Los Padres National Forest - radio channels 2020

zerg901

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from the document at LPNF Forest Net Repeater Input

- on page 21 of 27 - new Forest Net 5 - 168.6125 - mobiles TX PL 146.2 - ( maybe this is referred to as "Forest Tac 5" or "LPF Tac 5" - just guessing )

- the document includes many other freqs for other fire agencies throughout California

- Camp Net is only listed for Monterey District - seemingly in place of F4

- only a few zones have 2 fed a/g channels

Does anyone know how many radios that a typical engine has on the Los Padres NF? Maybe 1 mobile and 5 portables? Do they have a scan feature? Is it used?

What is 168.20 used for? For contact with federal hand crews? Is that the primary freq that a federal hand crew would use at an incident?
 

p1879

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Back in the eighties 168.2 was "crew net" , used by many Hotshot crews in CA., and other responding units. I think it was Tac-2 in the then-BIFC, now NIFC cache radios.

Our IHC crew used 168.2 as crew net, but on a big incident we sometimes had to migrate elsewhere due to heavy use. I think they have about 4 frequencies now for "crew net" operations in region 5.
 

Paysonscanner

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Back in the eighties 168.2 was "crew net" , used by many Hotshot crews in CA., and other responding units. I think it was Tac-2 in the then-BIFC, now NIFC cache radios.

Our IHC crew used 168.2 as crew net, but on a big incident we sometimes had to migrate elsewhere due to heavy use. I think they have about 4 frequencies now for "crew net" operations in region 5.
Here is what Daddy (now 93) remembers as a USFS employee in Arizona (R3) in the late 60's and early 70's. He remembers a new radio tech coming to the forest, who helped him tune an old Regency VHF High only crystal scanner and telling him what crystals he should buy. He suggested "Crew Net." It was used mostly on California as a tactical, those R5 guys had more than one frequency in their radios! He thinks R5 may have been the first, and only for awhile, USFS region to have 168.200 in use and that it was the only tac freq available for quite some time. He thinks BIFC adopted the freq for use in the BIFC system, not the other way around.

He doesn't remember what frequencies were on the BIFC system at the time. He knows that the NIFC system he saw consisted of large crates with handhelds in them. Forest level radios did not have the BIFC frequencies in them. In R3. he thinks 168.200 was widely known around the country, had a national assignment and put in radios as a tactical when new radios with more "slots for the rocks" were purchased. He says, at the time, USFS radios were usually behind current technology by about 10 years.

I've seen a NIFC memo issuing a national directive that use of any NIFC frequency is to stop on anything but National Type 1 and Type 2 incidents. R3 (AZ NM) and R5 (CA) both have 3 "regional tacs." Daddy thinks that R5 still feels ownership of 168.2000 and continue to use it "like the old days." Surprising isn't it? R5 has a little more than 1/2 of the fire workload in the entire National Forest System, has come up with a lot of innovative and effective changes, showing a willingness for changes, but continues to use call 168.2000 "crew net," having it be sort of the default initial attack tac. [Side note: between the federal, state, county and local governments California has more wildland fire workload than the other 49 states and multiple possessions combined] R1 (northern ID MT, ND) R2 (CO WY SD NE KS), R8 (the south) and R9 (upper Midwest and NE states) all have one regional tactical. R8 and R9 actually share one. R6 (OR WA) seem to have tacticals assigned for most dispatch centers or national forests, some having multiple tacs, 1 for each ranger district in some cases. They are not all 1 of the now 6 fed itinerant freqs either. Some are unique to individual locations. Many forests in other regions, even when they have a regional tac, set up a tac and maybe a work channel and give each district a specific tone for both TX and RX. R10 (AK) with two temperate rain forests, considers a fire to be 1 tree and a large fire to be 2 trees, so they don't seem to need one. I forgot R4 (southern ID, UT, NV, the Bridger-Teton NF in WY and small parts of CA) appear to have more than 4. but I haven't figured all of that out yet.

