Air Operations is responsible for the training and management of smokejumper aircraft, pilots, spotters, and assistant spotters.
Alaska smokejumper aircraft consist of 3 CASA-212-200 aircraft and 1 Dornier 228 aircraft. All aircraft are contracted from 120 to 90 days with extensions dependent on fire activity. The first aircraft typically starts on April 1st with the last aircraft ending its contract in mid-September.
Both aircraft types are typically configured to carry 8 smokejumpers, chainsaws, pumps, and supplies for 3 days with a standard fuel loading in excess of 3 hours.
The CASA 212 features an in-flight rear ramp that expedites cargo delivery and is capable of deploying palletized cargo. This efficient, rugged, and versatile aircraft is well suited for Alaska operations. The CASA can be configured to carry up to 14 jumpers for training mission and up to 3 pallets of cargo for paracargo work.
The Dornier 228 is a relatively high speed aircraft with a long operating range. This aircraft is very effective when responding to distant incidents that don’t require large amounts of pumps and hose.
A smokejumper spotter is assigned to each jumpship. The spotter is in charge of the mission and is responsible for communicating with dispatch, selecting an appropriate jumpspot, coordinating airspace, deploying jumpers, and “kicking” the cargo. Spotters are highly experienced jumpers whom are selected based on their technical expertise and leadership abilities.