Aerial Firefighting International 2016

Posted by on Oct 16, 2015 in | Comments Off on Aerial Firefighting International 2016

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About event 2
click here to download McClellan press release
AFF Returns to Sac    

The wildfire season in North America has been a challenging one for all concerned. According to the National Interagency Fire Centre, 6,224,545 acres had been burned by a total of 37,894 fires by 8th August, the second highest in the last decade with the fire season still at National Preparedness Level 4, the second highest level.

It is against this backdrop that the 13th Aerial Firefighting International conference has been officially announced by Tangent Link and will take place during March 2016, returning to its recent US home of Sacramento in California.

Tangent Link has a long-standing commitment to the international aerial firefighting community in the way it has continually brought together governing bodies, institutions and associations, as well as operators and those who are tasked with overcoming wildfires.

Over the two days of conference in March 2016, delegates will hear from several invited US Senators and international aerial firefighting specialists.

The session programme will include presentations on the following issues: civil and military firefighting operations, both nationally and globally; an examination of the latest developments in night vision techniques and the increasing use of unmanned systems; together with an examine of future technologies.

At the conference dinner, The Walt Darran International Aerial Firefighting Award will be presented to recognise the contribution of an individual or organisation who have been judged by a panel of experts to have made a significant contribution to aerial firefighting.

There will be external live demonstrations of aircraft and fire fighting equipment, together with static displays.


Who you will meet

The AFF series is always well attended by international delegations. The Forestry Departments, Fire & Aviation Services, Departments of Agriculture, Military Units, MoDs and  Research Establishments of the following countries are being personally invited to attend:

Invited countries - map

AFF16 International will be attended by many of the Industry leaders.Those confirmed to attend and exhibit are as follows:

DynCorp International • BAE Systems • Neptune Aviation • Airspray Airtankers • ICL Performance Products • Elbit Systems Aerospace • Airbus Helicopters • Simplex Aerospace • Budenheim • Rebtech • Valley Air Crafts / Air Tractor • MAFFS Corp • American Valley Aviation • Sel-Tech • Global SuperTanker Services • AgustaWestland • IMS New Zealand • Sierra Nevada Corporation • Helimax Aviation • Fire Boss LLC • SEI Industries • Avinet Pty Ltd • Opennimes Metropole France • Centre of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting Colorado • Conair Group Inc • Aero-Flite, Inc • Airwork NZ • Astronics Max-Viz • Cobham Aerospace Communications • Trotter Controls • Coulson Aircrane • Flightcell International • Mint Turbines • Churchill Navigation

Download the AFF floor plan here

2014 Attendee Pie Chart
Conference Programme      
A snapshot of the provisional two-day conference programme is included below:
  • Session 1 – Military Aerial Firefighting Operations

Only a few nations have invested time and money in developing their military air forces as an aerial firefighting capability. Tangent Link has developed this session to encourage and demonstrate that all air forces in fire zones have the ability to train to fight wildfires by developing current aviation assets and operate them effectively to protect their own national assets.  Presentations will be delivered at an international level.

  • Session 2 – Future Technologies, Research & Development

What are the new technical enablers to enhance and improve the aerial firefighting mission? From the new the chemicals and suppressants, aerial delivery systems and innovative technologies developed to be cost-effective and mission efficient.

  • Session 3 – Safety

Always included in the AFF programme and striving for perfection, safety is so important when flying this mission. What is the new thinking, what are the federal aviation authorities doing to advance safety and what are the new challenges. The programme will also deliver the latest research into Fatal Aviation Accidents in Wildfire Operations.

  • Session 4 – Tactics & Strategies

How can tactics and strategies be improved to deliver aerial firefighting mission effectiveness? Case studies and lessons-learned from both a national and international perspective will consider the most applicable tactic and strategy methods to suit the many different wildfire conditions and environments.

  • Session 5 - Future Surveillance Operations in Aerial Firefighting

What technologies and methods can we deploy to combat wildfires for longer within the necessary safety parameters.  This session will address the opportunities for the 24hr aerial firefighting capability mainly through the employment of Electro Optical systems, Synthetic Vision and Unmanned Air Vehicles.

 Static display
AFF 2016 will conclude with an afternoon static and flying display of fixed and rotary aircraft with delivery systems. These demonstrations will take place at McClellan Airfield, a short five-minute journey from the Aerial Fire Fighting venue. Tangent Link will provide a complimentary shuttle service to and from the demonstrations. 
Previous AFF demonstrations have included participation from:
  • California ANG UH-72 & UH-60
  • CAL FIRE S-2T, OV-10 & UH-1H
  • US Marines Corp CH-53
  • US Air Force C-130
  • NASA/USFS B200
  • Canadair CL-415 Superscooper
  • Conair Convair 580
  • Aeroflite AT-802 Fireboss
  • Croman S-61 with Isolair and Elbit Systems
  • Croman SH03H
  • United Aeronautical / Blue Aerospace P-3
  • Thrush 510G
  • Aerial Machine & Tool Airtep Extraction Platform
  • Sky IMD Skyhawk with IR downlink

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Social Functions

The Aerial Firefighting 2016 conference dinner, sponsored by DynCorp International will be taking place in the evening of the 22nd March 2016. More details to follow shortly. 
An evening drinks reception will take place within the exhibition hall on the 22nd March 2016. More details to follow shortly. 
Participation Options  

AFF International 2016 provides organisations with a unique opportunity to showcase their latest products and services to a highly focused & pertinent global audience of AFF operators, professionals, pilots and service providers.

