The International Aerial Firefighting Awards are presented annually to recognise a significant contribution by an individual or organisation to aerial firefighting. The winners will be announced at the Aerial Firefighting Conference Dinner on 19th March 2019 during Aerial Firefighting Europe 2019 in Nîmes, France.
Nominations are invited in two categories – Contribution to Aerial Firefighting Safety, and Industry Innovation and Advancement. When making a nomination, consider individuals or organisations who have made a significant contribution to furthering the safety and/or efficiency of aerial firefighting.
The closing date for nominations is 1st March 2019. The Awards committee will convene after the close of nominations to consider nominated candidates and select the winners. The committee are peers of the global aerial firefighting community.
Nominations may be made by any individual or organisation who can reasonably be considered by the Committee to be a member of the global aerial firefighting or wild land firefighting communities. The nominator must be clearly identified on the form, including their contact details, Individuals or organisations may not nominate themselves.
The International Aerial Firefighting Awards were inaugurated in 2014 in honour of the late Walt Darran and were previous known as ‘Walt Darran Award’. Walt was a pioneer and advocate for advances in aerial firefighting. Besides being a highly experienced S2-T airtanker pilot and former highly decorated US Navy aviator, his inspiration was a constant and passionate advocate for safety and improvement in the international aerial firefighting community.
Previous winners have included
- Jim Cook of Cal Fire, whose very substantial 10,000 flying hours of aerial firefighting led to the design and implementation of the Fire Traffic Area in airspace management
- George Patterson from NTSB raised the bar on airtanker maintenance and new programs have been implemented since to improve safety of aerial firefighters globally.
- Jacques Bonneval from Sécurité Civile brought extensive operational experience to the National Aerial Fire Fighting organisation, where he implemented policies and processes to further enhance air-to-ground cooperation for safer, more efficient and more effective use of waterbombers
Walt Darran (1940-2013) truly embodied the Aviator pioneering spirit and continued to be active in the international aerial firefighting community right up to his untimely death in 2013. After nineteen years seasons as an air tanker captain, Walt finally retired from flying aerial firefighting missions in 2009 and took up the mantle of President of the Association of Aerial Firefighters, now known as the Associated Aerial Firefighters (AAF). With the experience of 25,000 flying hours, including 1,500 in helicopters, Walt committing the last decade of his life to promoting training and improving flight safety for aerial firefighting pilots.
For more information on Aerial Firefighting Europe 2019 – when the Awards will be presented, please visit https://www.aerial-firefighting-europe.com.