The BLM is already in compliance. They have unique "Scene of Action" (SOA) frequencies for each state office (excluding the Eastern States and Alaska). State offices often have a list of from 2-8 tacticals. Utah and New Mexico have about 8. I think the fed "Alaskan Fire Service" has some tacs, but I can't get info from there very often.

The 4 frequencies for the new "crew net' system were developed after the narrowband directive of 2005 was implemented. The feds assigned 4 new frequencies and added to the existing 2, national all agency federal itinerant frequencies. I don't put that last phrase into quotes as I don't remember if that is accurate. The directive to start using these came with at least two conditions, 1) no one agency owns these frequencies so interference from other agencies might be noticed and 2) these are not to be used as tactical frequencies. These are "intra-crew" frequencies, intra meaning "within" in this case. They are for logistics traffic within a crew only and not for contacting other crews or resources. In the last 5 years or so, direction was issued that each interagency hotshot crew (IHC) was going to be assigned 1 of these frequencies along with one of the 16 standard tones. This makes for 64 combinations, so some combinations will be shared by crews, but these assignments will reduce interference between the crews.
 

zerg901

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Looking over the info again - and looking at the preceding posts - we can see -

Los Padres Natl Forest only has 3 channels they can call their own - Forest Net 170.4625 R - Admin Net 171.55 R - F3 168.2625

It sure looks like 168.20 is a defacto secondary tac channel - perhaps shared with Angeles Natl Forest - (and NIFC of course)

Note - iirc the USFS memo about 168.20 said that Forests could continue to use the freq locally if they had a preexisting authorization

I would guess that the 'air to ground' channel would be rarely used - it would be a quiet channel that the air boss / Air Attack could monitor for any calls from ground units - the Air Boss would talk to fixed wing aircraft on the Air Tactics channel - and the Air Boss would talk to rotor wing assets on a AM channel

I would also guess that the Air Boss would also have access to 168.20, F3, Admin Net, and Forest Net - I am not sure if all aircraft would have access to all of those channels
 

KK6ZTE

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Someone just submitted a database update adding the PL tone on the output which is not correct per LPF. Why?

"Crew Net" is NIFC Tac 2. It's used here as primary tactical on the Highway 166 corridor where San Luis Obispo County Fire/Santa Barbara County Fire, and USFS all have adjoining/overlapping service areas. CAL FIRE SLO will assign it as the tactical for their equipment.

Don't forget LPF has their Fire Camp Service Net repeaters as well
 

Paysonscanner

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Looking over the info again - and looking at the preceding posts - we can see -

Los Padres Natl Forest only has 3 channels they can call their own - Forest Net 170.4625 R - Admin Net 171.55 R - F3 168.2625

It sure looks like 168.20 is a defacto secondary tac channel - perhaps shared with Angeles Natl Forest - (and NIFC of course)

Note - iirc the USFS memo about 168.20 said that Forests could continue to use the freq locally if they had a preexisting authorization

I would guess that the 'air to ground' channel would be rarely used - it would be a quiet channel that the air boss / Air Attack could monitor for any calls from ground units - the Air Boss would talk to fixed wing aircraft on the Air Tactics channel - and the Air Boss would talk to rotor wing assets on a AM channel

I would also guess that the Air Boss would also have access to 168.20, F3, Admin Net, and Forest Net - I am not sure if all aircraft would have access to all of those channels
I'll attach the memo that indicates the use of any NIFC frequency, all tacticals included, are not to be used except for nationally managed incidents. I haven't seen one that excludes Tac 2 from this. I've added highlighting to the most pertinent statements. I don't know of how this is being applied in California. The channel plans I've looked at in for other areas of the country don't have 168.2000 in their initial attack/daily business radio groups. I've looked at, but don't have them on file, memos that state the moniker of "Crew Net" for NIFC Tac 2 is to be ended as there are now 4 nationally assigned "Crew Nets," which are the 4 12.5 kHz fed common freqs to be used for crew internal logistics purposes. Some crews had purchased FRS/GMRS/MURS radios for this. Some were using freqs assigned to their home unit all over the country, causing problems with other systems, some not even in the DOI or USDA, when they traveled long distances. Directions from NIFC came out that this is prohibited. Late Hubby talked to a IHC superintendent at a fire who said some crews were dealt with very seriously about this.

