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Old 12-01-2009, 08:33 PM   #1  
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Default Firebombing

Hello all, I know there have been several posts on this before, but they are all a little outdated. I am just north of 1000 hours and 200 multi. (Funny how those were pretty decent numbers about 3 ago) I have always had an itch to get into fire bombing. I don't know why I want to, most of my other pilot friends call me sick for considering it, but I keep coming back to it. There isn't much information out there about how to get into the business. I have sent my resume over to Neptune, Aero Union and Minden, but like most things these days I didn't receive a response. I am from the Pacific Northwest, are there any operators in the Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana area I should know of? Thanks for any input.
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Old 12-01-2009, 09:41 PM   #2  
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Default Fire Bombers

Quote:
Originally Posted by VanDriver208 View Post
Hello all, I know there have been several posts on this before, but they are all a little outdated. I am just north of 1000 hours and 200 multi. (Funny how those were pretty decent numbers about 3 ago) I have always had an itch to get into fire bombing. I don't know why I want to, most of my other pilot friends call me sick for considering it, but I keep coming back to it. There isn't much information out there about how to get into the business. I have sent my resume over to Neptune, Aero Union and Minden, but like most things these days I didn't receive a response. I am from the Pacific Northwest, are there any operators in the Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana area I should know of? Thanks for any input.
I flew in fire suppression years ago. It is not as easy as it once was to get in. Fire bombers are starting to convert to modern airframes. Usually that means time in type and an A&P. Most of those outfits have career crews. You could try to get hired as ground crew and hope to get lucky, but you could also waste a decade waiting for an opportunity that never will come.

I lucked into my first job. Every fall I would buy an address list and would sent out resumes blindly to hundreds of companies. The one who called was for a fire suppression contract. My in was that I had Alaska time. PM if you want more.

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Old 12-02-2009, 05:19 PM   #3  
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Neptune would be your best shot. They usually hire a couple of new copilots a season. Keep in mind most new hires into the tanker industry now have 4-5000 hrs most being multi PIC time (companies have insurance requirements they have to meet). Also starting off in this business is very hard work. Copilot duties include oiling, fueling, and washing the airplane (which is a daily duty). You are on the road depending on your contract length you can spend anywhere from 120-200 continuous days on the road (all heavy tankers are a national resource, so you can be anywhere in the U.S. on any given day). The other companies you mentioned (Aero Union and Minden) have virtually no turnover, so new hires are very rare. Good luck to you and if you have any questions you can email me at [email protected]. The worst day flying a tanker is better than the best day doing anything else....
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Old 12-13-2009, 08:42 AM   #4  
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I flew for Bighorn Airways on the smoke jumper contract for several years. They were owned by Hawkins and Powers out Of Greybull Wy. I enjoyed the flying but as has been mentioned here you can forget about a home life during fire season. Of all the flying I've done that is the one I'd go back to if I had to make a change.

Bighorn is still alive and well and are out of Sheridan Wyoming. Smoke jumper flying is not the same as firebombing but if you like spending lots of time down low dropping stuff you'd love it. Once you drop your jumpers you drop down and supply paracargo from about 100 to 150'. It's a kick. Bighorn seems to be hiring each season.
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