SEAT airtanker midair, Nevada


Staff member
How are the sorties coordinated? From the ground or someone like a forward air controller?
depends on the size of the fire. You could have small tankers coordinating amongst one another or operating independently, all the way up to an air attack plane and/or lead plane running aerial coordination of multiple tankers.


Give your balls a tug Jonsey..
I don't have my card, so I don't know much about how SEATs operate. When I was doing an aircraft owner checkout in Deer Park WA, there was a SEAT base there. They did have a Twin Commander depart with them so I would assume that is standard practice with all SEAT ops.


Corporate "Baggage Tetris" Master
It’s been about 7 years since I did Air Attack, but our ops method was to have positive-control direction of the SEATs while they were inbound to the fire site, lining up for their drop, or holding out for their turn to drop.
The only time we didn’t have eyes on them was when they were out for reloading or we were out for refueling.

Unfortunately there’s a lot of need to be focusing on the ground during SEAT operations, which is why we’d do overwatch for them to help with separation. It’ll be interesting to see what happened here.


Well-Known Member
I see the Fire Boss floatplanes working in my area. They seem pretty autonomous to me. There will be three to five of them working together and they just follow what the first plane does.

A Life Aloft

Civilian Patriot
How horrible. You really have to feel awful for the pilots and their loved ones........also the loss of these planes that are very much needed. It's such a high risk job and each year there seems to be a loss of one or more firefighting planes.Theses pilots are a special breed. Not everyone can accomplish the type of flying they do and in that environment. Damn. I hope the NTSB is able to piece together/discover what least as a teachable moment/ if any good can come out of such a tragedy. Really sad.
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