Monday, March 5, 2018

ARFF Operations at Air Shows


"Waddington Air Show 361" by Alan Schoolar

The 2018 edition of NFPA 403, Standard for Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Services at Airports, includes an added section (Chapter 10, Special Events) for ARFF services at air shows.  Though it is a short section, it provides needed minimum guidance for ARFF departments tasked with hosting these events.

  • ARFF units must be able to respond and deploy agents within 60 seconds, within the aerobatic box.
Aerobatic box: airspace at an airshow where aircraft are authorized to perform aerobatic maneuvers.
  • Firefighter shall have full PPE donned during the period of air show waiver.
Air show waiver: FAA document that authorizes certain aircraft operations to deviate from a regulation

  • ARFF apparatus must continuously have their engines running.
  • A pre-plan must be created and shared with fire department personnel.
  • At least (1) Firefighter from each ARFF apparatus must meet with the pilot-in-command to discuss the following items:
    • Emergency extraction
    • Canopy release
    • Fuel shutoff
    • Master on/off switch
    • Aircraft lift points
  • The fire department must meet with air traffic control tower operators, air show operators, and air boss to determine:
    • Standard radio communications
    • runway/taxiway clearances
  • Incident Commander (or a Liason) should be stationed with the air bos throughout the air show.

Air boss: individual with primary responsibility for air show operations