In spite of the above, use of NIFC Tac 2, with the "Crew Net" identifier continues in CA. I was hearing dispatches on a few forests, that would assign this as the tac during initial attack dispatches as recently as summer of 2019, when I spent 3 months in Mammoth Lakes and listened to the Inyo NF/BLM Bishop Field Office traffic. I made a couple of radio geek friends while there and they say this continues up to this day in the area.

Air to Ground has to be assigned to a specific incident. If a forest has a second start within range of he first air to ground assigned, they assign the A/G Secondary. Nationally, some initial attack zones have a 3rd A/G. I think there are about 5-10 that have a 4th. There are 4 initial attack zones in California, so assignments have to have GACC coordination. In California each national forest has been assigned 2 air to air tactics FM freqs. These are unique to each national forest, with frequencies being reused only when distance/topography allows. All other GACC's use only VHF AM freqs for air tactics.

The person over an incident is called "Air Attack" with the actual ICS title of "Air Tactics Group Supervisor." A pilot and the ATGS is on board the aircraft. They only launch for specific incidents with the exception of transporting passengers a few times during the non fire season. These can be administrative personnel where the situation demands that person be somewhere very quickly. The aircraft are owned by the USFS and the pilot and ATGS are permanent USFS employees. In California Forest Service Air Attacks identify on the radio as "Air Attack" followed by the National Forest number in the region. Air Attack 07 is based on the Los Padres, Air Attack 12 on the San Bernardino and Air Attack 15 on the Sierra. Air attack does not fly around monitoring air to ground to listen for any ground crew traffic that might just happen to occur. When the initial attack dispatch is made the dispatcher announces the name and all frequency use just after the dispatch and unit confirmation of response stage is over. If an air attack is requested by the IC, then all units are advised of the ETA and identifier used by the Air Attack enroute to the fire. There is a chart of circumstances that make assignment of an air attack optional or required for an incident.

Air patrols are also used on individual units. These can be for fire, law enforcement and other administrative purposes. There is a pilot and an agency employee on board. There are no particular qualifications for the observer(s) on board, just some experience using a radio and using a map while flying is required. These are almost always call when needed contract pilots and aircraft. In California each forest used to have a series of numbers assigned that followed the identifier "Recon." Other USFS regions used "observer" and a number. Now all CA forests use Recon, followed by the last 3 characters of the aircraft's FAA registration.

Air to ground traffic is prohibited on ground tactical freqs. All incident and recon aircraft have access to all frequencies used on a forest, just not any ground tacticals. All must have a separate radio for Air Guard. All have National Flight Following and any dispatch local flight following frequencies. Some dispatch centers in other western states have unique frequencies for taking all flight following off of NFF while the aircraft is assigned to that dispatch center. This is done on forest, district and park nets in California. I don't think there are enough federal freqs in the state available for local flight following.

All the freqs discussed above are for initial attack only. Once a fire enters extended attack new assignments have to be made.

I've thrown a lot of information up here. I don't know what your understanding of how incident freq management is. I think you live in Boston and would rarely listen to the use of these freqs and operations on large fires.
 
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es93546

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from the document at LPNF Forest Net Repeater Input

- on page 21 of 27 - new Forest Net 5 - 168.6125 - mobiles TX PL 146.2 - ( maybe this is referred to as "Forest Tac 5" or "LPF Tac 5" - just guessing )

- the document includes many other freqs for other fire agencies throughout California

- Camp Net is only listed for Monterey District - seemingly in place of F4

- only a few zones have 2 fed a/g channels

Does anyone know how many radios that a typical engine has on the Los Padres NF? Maybe 1 mobile and 5 portables? Do they have a scan feature? Is it used?

