National Wildfire Coordinating Group

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

The Aircraft Base Radio Operator (ABRO) serves as a member of an aircraft base staff, assisting the Helibase Manager (HEBM), Airtanker Base Manager (ATBM), and/or Fixed Wing Base Manager (FWBM) in the performance and completion of aircraft missions. The ABRO reports to the HEBM, ATBM, and/or FWBM and works in the Aviation functional area.
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Leadership Level 1, Follower (Provide Action)

  • For additional information review Level 1 description, expected behaviors and knowledge, suggested development goals, and self-study opportunities.

Prepare and Mobilize

  • Ensure individual readiness.
  • Gather critical information pertinent to the assignment.
  • Travel to and checks in at assignment.
  • Review Base Operations Plan and obtain initial briefing from supervisor.

Build the Team

  • Conduct self in a professional manner.
  • Establish and maintain positive interpersonal and interagency working relationships.
  • Use Incident Command System (ICS) terminology, organization, and command structure.
  • Participate in proficiency checks and drills.
  • Calculate amount and type of additional supplies and equipment required and obtain through established ordering procedures. Ensure adequate staffing is in place for anticipated or expected activity.

Supervise and Direct Work Assignments

  • Follow and communicate objectives, priorities, work assignments, and performance expectations.
  • Identify, analyze, and use relevant situational information to make more informed decisions and take appropriate actions.
  • Adjust actions based on changing information and evolving situation awareness. Communicate changing conditions to assigned resources and supervisor.

Perform Aircraft Base Radio Operator Position-Specific Duties

  • Assist supervisor in ensuring operational readiness of aircraft base.
  • Check functionality of assigned radios prior to daily operations.
  • Operate multiple radios (AM, FM, VHF) simultaneously.
  • Verify radio frequencies daily with supervisor and notify them if additional frequencies are needed.
  • Use current flight following software.
  • Flight follow aircraft using the identified procedures and maintain a log of aircraft takeoffs, landings, estimated time of arrival (ETA), estimated time of departure (ETD), and flight route check-ins.

Communicate and Coordinate

  • Communicate using ICS terminology and clear text.
  • Obtain daily or more frequent briefings from supervisor.
  • Coordinate aircraft departures from base with appropriate aerial supervision or dispatch.
  • Maintain communication with appropriate incident functions including, but not limited to dispatch, logistics, helispots, or incident aircraft.
  • Follow established processes and chain of command for collecting, producing, and distributing information.
  • Communicate changing conditions to supervisor.
  • Participate in daily briefing and/or functional area briefings and After Action Review (AAR).

Manage Risk

  • Apply the Risk Management Process as stated in the NWCG Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461:
    • Identify Hazards.
    • Assess Hazards.
    • Develop Controls and Make Risk Decisions.
    • Implement Controls.
    • Supervise and Evaluate.
  • Report hazards, injuries, incidents, and accidents to supervisor immediately.
  • Review the helibase crash rescue plan, incident medical plan, NWCG Aviation Mishap Response Guide, PMS 503, and/or local emergency response plan and compete a scenario-based exercise for overdue aircraft, missing aircraft, or other aviation mishaps. Manage the medical emergency based on procedures stated in the Medical Incident Report, helibase crash rescue plan, and/or other relevant guidelines.
  • Implement the SAFECOM process when necessary.


  • Complete, authorize, ensure timeliness of, and route as required:
    • Aviation forms, reports, and requisitions
    • Mission request logs
    • Radio logs
    • Aircraft timekeeping forms
    • Crew Time Report (CTR), SF-261 (Watch: How to correctly fill out a CTR)
    • Incident Personnel Performance Rating (ICS 225 WF)
    • General Message (ICS 213)
    • Activity Log (ICS 214)
    • Agency-specific forms
  • Ensure forms/logs are appropriate to assignment complexity.
  • Acquire and post necessary materials and documents in the work area for reference.


  • Follow demobilization instructions from supervisor.
  • Check out with incident or dispatch to demobilize.
  • Ensure incident and agency demobilization procedures and work/rest standards are followed.


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