National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Interagency Helicopter Screening and Evaluation Subcommittee

IHSES header graphic.  Photo of a helicopter with a water bucket flying over mountains. Inset photos of a helicopter with a cable strung out in front of it, and another photo with a helicopter ground crew checking equipment in the helicopter. Decorative.

Mission Statement

When requested the Interagency Helicopter Screening and Evaluation Subcommittee (IHSES) evaluates helicopters and related accessories for potential use in interagency fleet or contract helicopter operations.

Primary Objectives

Photo of El Capitan with a temporary helibase located in foreground. Decorative.

  • Evaluation of aircraft and accessories which have no historic precedence in natural resource flight operations.
  • Develop guidance for nomination of potential aircraft and or accessories.
  • Establish, document and implement a standardized helicopter evaluation process. 
  • Establish, document and implement a standardized accessory evaluation process.

IHSES Standard Operating Procedures

Once an aircraft or accessory nomination has been approved by NIAC, the IHSES will:

  • Develop an individual testing and evaluation plan for nominated aircraft and/or accessories tailored to the requesting agency or mission needs.  Plans will address, at minimum, the following 9 elements:  safety, performance, support requirements, field evaluation results, cost, advantages/disadvantages, policy, agreements and guides, recommended action (approve/disapprove).
  • Establish agreements for funding, contracting language, policy acceptations and any other required documentation to ensure testing can be completed.
  • Provide regular updates on IHSES activities, testing progression and accomplishments to NIAC.
  • Present test plan results to NIAC for approval.
  • Document NIAC's decision and maintain list of approved aircraft and accessories.

The IHSES will consist of three members to provide support during the development of the nomination and evaluation process.  Once an aircraft or accessory has been nominated and approved, the IHSES composition will be dictated by the scope of work.  Composition of the IHSES will depend extensively on the mission requirements of the nomination and the complexity of the test plan.


Bill Sloan
NWCG Coordinator: 
Carmen Thomason
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