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Saturday, March 31, 2012

DynCorp earns award for CAL FIRE aircraft support

 DynCorp International Earns Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Diamond Award for Excellence

  DynCorp International has earned the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) prestigious Diamond Award for Excellence for its support of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE).

DI flies and maintains Grumman S-2T fire retardant air tankers and OV-10A aircraft, and fully maintains and services civilian UH-1H Super Huey helicopters flown by CAL FIRE pilots.

“We are proud that our aviation management staff and DynCorp International mechanics maintain the largest wildland air fleet in the world with an award winning safety and maintenance program.”

The FAA's Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Award program is based entirely on the commitment of maintenance technicians to improve safety by actively participating in initial and recurring training programs to further their technical knowledge. The Diamond Award is the highest corporate award, and the program includes both individual and corporate recognition.

“Firefighting aircraft play a pivotal support role in helping our firefighters suppress California's devastating wildfires,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE Director. “We are proud that our aviation management staff and DynCorp International mechanics maintain the largest wildland air fleet in the world with an award winning safety and maintenance program.”

The award recognizes 100-percent participation in training by Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanics who complete FAA-certified training online and document completion of DI annual maintenance training. In addition to the Diamond Award, which is presented to the company, each mechanic receives an Aviation Maintenance Technician award based on the number of training hours logged.

“Receiving this award is an honor and reflects the exceptional maintenance performed by DI team members for CAL FIRE aircraft that are responsible for helping suppress and control wild land fires on more than 30 million acres of land. Each DI technician working in the CAL FIRE program is committed and dedicated to continuously improving their knowledge base,” said Jeffrey Cavarra, CAL FIRE program manager for DynCorp International.

More about CAL FIRE Aircraft: In support of its ground forces, the CAL FIRE emergency response air program includes23 Grumman S-2T 1,200 gallon airtankers (one is kept as maintenance relief), 11 UH-1H Super Huey helicopters (two are kept as maintenance relief, and 14 OV-10A airtactical aircraft (one is kept as maintenance relief). From 13 air attack and nine helitack bases located statewide, aircraft can reach most fires within 20 minutes.

The airtactical planes fly overhead directing the airtankers and helicopters to critical areas of the fire for retardant and water drops. The retardant used to slow or retard the spread of a fire is a slurry mix consisting of a chemical salt compound, water, clay or a gum-thickening agent, and a coloring agent.

While both airtankers and helicopters are equipped to carry fire retardant or water, the helicopters can also transport firefighters, equipment and injured personnel. All CAL FIRE Aircraft are strategically located throughout the state at airbases and helicopter bases. During high fire activity, CAL FIRE may move aircraft to better provide statewide air support.

The average annual budget of the CAL FIRE Aviation Management Program is nearly $20 million. A total of 18 CAL FIRE personnel oversee the program with an additional 130 contract employees providing mechanical, pilot and management services to the program.

CAL FIRE's current support contractors are DynCorp and Logistics Specialties Incorporated (LSI). DynCorp provides airtanker and airtactical plane pilot services, and all aircraft maintenance services. (All CAL FIRE helicopters are flown by CAL FIRE pilots.) LSI provides procurement and parts management services.

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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