It remains THE must attend event in the AFF calendar for anyone involved in the field of aerial firefighting.

Click here to download the AFF 2016 Prospectus


Bronze sponsorship packages have now sold out.
Silver and Gold packages are available to book for a limited time only: 
Conference speaking slot •  Exhibition space  • Company representative places • Sponsorship of networking functions & registration area •  Pre-organised private briefing / meeting area •  Introductions to key delegations  •  Company branded badges and lanyards  •  Online and print advertising space •  Participation in the aerial and static demonstrations


Package benefits included:
  1. Exhibition booth with name board & furniture
  2. Company representative places
  3. Participation in the aerial and static demonstrations
  4. Introductions to key delegations on-site
  5. Invitation to all networking functions & Award Ceremony
Exhibition spaces have now sold out!
Contact Lauran Allen for any exhibition enquiries
Package benefits include:
  1. Access to conference sessions and exhibition hall
  2. Invitation to all networking functions & Award Ceremony
  3. Entrance to the aerial and static demonstrations
delegate booking
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Dyncorp - DI Logo - Blue 654 copy
DynCorp International is a leading global services provider offering unique, tailored solutions for an ever-changing world. Built on more than six  decades of experience as a trusted partner to commercial, government and military customers, DI provides sophisticated aviation, logistics,  training, intelligence and operational solutions wherever we are needed. DynCorp International is headquartered in McLean, Va. 
Joint Gold Sponsor - BAE
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft is the OEM and Type Certificate holder for the BAe146/Avro RJ aircraft. We continue to  retain whole aircraft design and engineering capability, coupled with a premier supply chain and provide extensive OEM support services globally. Our EASA DOA & POA  approvals allow us to offer integrated solutions for any fixed wing aircraft type.
Joint Gold Sponsor - Neptune
In 2010, Neptune Aviation Services became the world’s first aerial firefighting company to deploy a British Aerospace-built BAe 146-200 regional jet in an airtanker role.  Modified with a 3,000-gallon capacity fire retardant tanking system, the four-engine jet represents the first of a new generation of large airtankers, now part of a fleet of 7.
Joint Gold Sponsor - Airspray
Air Spray has protected our forests and communities from wildfires for 49 years. Our service excellence is why we are continually relied upon to ensure protection from wildfires throughout North America. Air Spray proudly operates a fleet of Airtankers including the BAE-146-200 Aircraft from our base in Chico, California.
PHOS-CHeK PMS 185 and Black_Thick_300_14May14
ICL, a global manufacturer of products based on unique minerals, fulfills humanity’s essential needs, primarily in three markets: agriculture, food and engineered materials. The Company’s diversified portfolio of minerals and downstream products help to increase global food supplies, improve industrial materials and processes, and make energy exploration activities more efficient and eco-friendly.
Elbit Systems - Aerospace .png   
Elbit Systems Ltd. is an international high technology company engaged in a wide range of defense, homeland security and commercial programs throughout the world. The Company, which includes Elbit Systems and its subsidiaries, operates in the areas of aerospace, land and naval systems, command, control, communications, computers, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance ("C4ISR"), unmanned aircraft systems, advanced electro-optics, electro-optic space systems, EW suites, signal intelligence systems, data links and communications systems, radios and cyber-based systems. The Company also focuses on the upgrading of existing platforms, developing new technologies for defense, homeland security and commercial applications and providing a range of support services, including training and simulation systems. Elbit Systems also develops new innovative technologies for Aerial Firefighting and is the Israeli Aerial Firefighting Operator.
Airbus Helicopters Lockup CMYK

Airbus Helicopters Inc. is the U.S. affiliate of Airbus Helicopters, the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world, and a subsidiary of the Airbus Group. Airbus Helicopters Inc. is a manufacturer, markets, sells and supports the broadest range of civil and parapublic helicopters offered in the U.S. The product line represents the industry’s most cost-effective, technologically-advanced helicopters serving all markets and missions. The company’s headquarters and main facility are in Grand Prairie, Texas with a large manufacturing and production facility in Columbus, Miss. 