What is 168.20 used for? For contact with federal hand crews? Is that the primary freq that a federal hand crew would use at an incident?
That "new Forest Net 5" is one of the post 2005 NTIA narrowband federal government wide itinerant frequencies. I've never found a National Forest that labels its tacticals as "Forest Net." Especially since two of the three are these federal intenerants or commons as they are sometimes called. These two are on the four frequency list for Hotshot Crew Intracrew Communications. You would think they would not use them, but a lot of forests use them. The competition for federal government frequencies in California, as someone else mentioned, is pretty tough.

I don't know why they only have 1 federal air to ground frequency in most of the groups. In group 20 they have the primary air to ground for three of four initial attack communications zones 1-3. They don't have the air to grounds for zone 4. which the Angeles is in. That seems odd. They don't have a single secondary air to ground in all the groups.

It's been many years since I've been in a Type III USFS engine. I don't think each crew member has a handheld, but I could be wrong. The captain, the engineer and the lead firefighter likely have them, but that leaves the two, normally seasonal fire firefighters without. These guys almost always work in two's so that might have influence. Sometimes one of the two remaining crew members is an apprentice. They go through an academy type training program and on the job training on districts. They have the minimum appointment, 13 pay periods guaranteed work, 13 call when needed, plus federal benefits the seasonals don't get. As far as mobiles, one per engine is normal. Some have additional mobiles. For example, on the Angeles NF every fire vehicle has a L.A. County UHF radio as well, this goes for Division Chiefs, Batt Chiefs, engines and patrols. I don't know how they stand it, but they listen to LACO's Blue 8 all country dispatch channel, that has near constant traffic and all sorts of beeps and tones that are annoying. There is one next to the consoles in dispatch at Fox Field as well, however, when a took a post retirement tour of it, they have a dispatch printer showing every dispatch and it has some kind of alert tones that seem to apply just to the things they need to keep track of. I think some engines have a second VHF radio, maybe for counties? I've found photos of USFS engine interiors on the internet, and have some with more than one mobile in view. Most of wildland fire is on VHF-High. I didn't keep track of what radios were in engines, etc. when I was working. I'm wondering if the Ojai and Mt. Pinos Ranger Districts are going to have radios for the new Ventura Co. trunked system in them.

168.2000 is used for, and as written elsewhere, this doesn't jive with NIFC direction, initial attack ground tactical. Tacticals are where the ground pounders communicate everything about their efforts to contain and control the fire. I can't summarize what that is, it includes a lot of details and people keeping eyes out on conditions. Tacticals are where they speak with the division supervisor. "Division Alpha - ZZ" then evaluates what he/she is seeing and hearing. Division then speaks with higher level command on the command net to relay current conditions, order additional resources, get water and retardant drops and discuss changes in tactics and strategies. They communicate and coordinate with adjacent Division Sups on the command repeater network. They also have to listen to air to ground command and air to ground tactical. They communicate directly with air attack on the AG Cmd. Crew bosses, superintendents, and engine captains speak with lead planes, air tankers and helos to tell them things like, "start your drop one wingspan up slope at the east end of that big rock outcrop" and "put your bucket right over the flat top snag and drop." The two positions on a fire that have to keep track of multiple frequencies and speak on them are the Air Attack and the Division Supervisors. I would love to fly with an air attack sometime to see how they keep track of everything, they have more multitasking going on than anyone else.
 

vlarian

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The person over an incident is called "Air Attack" with the actual ICS title of "Air Tactics Group Supervisor." A pilot and the ATGS is on board the aircraft. They only launch for specific incidents with the exception of transporting passengers a few times during the non fire season. These can be administrative personnel where the situation demands that person be somewhere very quickly. The aircraft are owned by the USFS and the pilot and ATGS are permanent USFS employees.
truly minor correction,

Air Attack platforms are not agency owned aircraft nor are the pilots government employees. the only government employee(s) is the Air Tactical Group Supervisor (ATGS). you probably confused Leads and Bravos for Air Attacks. Lead and Bravo platforms are mostly, but not all agency owned aircraft. the Air Tactical Pilot and Air Tactical Supervisor (if Bravo) are government employees.

