Aircraft Base Radio Operator, ABRO

Position Category: 
Incident Positions
Position Code: 
Functional Area: 
AD Class: 


The Aircraft Base Radio Operator works directly for the Helibase Manager, Fixed-wing Base Manager or Airtanker Base Manager. 

Major Duties

  • Obtain briefing from the airbase manager; obtain the IAP or PASP or at a minimum the ICS-220, ICS-205, ICS-206, and the associated maps.  Post or coordinate with the Deck Coordinator or Ramp Manager to have the necessary airbase information posted for base personnel.
  • Obtain and maintain forms such as the: flight following log, flight hour tracking log, aircraft summary, aircraft allowable payload chart and the mission request log.
  • For Helibase operations, maintain and post information on dip sites and Helispots.
  • Receive orders for support or tactical missions, enter on the mission request logs and assign these missions in consultation or by designated proxy of the airbase manager. 
  • Ensure airtanker rotation follows established standards per contracts.
  • Coordinate with the airbase manager on establishing taxi routes, flight routes and patterns; ensure subsequent hover patterns and air traffic patterns in and out of the airbase are adhered to.
  • Provide advisory information to inbound and outbound aircraft on deck or ramp activity, winds, hazards, and location of other aircraft.
  • Establish and maintain discrete communications with all incoming and outgoing aircraft. Inform the appropriate airbase personnel of incoming aircraft.
  • Coordinate aircraft departures and flight following from the airbase with the ATGS or dispatch as appropriate.  Coordinate flights and flight request with other airbases if applicable.
  • Verify radio frequencies for incidents daily.  Relay changes to associated aircraft and personnel.  Relay to the airbase manager any communication issues that affect aviation operations.
  • Receive aircraft orders from dispatch, validate frequencies, coordinates and other aircraft assigned to relay to flight crews.
  • Ensure positive communications with Helispots, ICP communications, retardant sites, line personnel, dispatch and other airbases are established.
  • Notify the airbase manager of any aircraft that are approaching flight duty limitations.
  • Understand crash rescue and medivac procedures and notifications; notify airbase manager of any overdue, missing, or crashed aircraft and institute emergency response procedures if necessary.
  • Obtain the Helicopter cost summaries from the Helicopter managers and complete the Helibase daily cost summary prior to the end of each shift and submit to the helibase manager.
  • Compile airtanker and retardant costs for each incident and submit daily cost summaries to the appropriate dispatch centers.
  • Be familiar with UAS intrusion protocol and be able to make the appropriate contacts.

Knowledge Required by the Position

  • The ability to communicate clearly, effectively, and concisely.
  • The ability to function in a dynamic and sometimes high stress environment in a confined space for upwards of 14+ hours a day.
  • Completion of Introduction to ICS (ICS-100) and NIMS: An introduction (IS-700).

Supervisory Controls

  • The employee will act within a framework of independent and dependent decision making to be determined by the supervisor.
  • A certain amount of daily duties will be assigned by the supervisor.
  • Evaluation of work will be a combination of assessing the completion of the daily assigned duties and judging the active performance of the employee.


The employee uses judgment in determining the appropriate actions to take by interpreting existing guidelines in combination with following standard aviation policy. Must be familiar with processes defined in aviation contracts, base operating plans and safety plans. Must have knowledge of aircraft capabilities to ensure appropriate aircraft assignment for missions.

Complexity/Scope and Effect

The work involves ensuring that flight protocols and communication protocols are adhered to.

The work involves problem solving and assisting in problem solving for dynamic situations that arise. The work product is instrumental in incident mission accomplishment and may effect multiple incidents within the response range of the airbase.

Personal Contacts

The employee primarily has contacts with incident employees, agency personnel and contractors directly associated with the incident or airbase operations.

Purpose of Contacts

Purpose of contacts is to plan, coordinate and advise on work program and to resolve operational concerns.

Physical Demands/Work Environment

There is no fitness requirement for this position. The work involves sitting for prolonged periods of time. The work may be performed in a variety of conditions ranging from forest or range environments to airport tarmac. Workspace could range from a vehicle cab or a folding table under a shade tarp in field conditions, to an actual office space in a temporary or permanent structure.  Routinely experiences moderate to heavy radio traffic. Temperatures may vary from below freezing to above 100 degrees F and in smoky conditions. Risks include exposure to excessive aircraft noise. The employee must adjust and cope with exposure to weather elements, dust and smoke, poor sleeping and eating conditions and unpredictable sets of circumstances.  The employee may be required to live in back country camps for extended periods of time. 

Position Needs

There are no prerequisite qualifications to this position.

Training requirements are completion of Introduction to ICS (ICS-100) and NIMS: An introduction (IS-700).



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