Conair_AF_logo PMS1795

Conair Group Inc. is a privately-owned Aviation Company specialized in the provision of aerial fire control services and products. Conair is headquartered at the Abbotsford International Airport in British Columbia, Canada.
Conair has provided world class Aerial Forest Fire Management services to a wide variety of Domestic and International Forest Protection Agencies for over 47 years and continues to work closely with numerous Protection Programs to find innovative solutions to economic, operational and technical challenges. Conair’s corporate and business strategy is singularly focused on providing Aerial Forest Fire Management Services and Products. Conair has developed and introduced a multitude of next generation Airtanker and Birddog aircraft for leading our customer air attack programs in effectiveness and efficiency.
Contact Lauran Box      
Walt darran award
The Walt Darran International Aerial Firefighting Award is presented annually to recognise a significant contribution by an individual or organisation to aerial firefighting. It was first awarded in 2014 at the Aerial Firefighting Conference in Sacramento, CA, USA.
The International Aerial Firefighting Award is named after the late Walt Darran who was a highly experienced airtanker pilot from California, USA and a constant and passionate advocate for safety and improvement in aerial firefighting industry.
The award is administered by the Walt Darran Award Committee which is currently made up of a consortium of existing groups involved in aerial firefighting from International Fire Aviation Working Group (IFAWG), UN-ISDR Wildland Fire Advisory Group (WFAG) members & Associated Aerial Firefighters.
walt darran box
The International Aerial Firefighting Award is named after the late Walt Darran, pictured below, who was a highly experienced airtanker pilot from California, USA. He was a constant and passionate advocate for safety and improvement in aerial firefighting. He acted as President of the AAF-Association of Aerial Firefighters from 2009-2013.
Walt Darran Award pic 1 - Walt Darran
George Petterson (below), formerly of the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), was the first recipient of the Walt Darran International Aerial Firefighting Award in 2014.
Walt Darran Award pic 2 - Presentation of award 2014
George received the Award because he was instrumental in determining the cause of two fatal crashes of air tankers. The National Transportation Safety Board investigated the 2002 inflight wing failure of a US Forest Service (USFS) Lockheed C-130, which led to the grounding of the entire firefighting fleet.
The investigation stirred the curiosity about a 1994 crash of a C-130 in which the wing also came apart during firefighting. Petterson retrieved evidence from that crash in mountainous terrain, showing how a fatigue crack had grown unseen beneath a doubler in a manner similar to that experienced by the 2002 crash aircraft. Due to Petterson’s initiative, the NTSB changed the probable cause of the 1994 accident to fatigue cracking.
Colonel Philippe Bodino (below), of French Securité Civile, was the second recipient of the Walt Darran International Aerial Firefighting Award in 2015.
WDA 2015 - 1 (F. Marsaly)
Colonel Philippe Bodino contributed to the improvement of operational procedures in the fight against forest fires through the air assets. He participated in the development of the national strategy in massive attack of fire starts and constantly improved the safety of pilots and first responders.
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Convention Centre 200px
5411 Luce Avenue, North Highlands, CA 95652, USA
Travelling by Air
The closest airport to the McClellan Conference Centre is Sacramento International Airport and is approximately 20 minutes by road. The next closest airport is San Francisco International Airport and is 2 hours by road.
Travelling by Road (from Sacramento International Airport)
Car Hire: Please click here.
Taxi: All taxis are located in the ground transportation area adjacent to the baggage claim area. Cost: $3 flag drop, $2.50 for each additional mile. Rate to wait is $25 per hour. Round-trip between SMF and downtown Sacramento is $66.00. Seniors and military personnel are eligible for a 20% discount Reservations/Information: +1 916 444 0008
Complimentary Shuttle Service: The Lions Gate Hotel (recommended hotel accommodation) is providing a complimentary shuttle service to and from Sacramento International Airport. Please contact Lauran Allen at for more information.
Parking: The McClellan Conference Centre provides complimentary parking for all visitors. The car park is located directly outside the main entrance of the conference centre.
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The Lions Gate hotel accommodation has now sold out. If you haven't booked your accommodation for the event yet, Tangent Link are advising attendees to book at the nearby Crowne Plaza Sacramento Northeast Hotel.

5321 Date Avenue, Sacramento, California 958441, USA
A short 7 minute drive away from the McClellan Conference Centre. Complimentary parking is available at the hotel for all guests. 
To take advantage of the Tangent Link room block, guests can either call +1 877 504 0054 and ask for "TANGENT LINK" or book directly through the link below by clicking on the link:
Contact Lauran Box 2


Demonstrations - Group wave          

Previous events  
Zadar, Croatia | April 2015
Europe’s Aerial firefighting resources operating in the remotest of locations are being pushed to their limits. Cross border co-operation could be a game changer however this brings its own operational challenges.
AFF Europe which took place in March 2015, attracted aerial firefighting operators, experts and suppliers from around the world .In particular, AFF 2015 was well supported by the Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Initiative (DPPI), a stability pact organisation for Southern Europe and whose 12 member states include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia and Turkey.
Sacramento CA, USA | March 2014
AFF USA 2014 which took place in Sacramento of March 2014 was set to address the global economic climate, as agriculture, forestry & firefighting departments come under increasing budgetary pressure for performance and spending, particularly in relation to large wildfire incidents.
Previous events