Admin ferry flights usually are performed by Lead/Bravo aircraft. I was graced with the pleasure of meeting the then current Forest Service Chief (who was in the past an ATGS) once during the Rough Fire, he arrived via a Lead/Bravo aircraft. it was a big to do that day. another time we had the regional Forester visit us again via Lead/Bravo aircraft. Air Attack platforms do ferry people around but very rarely. an Air Attack once ferried a RAMP Manager and a Parking Tender from Fresno to Bishop to staff Bishop reload base. so it happens.

Interesting note on Leads and Bravos,
FS Lead Planes are called by their pilot’s designator number. The 1st number is their FS Region, the 2nd number is their unique designated pilot number, i.e.: "Lead 1-9”.
BLM Lead Planes are called as “Bravo” and their pilot’s unique designator number also, i.e.: “Bravo 8”.
Alaska Lead Planes are called as “Alpha” and their pilot’s unique designator number, i.e.: “Alpha 4”.
CalFire Lead Planes are called as “Charlie” and the pilot’s unique designator number, i.e.: “Charlie 2”.

An ASM (Aerial Supervision Module) has two people on board, an ATP (Air Tactical Pilot) and an ATS (Air Tactical Supervisor) commonly referred to as a lead plane pilot and an ATGS. An ASM can cover both roles for an incident, air tactical supervision for assigned aircraft and lead for airtankers.

if there is only an ATP (FS or BLM) on board then they’ll use the call sign, “Lead 1-9”, or "Lead 8", and can only work in the role of a Lead Plane. I n the not so distance past there was such a thing as a "Lead Bravo", these were BLM platforms with only a ATP onboard, this was judge to be too confusing of a call sign so they Dropped the "Bravo" part. When there is an ATS on board, (now an ASM), then FS and BLM call sign will be, “Bravo 1-9”, or “Bravo 8”. Alaska and CalFire will almost always be an ASM called by “Alpha 4” or “Charlie 2”. In the absence of an ATS, they will be called, “Lead Alpha 4” and “Lead Charlie 2”.
When a Lead Plane Trainee is on board with the Lead Plane Pilot they will never be an ASM during training; and they will commonly be called by the trainee’s unique designator, i.e: “Lead 6-6 Trainee” or “Lead Bravo 4 Trainee” for BLM.

it's an easy confusion.
 

es93546

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truly minor correction,

Air Attack platforms are not agency owned aircraft nor are the pilots government employees. the only government employee(s) is the Air Tactical Group Supervisor (ATGS). you probably confused Leads and Bravos for Air Attacks. Lead and Bravo platforms are mostly, but not all agency owned aircraft. the Air Tactical Pilot and Air Tactical Supervisor (if Bravo) are government employees.

Admin ferry flights usually are performed by Lead/Bravo aircraft. I was graced with the pleasure of meeting the then current Forest Service Chief (who was in the past an ATGS) once during the Rough Fire, he arrived via a Lead/Bravo aircraft. it was a big to do that day. another time we had the regional Forester visit us again via Lead/Bravo aircraft. Air Attack platforms do ferry people around but very rarely. an Air Attack once ferried a RAMP Manager and a Parking Tender from Fresno to Bishop to staff Bishop reload base. so it happens.

