CFA firefighters switched to airplane mode for an all-day aerial firefighting training exercise at Lilydale Airport on Sunday, 1 December.
Firefighters from Districts 8, 13 and 14 got involved in communication activities during water bombing procedures, aircraft loading operations and aircraft assessments.
As part of the Aviation Communication Evaluation (ACE) training, crews observed a number of water drops from helicopters and airplanes in the Dixons Creek area and discussed their communication strategy with other members.
District 13 Acting Operations Manager Tim Holland said the training aimed to enhance the communication between crews operating on the ground and pilots providing aerial assistance.
“The training was focused on our members learning and developing their skills to communicate directly with pilots and provide feedback to the aircraft on the effectiveness of their water bombing operations,” Mr Holland said.
“There will always be a need for firefighting aircraft. They’re a key component in helping reduce the spread of fires in support of our ground crews.
“There are 50 aircraft across the state on contract this season plus more available through the Call When Needed arrangements, which can be deployed from 21 primary airbases.”
Mr Holland said the training also served as an opportunity for firefighters to practice safety procedures when operating near drop zones.
“There are a significant amount of aerial firefighting resources available to assist our ground crews, so it’s vital we introduce our members to this type of aviation communication training,” he said.