Aircraft Base Radio Operator

ABRO decorative banner: photos depicting ABRO position. ABRO Position Description: The Aircraft Base Radio Operator (ABRO) reports to the Helibase Manager or Fixed-Wing Base Manager and is responsible for establishing communication between incident assigned aircraft and airbases, Air Tactical Group Supervisor, Air Operations Branch Director, and the Takeoff and Landing Coordinator.

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ABRO Incident Position Description

NOTE: This Incident Position Description (IPD) is under development. Learn more about IPDs and other NWCG improvement efforts on our Systems Improvement Page. Please contribute to this effort by providing feedback via the Comment button on this page.

The ABRO is supervised by the Helibase Manager (HEBM) and is responsible for establishing and facilitating communications among incident or project assigned helicopters, helibases, helispots, air operations staff and/or Resource Aviation Manager.  This individual is key to efficient communications, flight following, mission assignments and providing takeoff and landing advisories.

The ABRO should communicate frequently with the Helibase Manager (HEBM) concerning mission assignments, priorities, etc. The Helibase Manager (HEBM) should review the requirements of Helibase Mission Request Log, HBM-6, and Flight Following Log, HBM-5, with the ABRO(s) prior to the start of operations.

After the morning briefing, the ABRO should review the Incident Action or Project Aviation Plan in depth. The ABRO should post ICS Form 205, Incident Radio Communication Plan, for quick reference. The position is instrumental in recommending and establishing a communication plan for the helibase.

Information from the Communication Plan, ICS-205, should be transferred to the Helibase Organization Chart, which lists aircraft frequencies, and to the Air Operations Communications Plan.

Minimum training, qualification and currency requirements of the Aircraft Base Radio Operator position on incidents are outlined in the NIMS: Wildland Fire Qualification System Guide, PMS 310-1.
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Aircraft Base Radio Operator Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Obtain briefing from Helibase Manager (HEBM); obtain Incident Action or Project Aviation Safety Plan, or, at a minimum, Air Operations Summary, ICS-220, Communications Plan, ICS-205, Medical Unit Plan, ICS-206, and Incident or Project Map.
  2. Receive orders for support or tactical missions, enter on the Helibase Mission Request Log, and assign these missions in consultation with the Helibase Manager. If conflicts among missions occur, the ABRO should inform the Helibase Manager.
  3. Coordinate with the Helibase Manager (HEBM), Deck Coordinator  (DECK) and Parking Tenders on helicopter flight routes and patterns; establish approach/departure procedures with Pilots; ensure established flight routes and patterns in and out of the helibase are maintained; control movement of helicopters in hover lanes.
  4. If applicable, receive approval from ATGS or HLCO before directing aircraft for takeoff.
  5. Establish procedures for and maintain flight following with all assigned aircraft utilizing the Helibase Flight Following Log.
  6. Establish and maintain discrete communications with all incoming and outgoing helicopters.
  7. Obtain necessary timekeeping forms and record operational times of assigned helicopters; as needed, track available time (flight and duty day) remaining utilizing the Helibase Flight Time Tracking Record; record other information on the Helibase Aircraft Information Summary.
  8. Understand crash rescue and medevac procedures and notifications; notify supervisor immediately of any overdue, missing, or crashed aircraft; institute emergency response procedures if necessary. Refer to the Helibase Emergency Response Plan and Incident Medical Plan, ICS 206.
  9. Coordinate with the Helibase Manager (HEBM) and Deck Coordinator  (DECK), attend the nightly debriefing and provide feedback on problems encountered; recommend corrective actions.




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