Wing Walking

Aviation: Airtanker
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Nov 2020


Wing walking can be crucial to airtanker base safety when the Fixed Wing Parking Tender (FWPT) cannot see or judge the distances between the aircraft being parked and any obstacle nearby. Wing walkers add assurance to pilots as they taxi into parking areas, ensuring proper wing clearance to advance.

Discuss the following items before deploying personnel in this function.

  • Is there enough safety equipment available for each wing walker employed during an operation?
    • Proper colored vests.
    • Marshalling wands – lighted wands or light sticks for low-light operations.
    • Radios and headsets.
  • What is the best position for the wing walker, as the aircraft moves, to view possible points of impact?
  • Do all personnel understand distance requirements for aircraft wing placement from any object?
    Discuss the 30 feet and 10 feet restrictions.
    • Utilize wing walkers anytime any part of the aircraft is within 30 feet of an object over 3 feet in height.
    • Aircraft will not be taxied where any part of the aircraft comes within 10 feet of an object over 3 feet in height. Ensure ample vertical clearance of wing and obstacles is observed.
  • FWPTs and wing walkers must stay in constant communications by radio or hand signal.
  • Wing walkers must assess the speed of incoming aircraft and request the FWPT to slow them down if they will not have time to judge a distance before possible impact.
  • What items should be discussed in a pre-wing walking briefing?
  • Have all potential wing walkers completed the IAT Fixed Wing Parking Tender training?
  • Who at your base is authorized to be a wing walker?


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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