Aircraft and pilots for fire management in Kimberley Region

Statement of requirements

The Western Australian Department of Biodiversity, Conservation, and Attractions (DBCA) is seeking the provision of fixed-wing aircraft, either with turbine or piston engines, accompanied by qualified pilots.  Provision of Aircraft and Pilots for Fire Management in Kimberley Region—Request Number: DBCA440ST3172023.

These aircraft and pilots will play a crucial role in carrying out multiple tasks as part of DBCA’s fire management operations. The primary focus is on the fire management in Kimberley Region, with potential deployment to other regions in Western Australia as needed.

The contracted aircraft may be stationed at different centres or airstrips, depending on seasonal conditions. There’s a strong preference for the contracted company and aircraft to be based at the nominated operating base in Kununurra. Services are generally scheduled between February and July, but some aerial charter services may be requested at any point throughout the contract term.

The contractor is expected to undertake a range of responsibilities in support of DBCA’s fire management and general operations, including:

  • aerial ignition (prescribed burning)
  • air charter for reconnaissance and staff/equipment transportation
  • fire support activities such as personnel transport, air attack platform, logistical deliveries, and reconnaissance

The total flying hours during each 12-month period are estimated to be not less than 150 hours, based on historical data from past aircraft usage.

Aerial ignition (prescribed burning)

Fixed wing aircraft have traditionally been used for aerial ignition of a variety of vegetation types to achieve management objectives. Ignition is undertaken using an aerial incendiary machine.

The aerial incendiary machine installation must meet the airworthiness requirements relevant to the aircraft.  In addition to the pilot to be supplied by the contractor, the flight crew for this operation (supplied by DBCA) includes an Incendiary Operations Supervisor (IOS), an approved Aerial Incendiary Bombardier (AIB) and may include a trainee. The AIB is responsible for the incendiary machine maintenance and operation. The IOS manages the airborne component of aerial ignition operation which includes directing the pilot on flight lines and techniques to ensure correct placement of the incendiary capsules within the burn target area.

Aircraft burns ignited by the aerial incendiary machine vary in size but typically range from thousands to several hundred thousand  hectares. Lines are flown at a minimum 500 feet above ground level (AGL) with the assistance of a Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation system at speeds from 90 to 140knots ground speed.

Maintenance and servicing

DBCA requires the contractor to maintain the aircraft in accordance with regulatory requirements for charter operations, an approved maintenance schedule, or the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. The contractor should ensure that aircraft and equipment unserviceability is addressed promptly, within two hours of notification during normal business hours.

Record keeping fire management in Kimberley Region

DBCA requires the contractor’s pilots to maintain accurate detailed records of flight times and task details on behalf of DBCA for the fire management in Kimberley Region project. Flight Operational Return books (FORs) will be provided by DBCA for the contractor to complete and submit with invoices.

Records for the relevant invoicing period should be submitted with invoices, ensuring all fields in the FORs are completed. DBCA will conduct periodic audits of flight times, maintenance releases, and logbooks.

Tender details for fire management in Kimberley Region

Closing date and time for the tender are 2:30 pm Tuesday, 6 February 2024, Western Australia. Madrigal has expertise in aviation tenders.