Interesting note on Leads and Bravos,
FS Lead Planes are called by their pilot’s designator number. The 1st number is their FS Region, the 2nd number is their unique designated pilot number, i.e.: "Lead 1-9”.
BLM Lead Planes are called as “Bravo” and their pilot’s unique designator number also, i.e.: “Bravo 8”.
Alaska Lead Planes are called as “Alpha” and their pilot’s unique designator number, i.e.: “Alpha 4”.
CalFire Lead Planes are called as “Charlie” and the pilot’s unique designator number, i.e.: “Charlie 2”.

An ASM (Aerial Supervision Module) has two people on board, an ATP (Air Tactical Pilot) and an ATS (Air Tactical Supervisor) commonly referred to as a lead plane pilot and an ATGS. An ASM can cover both roles for an incident, air tactical supervision for assigned aircraft and lead for airtankers.

if there is only an ATP (FS or BLM) on board then they’ll use the call sign, “Lead 1-9”, or "Lead 8", and can only work in the role of a Lead Plane. I n the not so distance past there was such a thing as a "Lead Bravo", these were BLM platforms with only a ATP onboard, this was judge to be too confusing of a call sign so they Dropped the "Bravo" part. When there is an ATS on board, (now an ASM), then FS and BLM call sign will be, “Bravo 1-9”, or “Bravo 8”. Alaska and CalFire will almost always be an ASM called by “Alpha 4” or “Charlie 2”. In the absence of an ATS, they will be called, “Lead Alpha 4” and “Lead Charlie 2”.
When a Lead Plane Trainee is on board with the Lead Plane Pilot they will never be an ASM during training; and they will commonly be called by the trainee’s unique designator, i.e: “Lead 6-6 Trainee” or “Lead Bravo 4 Trainee” for BLM.

it's an easy confusion.
Outstanding information! You are a definitive source for USFS aviation. I do have some confusion due to my memory not being as excellent as it has been in the past. I knew the air attack (ATGS) is a permanent employee, but forgot that the aircraft and pilot are contracted . When you said lead planes, not air attacks, ferry personnel around, I recalled that. I have one point of confusion left. If BLM leads have a callsign of "Bravo" then how are they distinguished from other leads who add Bravo to their identifier when they go from a lead to a ASM? It's easy for a Forest Service lead that becomes an ASM as they just switch from "Lead 5-6" to "Bravo 5-6." However, the BLM leads are B-1 ("Bravo 1") and B-4 to B-9. I see that 4 of the 7 BLM leads in the U.S. are ASM qualified. This confuses me when I read the National Mobilization Guide.

Air Attack 15 is heard over here in the eastern Sierra frequently. I should have mentioned that forests with an air attack often use them to fly recon flights following lightning. Sometimes some forests will have their helos do recon flights post lightning, but usually after the ship has been launched on an actual fire. When there is a break in activity on that fire, they will make these recon flights. When AA 15 is not available Cal Fire's AA 440 out of Columbia is the usual ship that comes.

These are the current air attacks on National Forests in California:

North to South
AA 05 Klamath NF Siskiyou County Airport
AA 06 Lassen NF Chester Air Attack Base
AA 50 North Ops GACC Redding
*AA 507 & AA 509 North Ops GACC Redding Airport*
AA17 Tahoe NF Grass Valley Airport
AA 15 Sierra NF Fresno Airport
AA 07 Los Padres NF Santa Maria Airport
AA 51N Angeles Night Operations Capable
AA 12 San Bernardino NF SB Airport
AA52 San Bernardino NF SB Airport

AA 507 & 509 are Bell 209 Cobra Helicopters
They can be "Air Attack" (ATGS), "Helco" (Helicopter Coordinator) and "Firewatch." The latter is when they do remote sensing, including infrared. which is done at night. These are very small, pilot as single occupant, helicopters that are USFS owned, having been transferred from the military.

