Aviation Watch Outs

Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Nov 2020


As part of risk management, especially during high activity fires, each aviation manager and employee should be asking questions about every mission.

  • Is the flight necessary?
  • Who is in charge?
  • Are hazards identified and known?
    • Have flight hazards been assessed? Have the pilots been informed?
  • Should the operation or the flight be stopped due to a change in conditions? Consider the following:
    • Radio communications.
    • Environmental conditions – weather, visibility, terrain, elevation, temperatures.
    • Mission priorities.
    • Successful mission completion probabilities.
  • Is there a better way to complete the mission?
  • Is there pressure to complete a mission at all costs?
  • Can you justify your actions?
  • Is the mission airspace confined or congested?
    • Multiple aircraft.
    • Mixed types of aircraft.
    • Poor visibility.
  • Do you have an escape route?
  • Are any guidelines or policies being ignored?
  • Is communication between any individuals strained or tense?
  • Are you deviating from the assigned operation or flight?


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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