Simultaneous Loading and Fueling (SL+F) Airtankers

Aviation: Airtanker
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Nov 2020


SL+F is a relatively new process for airtankers, having been approved in 2014. When done correctly, it is very safe and reduces time spent on the ground, which makes delivery of fire retardant to the incident more expeditious. Only airtankers with nationally-approved risk assessments and procedures specific to SL+F will be allowed to take part in the procedure.

Each base that plans to take part in SL+F of airtankers must have a written plan approved by their regional/state Aviation Officer/Manager or equivalent.

Discuss process, procedures, and personnel needed to execute a SL+F.

  • Have all current ramp personnel reviewed the plan and had training specific to SL+F?
  • Only the Airtanker Base Manager (ATBM), in agreement with the pilot, can request to SL+F. Discuss the regularity at which this operation takes place.
    • What are the trigger points and how is the decision communicated to the Ramp Manager (RAMP)?
  • At your base, will the Fixed Wing Parking Tender (FWPT) have full view of both the retardant loading and fueling operation in all parking configurations? Discuss where the FWPT must stand in order to observe the entire operation.
    • What are the possible hazards of the operation?
    • What does the FWPT need to stop the operation if there is a hazard present?
  • How will personnel operating a SL+F on the ramp effectively communicate an issue that could compromise safety?
    • Who is responsible for identifying safety issues on the ramp and how do they communicate these issues?
  • When both loading and fueling operations are taking place on the same side of an airtanker all participants must ensure these functions stay apart from each other.
    • Discuss whether base allows SL+F and when it can be authorized to be on the same side versus opposite sides of the fuselage.
    • What are the procedures for maintaining separation during same-side operations at your base?

Additional Resources

Incident Management Situation Report (IMSR)
Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461
NWCG Standards for Helicopter Operations, PMS 510
RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)
Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

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