Cal Fire:

North to South
AA 120 Rohnerville
AA 240 Redding
AA 110 Ukiah
AA 210 Chico
AA 140 Sonoma
AA 230 Grass Valley
AA 440 Columbia
AA 460 Hollister
AA 340 Paso Robles
AA 410 Porterville
AA 310 Hemet-Ryan
AA 330 Ramona

All the above are Rockwell OV-10A's

**AA 500**
**AA 501**
**AA 503**
**AA 504**
**AA 505**

**I think these are all helicopters. They are based at McClellan.**

Information per the 2020 California Mob Guide.
 

vlarian

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If BLM leads have a callsign of "Bravo" then how are they distinguished from other leads who add Bravo to their identifier when they go from a lead to a ASM?
Ah I think I see the confusion.

In the past BLM leads were called "Lead-Bravo X", they did away with that callsign. now they name their Leads and ASMs the same as the USFS.

BLM Lead callsign: old way "Lead-Bravo 4" new way "Lead 4"
BLM ASM callsign: "Bravo 4"
BLM use to have Lead-Bravos

USFS Lead: "Lead 5-6"
USFS ASM: "Bravo 5-6"
USFS never had Lead-Bravos

clear as mud??
 

norcalscan

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**AA 500** N403DF OV10
**AA 501** N407DF OV10
**AA 503** N461DF Super King Air A200CT
**AA 504** N463DF Super King Air A200CT
**AA 505** N470DF OV10, has acted as Charlie platform numerous times
 

es93546

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**AA 500** N403DF OV10
**AA 501** N407DF OV10
**AA 503** N461DF Super King Air A200CT
**AA 504** N463DF Super King Air A200CT
**AA 505** N470DF OV10, has acted as Charlie platform numerous times
Thanks for that, I will pencil that info into my copy of the aviation section of the CA Interagency Mob Guide. Those pages did not specify what type of aircraft were assigned those numbers.
 

es93546

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Ah I think I see the confusion.

In the past BLM leads were called "Lead-Bravo X", they did away with that callsign. now they name their Leads and ASMs the same as the USFS.

BLM Lead callsign: old way "Lead-Bravo 4" new way "Lead 4"
BLM ASM callsign: "Bravo 4"
BLM use to have Lead-Bravos

USFS Lead: "Lead 5-6"
USFS ASM: "Bravo 5-6"
USFS never had Lead-Bravos

clear as mud??
The confusion stems from the National Mob Guide that contains a Lead Plane/ASM identifier/qualification list/chart, dated 2019. that is still in the 2020 Mob Guide. I presume there are no changes in 2020, so the just posted 2019 again. It shows the BLM leads as B-1, B-4, B-5 to B-9. I know they would not just use "B" without the phonetics, so I assumed they were using Bravo already, prior to becoming an ASM. The Bravo identified them as BLM aircraft. As I now understand it, the BLM and USFS leads are distinguished by the USFS having a number hyphen number format, example "Lead Five Five" and not "Lead Fiftyfive." BLM Leads will always have a single number such as "Lead 5" which becomes "Bravo 5" when they become an ASM. The National Mob Guide list/chart does not reflect this.

This is clearer than mud now, if I've understood correctly.

If we have a Type I or II incident here on the east side this will be helpful. I usually sit on my roof or drive toward the incident, keeping a wide berth when parking, in my POV. The binoculars come out and I devote one scanner to the air show. I did this in an interpretive site parking lot next to US 395 some years back and drew a crowd. I took that colored illustration out that shows the elevations for various stages of the air show and it circulated around the parking lot. As usual you can't get anyone to pay attention to fire issues most of the time, but when smoke rises they come a knocking.
 

vlarian

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yeah I don't know why it says that

BLM staffs their platforms at the ASM level. the BLM lead call sign is in case the ATS isn't there. why waste a good ATP and aircraft just cause the ATS has the flu?

where as the USFS has both Leads and ASM platforms. sometimes a ATS (BLM employee) will hop on with an ATP(USFS employee) and now you got a ASM! they are very frustrating to track since the call sign changes basically at the drop of hat based on who is in the aircraft. which can change from one flight to the next.
 
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