, MCC


Thanks for the info.
How do you determine which airports have tankers and reload bases?


From best available research 10 Tanker Corp does not have a Tnkr 913. Probably something to do with the bad omen of the #13.

Wildland 8


910, 911, 912 & this year 914.


Went to a air ops plan document (Googled) and there in this 100+ page doc in the apendix was a list of all the AT bases with capabilities and the 3 IATA airport designation. This doc also tells you alot about air ops. Planes, gallons air speed etc.


Guess i was conflicted with 12. & 13. Thanks.


Where is this document?


I just did another search and came up with 10-15 other docs but could not replicate what I had done before. try “ USDA fire aviation bases”.


Search “ NWCG air tanker bases”.


This link should be what you are looking for.


Alright. Thank you Mak 41.



Someone asked about the #13 for air tankers the other day. I just did a quick perusal of my data files for sum 450+ forestry aviation assets & came up w/only 2 fixed wing. They are Sequoia forest AA 13 & W. Yellowstone Smoke Jumper J-13.

Also has anyone yet seen & taken any photos of LA Cnty’s 2 hew Hawks? I believe
there unit #'s are 21 & 22

Wildland 8


LA County’s new Firehawks are not in active service yet. my understanding is that 21 is being used right now for Training and as a HELCO/ATGS platform for the QB’s. 22 last I heard was still in Colorado getting outfitted. Once 22 is done then they will switch roles.



Wildland 8


the super scoopers from Quebec QB1 QB2


Duh! I shouda known that

Wildland 8


Some very interesting reading: Large Air Tanker Ops

Sources: Large Airtanker Modernization Strategy

Amphibious Water Scooper Aircraft
Operations Plan


IAB policy

Airtanker Base Operations Guide & Comm’s:

Wildland 8


very interesting MAFFS video

Wildland 8