Coulson C-130 – Warbird Wednesday Episode #218

A huge thank you to Coulson Aviation for training in Palm Springs at our facility this past week!

The idea of fighting forest fires from the air dates back at least as far as Friedrich Karl von Koenig-Warthausen’s observations on seeing a blaze when overflying the Santa Lucia Range, California, in 1929.

A wide variety of terminology has been used in the popular media for the aircraft (and methods) used in aerial firefighting. The terms airtanker or air tanker generally refer to fixed-wing aircraft based in the United States; “airtanker” is used in official documentation. The term “waterbomber” is used in some Canadian government documents for the same class of vehicles, though it sometimes has a connotation of amphibians.

Air attack is an industry term used for the actual application of aerial resources, both fixed-wing and rotorcraft, on a fire. Within the industry, though, “air attack” may also refer to the supervisor in the air (usually in a fixed-wing aircraft) who supervises the process of attacking the wildfire from the air, including fixed-wing airtankers, helicopters, and any other aviation resources assigned to the fire. The Air Tactical Group Supervisor (ATGS), often called “air attack”, is usually flying at an altitude above other resources assigned to the fire, often in a fixed-wing plane but occasionally (depending on assigned resources or the availability of qualified personnel) in a helicopter.

As the only aerial firefighting company operating both fixed-wing aircraft and Type 1 helicopters, Coulson Aviation (USA) Inc. is fully equipped to carry out aerial firefighting across the globe. With their proprietary technology, multiple aircraft types, and highly experienced attack crews they can fight fires on multiple continents simultaneously.

They are world leaders in aerial firefighting innovation, providing meticulously serviced aircraft in order to safely and efficiently attack fires 24/7. Their fleet currently features custom designed Hercules C-130s, Sikorsky S-61 helicopters, Boeing Chinook CH-47 helitankers, Sikorsky Black Hawk UH-60 helitankers, and a custom-converted Boeing 737 FireLiner.