In the wake of the devastating 2019 / 20 fires, Lindsay Fox, Founder of logistics company LinFox, has teamed up with aerial firefighting company Coulson Aviation to create Australia’s first national approach to the provision of high capacity fire and emergency aviation services that can operate at night as well as day, with the aim of launching in summer 2021.
The proposed fleet of large fixed-wing air tankers, super-heavy helicopters and fire intelligence gathering aircraft, will be based and operated throughout the States and Territories in Australia, with maintenance and support infrastructure supplied in New South Wales and Victoria. The team intends to work with State Governments, Territories, emergency services agencies, and within any framework agreed by the Federal Government.
Optimal coverage during the fire seasons
The high-capacity 365-days-a-year fleet is intended to offer firebombing, intelligence gathering and aerial firefighting support services during the fire seasons, but also search and rescue, surveillance and medical evacuation services at other times.
“We will offer co-ordinated, national coverage by ensuring our fleet is positioned around the country for optimal coverage during the fire seasons,” said Fox.
Chairman of Coulson Aviation Australia Wayne Coulson added: “We’ve learned through many major fire campaigns globally the enormous effect of large capacity air tankers in managing bushfires, particularly when we bring the fight at night; this results in lives saved and houses standing and that’s why we do what we do.”
Improving the nation’s aerial firefighting
“There is always an opportunity to improve our nation’s approach to aerial firefighting,’’ explained Fox. “Each of the States and Territories are responsible for their own emergency response, so each response varies. As our fire seasons get longer – and become more dangerous and unpredictable, the most sensible – and safe – solution is a co-ordinated, national approach.”
The benefits of a national approach to aviation backed by the Fox Coulson consortium includes the ability to have a sovereign fleet of high capacity, big aircraft that can operate night and day across Australia, working in conjunction with state and territories and smaller operators.
The consortium aims to fulfil the requirements of both State and Federal Governments to provide a national solution and support operations resourced in Australia, creating hundreds of jobs and, according to Coulson, ‘hopefully, we will save many more lives’.
Coulson is currently operating firefighting missions on four continents, with plans for continued expansion globally. Recently, Coulson Aviation was awarded a five-year aerial firefighting contract for its Boeing 737 FIRELINER aircraft by the United States Forest Service.