Article by Rogue Valley International Medford Airport Captain Tony Incerty
I recently had the privilege of attending the FAR Part 139 Annual Live Fire Exercises at the Fox Valley Technical College Aircraft Recue Fire Fighting Program. I was impressed at the level of expertise and the willingness to accommodate my training needs. The class was led by Instructor Ben Sokol and assisted by Jeremy Hanson and our own Captain Ben Holle of Austin Straubel Airport. This crew worked together seamlessly and had no hesitation providing constructive criticism as well as helpful tips for effective firefighting.
To begin the class, I was given ample time to become familiar with their impeccably kept OshKosh Striker 6X6. Coming from a Rosenbauer, this was most advantageous for me to focus on approach and attack of the fires vs. fumbling around with controls due to unfamiliarity. I found that to be a refreshing change from past trainings at other locations that are more of a point and shoot strategy. I had the pleasure of attacking a wheel fire, engine fire, fuel spill fire and a combination to finish off the truck ops. A very unique feature I found here is that you can actually drive the Crash Truck through the burn pit and between a separated wing making it feel very real world for me.
This facility also made use of a Cessna sized burn prop which I have not seen at any of the 4 other facilities I’ve used.
We ran multiple scenarios on the handline inside of their Boeing 777 prop enabling me to use all of the techniques for an interior aircraft fire.
At the end of the day, I was very pleased that I chose to attend Live Fire at the ATW ARFF Training Center and we plan to send more personnel there in the coming year. A huge thanks to the very skilled training crew for all of their attention and to Pro-Tec for allowing me this opportunity.